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The Tech Garden

UAS Central: CNY & Mohawk Valley Unify to Take Region to New Heights

Partners in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are making significant progress creating a hub for unmanned systems innovations in Upstate New York. Most recently, and in partnership with Empire State Development, partners launched a new brand and communications plan around these collective efforts: UAS Central.



UAS Central creates a strong, unified identify for the Central New York and Mohawk Valley regions to drive awareness of the complete unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) ecosystem located here, and to compete for jobs in the industry that will grow the economy. 

The UAS ecosystem includes unmatched public-private partnerships, resources for startups and businesses, and initiatives fueled by CNY Rising. Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are also among the leading regions driving the development of a corridor of innovation and testing that will take the unmanned systems industry to new heights.

UAS Central encompasses the leading assets, incentives, infrastructure, initiatives and partners that have put Central New York and the Mohawk Valley on the map for this industry and make it a prime location to grow a UAS-related business. These include:

  • Project U-SAFE: The Unmanned Secure Autonomous Flight Environment project fueled by CNY Rising
    • Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Corridor: $35 million has been committed for the world’s first 50-mile UTM corridor between Syracuse and Rome for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations. The first five miles of this corridor are live now.
    • The National UAS Standardized Testing and Rating Facility (NUSTAR), the first of its kind UAS testing and certification facility that will create standards for drone testing.
    • Drone Zones: Geographic areas in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley where UAS, precision sensing, and other unmanned systems companies, anchor institutions, and other assets cluster and connect with startups, business incubators and accelerators.
    • Policy Institute: A leading think tank and policy research institute for unmanned systems public policy at national, state and local levels.
  • Griffiss International Airport: Griffiss Business and Technology Park is now home to more than 75 businesses and 5,700 employees, and includes development districts focused on technology, manufacturing, aviation, office, education and recreation. Griffiss serves as the eastern anchor of the UTM Corridor and is home to world-class radar instrumentation for BVLOS flight.
  • The NUAIR Alliance: A New York-based nonprofit coalition of more than 200 private and public entities and academic institutions working together to operate and oversee UAS test ranges in New York, Massachusetts and Michigan. Headquartered at Griffiss International Airport, in Rome, NUAIR manages one of just seven FAA-designated UAS test sites in the United States and is a leading implementer of Project U-SAFE. The current president of NUAIR, Marke “Hoot” Gibson, was previously senior adviser UAS Integration for the FAA.
  • GENIUS NY: GENIUS NY is a year-long, in-residence program that awards six finalist teams a total of $3 million in investments. Finalists are selected from a competitive pool of submissions from across the globe. The program also provides UAS startups all the tools they need for success, including stipends, resources, programming and connections.

New York state is also committed to growing the UAS industry over the next five years to accelerate commercial UAS development in the state, and is making industry-defining investments. The state also has an extensive pool of experienced talent and the workforce of tomorrow to support the industry: 415,000+ people work in UAS supply-chain industries throughout the state at 29,000+ UAS supply-chain firms; and New York state is No. 1 in the Northeast in total number of STEM graduates, annually, with more than 300,000 students and 81 colleges and universities within 100 miles of the UAS Central region.

Visit UASCentral.com to learn more.


The NUAIR Alliance tests unmanned aircraft systems focused on beyond visual line-of-sight operations in preparation for a flight test demonstration in conjunction with NASA earlier this year. Photo credit: NUAIR Alliance


Gryphon Sensors utilizes a mobile UTM unit to demonstrate phase 1 of Project U-SAFE, which makes beyond visual line of sight technology available in a 5-mile loop around Griffiss Air Force Base, in Rome.