Nevada is a national leader in drone development. The recent Business Facilities’ 14th Annual Rankings: State Rankings Report survey ranked Nevada in second place among all US states and territories. The position is well-deserved based on the advanced contributions from the Nevada state government and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems. NIAS is a leader in advancing drone usage and drone safety. It recently launched the NIAS-UAS Center of Excellence.
The state rankings report considered research and other development activities. The research efforts included local management of UAS ground control interfaces, communications systems, navigation technology, and aerial surveillance. The primary research involved safety-related functions, assessment of human factors, systems for data exchange, network software solutions, and BVLOS architecture for flights beyond the visual horizon.
Development and Testing
The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems is the manager of the Nevada UAS test sites and a leader in drone training. The NIAS-led testing in Nevada focuses on airspace management technology and systems. In March 2018, the NIAS and its NASA Unmanned Traffic Management partners conducted week-long tests at the Reno-Stead Airport site. The testing utilized numerous drones to test systems that can integrate unmanned aerial systems into the National Airspace System.
Nevada is the only state-wide test site for the FAA national effort to improve drone safety and establish an operational framework for commercial drone services. NASA provided a Flight Information Management System (FIMS) research platform; this system may be a model for a future FAA control system. In one dramatic expression of a possible future, the tests simulated an accident in which a victim needed a transfusion. A drone successfully delivered a blood supply.
A State of Progress
Governor Sandoval leads the way for a dynamic state government response to the potential for commercial uses of drone technology. The governor made a strong statement on his policy.
“Nevada’s state-led drone initiatives, in partnership with higher education and private-sector businesses, are an innovative force in this emerging industry,” Gov. Sandoval said. “Nevada, through the NIAS, played a significant role in the pioneering use of drones and is well positioned, thanks to several international cooperative agreements, to continue the integration of this technology into our airspace, economy, and daily lives,” he added.
The Governor acknowledged the widely held view that commercial drones have emerged and are now poised for a take-off when he said: “Based on recent tests and developments, this growth is already well underway.”
Business Facilities 14th Annual Rankings Report