US: The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) today announced the launch of the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety (NDCOE). The mission is to save lives and reduce air hazards from drone incursions by empowering a shared safety vision with the FAA’s integration of drones into the commercial air traffic system.
Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, with facilities donated by Switch, the NDCOE will provide safety incursion research data, drone technology best practices, educational materials, and the new center will conduct public workshops that promote and protect the public’s safety and privacy in an open and ethical manner. NDCOE staff will inspire audiences to join the NIAS public safety movement.
Over the last decade, UAS, more commonly referred to as drones, have experienced an unprecedented boom within aviation. Coinciding with the increase in popularity, incidents involving drones in tourist areas, as well as risks to larger manned aircraft are on the rise and present high-liability risks to property owners.
Safe and successful UAS operations rely on quality training, end user education and maximizing public safety processes. To protect and educate residents and visitors, this center seeks to protect against drone users who pose a public safety hazard due to inexperience and/or malicious drone operations, e.g., drones hitting people or that have the potential to cause an airline disaster, and who violate your safety, privacy, or drone laws near high traffic public places, at airports, near military bases, or critical infrastructure. NDCOE will also advance Drone Surveillance, Detect, and Avoid (remote sensing), wildland firefighting, gas-leak detection, and time-sensitive medical delivery technologies for life-saving medical equipment and organs.
“In addition to fostering major advances in UAS technology with testing partners like the FAA, NASA, and Switch, Nevada is also home to the most registered drone users in the nation in Las Vegas,” said Paul Anderson, Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “This dynamic makes such a program as the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety a natural step as drones increasingly become a bigger part of our daily lives.”
In a recent state-wide Nevada Drone Industry survey by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and NIAS, the NDCOE received incredible support to open the first center of its kind in the U.S. In this survey, almost 80% of respondents were concerned about a recreational drone hitting an airline and causing an airline disaster and almost 90% were concerned about aerial drones illegally penetrating FAA airspace without authorization at outdoor events such as sports stadium, concert, or at large public gathering events.
“We are taking an aggressive approach toward solving the complex UAS Industry challenge of mitigating drone incursions into the National Airspace System (NAS)—one of the toughest FAA challenges today. What we are doing in Nevada will be of immense value to the DOT, FAA, DHS, DOJ, commercial airlines, visitor venues, and the UAS Industry. This new center will help advance infrastructure protections, drone detection innovations, enhance air safety, and expand air commerce in Nevada,” said Dr. Chris Walach, Senior Director, NIAS and the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site.
“Switch is pleased to provide the technology infrastructure backbone to advance the safety and privacy of drone development through the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety,” said Switch EVP of Strategy Adam Kramer. “NDCOE aligns with Switch’s vision for the advancement of technology and economic development that benefits all Nevadans in a positive way.”
“This new center provides an excellent resource to our home state and the industry at large. We are proud to be part of this effort and such a tremendous team!” said J.B. Bernstein, CEO AviSight.
“Since we were founded in 2009, we have been developing and applying UAV technologies to save lives. Now with the recent formation of the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety (NDCOE), the team at Drone America is proud and excited to be a supporter of NIAS and the NDCOE. We plan on being an active part of the Center and look forward to the future of the UAV industry in Nevada,” said Mike Richards, CEO Drone America.