The announcement last week of a new partnership between the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Nevada State College has significant implications for commercial drone use in populated areas, a top official believes.
Officials in Nevada say they see broad horizons for the unmanned aerial systems industry following the posting of federal aviation rules designed for small drone aircraft. As one of six states picked in 2013 for Federal Aviation Administration-authorized testing — and the first in 2014 to be able to issue airworthiness certificates — the Silver State is emerging as a key hub for the drone industry, said Chris Walach, operations director for unmanned aviation at the Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems.
A Chinese firm plans to test driverless flying vehicles in Nevada, in the hopes that autonomous aerial taxis are the future. The EHang 184, which was unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronic show in Las Vegas, will conduct some testing in Nevada, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal. And while the taxis aren’t carrying passengers anytime soon, that’s the plan.
Warren “Bum” Rapp, a retired military aviator, is at the controls of Northern Nevada’s emerging program to develop commercial applications for unmanned aircraft commonly called “drones.” The program he heads up is focused on business uses for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. That can mean anything from helping map potential mining acreage to improving agricultural concerns to nighttime aerial monitoring of wildfires.