September 16, 2013
A coalition of defense contractors and universities is stepping up its lobbying efforts in hopes of becoming a federally designated drone testing site and the group has brought in Senator Charles Schumer.
Senator Schumer said Monday he will make the case "over and over" to the Federal Aviation Administration to name upstate New York one of a half-dozen testing sites for drones.
It's part of the FAA's process of designing regulations for commercial drone use in the U.S.
The central New York based coalition submitted its bid in February, banking on its large military airspace and diverse geography.
Schumer pushed that getting into the drone business could bring lots of new high tech jobs to the region.
"You put it all together there are very few that have the advantages we have. And once we become the center for testing this unmanned aircraft and seeing how they fit the civilian uses into our airspace, it's going to bring hundreds of companies here."
Drones have been promoted for their potential use in everything from agriculture to search-and-rescue. But concerns and debates over privacy and safety have cropped up as well.
The site designation process has been delayed several times already, but Schumer and local officials hope a decision will be made in the next few months.