UAS Industry Day Highlights Progress Of Drone Research, Development In North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. — Dozens of drone entrepreneurs and researchers met this past week in Bismarck, coming together to highlight their achievements and next steps as part of the North Dakota UAS Industry Day event.

The event, held March 23 on the Bismarck State College campus, included updates from researchers at state universities, drone operators and manufacturers, and state officials on the progress of numerous unmanned aircraft systems projects and initiatives in the state.

Brent Sanford

“These institutions and companies can thrive knowing they have the full support of the state of North Dakota, which has invested more than $37 million in advancing UAS research and development,” Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford said. “The state is collaborating with organizations statewide to build this emerging industry.”

As part of his role, Sanford leads the state’s Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, which oversees North Dakota’s UAS research test site and other initiatives. He noted the UAS industry is helping Gov. Doug Burgum’s administration in reaching its goal of diversifying and growing the state economy, which is currently dominated by energy and agricultural industries.

Citing statistics from the state commerce department, Sanford said 16 drone companies have a physical presence in the state, with another five considered virtual tenants of university tech incubators.

With continued investment and support, the drone industry is expected to continue expanding within North Dakota.

“The state’s future is bright and with UAS, the sky is literally the limit,” Sanford said.

Sanford’s address kicked off the annual event, which is held at rotating locations around the state. More than a dozen presentations made up the event.

This week, Droning On will feature those presentations in a series of stories. Check back daily for new North Dakota UAS Industry Day coverage.