Rome’s Got That Buzz: Skydome, Griffiss Looking to Launch UAV Innovation
Something much bigger than a drone has landed at Griffiss International Airport in Rome.
The largest indoor drone testing facility of it's kind in the United States and it officially opened Thursday as the ribbon was cut - with the help of two buzzing drones.
Anechoic Chambered - What Does That Mean?
It's the latest investment in the former Air Force Base as state and local officials hope to transform it's more than 3,000 acre airport and business park into a workspace for the world's tech innovators.
Officials say it's the country's biggest 'Anechoic Chambered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle experimentation facility.'
Translation: A hangar that used to house military bombers and other aircraft has gotten quite a makeover and now serves as an experimental space for Unmanned Aircraft Systems to test in various conditions that can mimic the real world.
A combination of foam and foil now line the hanger walls (absorption and reflection) to test interference with advanced drone communication and control. Small to large.
Everything including unmanned aerial vehicles, to artificial intelligence-based flight controls, and autonomous swarms of small drones, officials say.
"The sky is no longer the limit."
The $13 million Skydome project was paid for by state and local governments, providing CNY's latest research and development tool for UAV.
More than $9 million came in funding through state grant funding and 'CNY Rising" revitalization initiative funding, with Oneida County contributing $4 million, officials said.
Griffiss International Airport is now home to :
- Air Force Research Lab
- Innovare - Innovation Advancement Center
- NYS Drone Command Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems testing
- 1 of 7 FAA-UAV drone testing corridors (Rome to Syracuse)
Griffiss Institute President and CEO Heather Hage said, "The Skydome launch represents yet another big step forward in developing world-class research and testing capabilities so we can do just that. Autonomous systems that enable safe, secure, and reliable uncrewed vehicle operations hold massive potential to solve our most pressing societal challenges and open transformational economic opportunities for Upstate New York. Skydome will make possible a future in which the sky is no longer the limit."
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said the project that many thought was too ambitious at first was possible through state and local collaboration and said it will spur new jobs and further investment in the county, similar to the Wolfspeed chip fab in Marcy, and the Wynn Hospital and Nexus in Utica.
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