Forget the North Dakota energy boom. How about a drone boom?
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State and federal officials have big hopes for the growth of what are known as unmanned aircraft systems. And North Dakota has positioned itself well to take advantage of its unique attributes: A first-of-its-kind academic program, an established military presence, a strong commitment from state and federal officials to find funding, and even the weather.
“North Dakota made a conscious decision, several years ago, that they wanted to focus on this,” said Ben Gielow, general counsel for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a group that promotes unmanned systems and robotics. He added, “North Dakota is one of the leaders and a model that we point to.”