Unmanned Aerial Systems

The University of North Dakota has successfully developed the largest university-based aviation training program in the United States and has translated this $100M per year program into a wide spectrum of relationships with commercial aviation, the U.S. military, and the federal government.

UND has leveraged its successful aviation program to develop the most comprehensive UAS program in the nation, combining support from the state and Federal government, and the FAA to create the first and largest test site airspace in the country, in addition to the UAS Center of Excellence. These assets have sparked industrial interest and led to the establishment of the GrandSky business park whose first two anchor tenants are major UAS contractors – Northrop Grumman and General Atomics.

NDSU has a broad spectrum of applied research and educational activities associated with UAS. The College of Agriculture, the Experiment Station, and Extension Service all have a number of ongoing UAS activities. In addition, the College of Engineering, the College of Science and Mathematics, the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the College of Human Development and Education, and the College of Health Professions are all working on research projects and academic curriculum with direct ties to unmanned aerial systems.

While strengths in UAS have developed the region into a top destination for major manufacturers and developers of unmanned systems, there remain a number of areas that are primed for growth, including sensor payload development, security, communications, and policy and law and it is development of these areas that will drive further economic growth in the region. In effect, we believe that North Dakota is capable of becoming a mandatory venue for UAS-linked industry.