The US government has approved an unmanned air system test site near Grand Forks, North Dakota because geography and existing infrastructure gives it advantages in UAS science and potential use, and the local department of commerce is at Farnborough air show to spread the word about the North Plains UAS Test Site
Eastern North Dakota, where the North Plains UAS test site (NPUASTS) is located, has a big sky, low population density, and civil UAS development has the backing of local industries such as large-scale agriculture and fracking for gas that can see huge potential for smart UAS use. Now the NPUASTS is bidding for Federal Aviation Administration clearance to authorise and manage experimental unmanned air vehicle testing and trials.
The site works closely with the long-established John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota, which in 2009 started the world’s first undergraduate degree course in UAV piloting and carries out research into sense-and-avoid technology for UAVs. The developing science of precision agriculture is also a natural area for UAV exploitation, and the USAF Grand Forks air force base is a centre of excellence in military UAV operation.