Minot 'Magic Sky" effort to bring drones to the area

Sep 27, 2017

Minot's "Business to Business" seminar featured drone technology.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Minot is working to attract companies involved in unmanned aerial vehicles.

Minot has launched an effort called “Magic Skies.”

"The proximity that Minot has to the Bakken, and to agriculture, makes Minot the prime location for drone activity in the state," said Minot Mayor Chuck Barney.

Already, a partnership has been established between a Norwegian company and the Grand Forks-based SkySkopes. They’ve opened offices in Minot.

"We're delivering our system to Minot," said Robot Aviation USA president Bjorn Forsdal. "SkySkopes will fly them."

Robot Aviation is a Norwegian company with US offices. SkySkopes was started in Grand Forks.

"Minot is correctly branded as the 'Gatweay to the Bakken,'" said SkySkopes President and CEO Matt Dunlevy. "When we want to fly unmanned aircraft for oil and gas purposes, the Bakken represents the second best market in the whole of the United States."

Dunlevy said the drones will be used to inspect oil facilities and power lines in the Bakken. And he said the future looks good for the UAV industry.

"The comparison to the smart-phone industry that the drone industry draws frequently I think is apt," Dunlevy said. "It will take partnerships and perseverance, but there is a future for UAS."

"I keep hearing the cliche, 'The sky's the limit,'" Dunlevy said. "I just think right now, we're on the ground floor."