drones

ND chosen for UAV pilot project

May 10, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota has been chosen as one of the 10 participants in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems pilot program.

North Dakota’s Department of Transportation will be the program manager. It will work with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in Grand Forks, as well as local governments and businesses.

This pilot is designed to integrate drones with normal air traffic.

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

Sep 27, 2017
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."

Commerce dept.

North Dakota’s Commerce Commissioner said he welcomes the challenge to diversify North Dakota’s economy.

Jay Schuler has been at Commerce since January. He was appointed by Governor Burgum to take the reins after former Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson retired.

"My background is starting new businesses, adding value, being a disruptor," Schuler said in an interview. "That's what I want to continue."

Schuler said one of his main tasks is to keep college graduates in North Dakota.

A joint project between UND’s Office of Research and Economic Development and SkySkopes, Incorporated, could lead to a new use for drones.

The plan is to equip the small, low-altitude drones with thermal sensors to collect energy audit data on North Dakota University System buildings. That information will allow the campuses to assess costs of thermal leaks in buildings.

House rejects further limits on weaponizing drones

Feb 22, 2017
Courtesy ND Legislature

The House has rejected a bill to prohibit law enforcement from using less lethal and non-lethal weapons on drones.

Two years ago, the Legislature prohibited the use of lethal weapons on drones.

The bill’s sponsor – Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck) – said North Dakota was the first state in the country to allow any kind of weapons on those unmanned aerial vehicles. He told the House allowing weapons removes what he calls the “humanity” of law enforcement officers.

Fargo kids learn about possibilities with drones

Oct 25, 2016

Elementary students in Fargo heard a presentation about drones today.

Prairie Public's Danielle Webster reports.

Xcel says it's happy with its drone project

Oct 2, 2016

Xcel Energy said it’s been happy with the results so far of a project – where it is using drones to help find power line problems.

Xcel’s Mark Nisbet said the utility has been involved with the state’s two research universities to see if drones could help Xcel restore power faster to areas that have suffered storm damage.

ND to have first unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturer

Feb 13, 2015

A Florida company is partnering with a Wahpeton company to manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles in North Dakota.

"This agreement represents an important milestone in our ongoing work to grow North Dakota's UAS industry," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple at a state Capitol ceremony. "We want to become a national hub for UAS manufacturing, research and development."

Altavian (al-TAVE-ee-un) will manufacture the UAVs at ComDel’s Wahpeton facility. Company officials say the partnership will create between 4 and 15 manufacturing jobs, as well as 4 to 10 administrative jobs.

UND, surrounding counties talk UAVs

Sep 9, 2013

A group made up of representatives of the University of North Dakota and a number of counties in northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota has been talking about unmanned aerial vehicles – specifically, about issues surrounding the use of UAVs.

That group is discussing how law enforcement and other agencies beyond the military can use the aircraft – and about privacy concerns.

The House has passed a bill saying law enforcement will need a search warrant before it can use drone aircraft to collect evidence against an individual.

Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck) introduced the bill. He says it’s to protect individual privacy.

"This is not a knee-jerk, technophobic reaction," Becker told his House colleagues. "This is new technology. It's advancing rapidly. And it's going to be deployed rapidly."

Becker noted that the platform of the national Republican party calls for restrictions on drones.

But opponents say the measure is premature.