Nevada Is Ripe For Drone Production and Testing - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Nevada Ripe For Drone Production and Testing

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According to the Pentagon, the military has about 7,000 aerial drones, compared with fewer than 50 - ten years ago and more are expected.

Mark Walker, the dean of University of Nevada's Cooperative Extension says Nevada has a good chance of cashing in on the growing drone business and becoming one of six federal aviation test sites in the country.

According to CBS News, the drone production industry is expected to create 100,000 jobs over the next decade, about 15,000 or so here in Nevada.

Experts say Nevada is better positioned than any other state in the U.S. for drone production and testing.

"We have a massive amount of airspace that has relatively small restrictions over huge amounts of unpopulated areas. We have more than 320 days a year of clear, sunny weather that's suitable for flying."

Walker says that's important because drones would be sharing airspace with civilian aircraft, so the Federal Aviation Administration wants a state that doesn't have a lot of air traffic to minimize the risk of an accident.

Usually when most of us hear about drones, it involves military missions, but there is a lot more drones are used for. For example, they can be used to fight wildfires without risking a pilot's life.

Drones have other uses as well that would be beneficial to Nevada's wildlife.

"We're talking about uses for things like wildlife senses, looking at invasive species on some of these vast areas that are currently under stress, related to things like sage grouse. We're talking about things like very detailed topographic mapping at a fraction of the cost that it takes to do the same kind of work right now with high resolution."

To see the entire interview, watch Face the State at Saturday at 4:30am and 8:30pm. Also, on Sunday at 6:30am.

If you are interested in learning more, there's a workshop at the University of Nevada to learn more about drones later this month.

The workshop is Monday, November 18th, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. It costs $25 a person to attend.

Written by Chris Ciarlo

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