Business, Central New York, Jobs, Syracuse, Technology

Syracuse drone industry on the rise

drone in flight with blue sky as backdrop

A drone taking flight. New York State Governor Cuomo announced $5 million of funding to go to drone development in Upstate New York. (C) Andrew Turner via Flickr Creative Commons

By Ehlin Hansen SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – In late 2015, the New York State government announced its plans to give out $500 million in grants as part of a project called “Upstate Revitalization Initiative”. A large part of that money is expected to go into technological innovations such as the drone industry.

Just last year, the company AutoModality won the Genius NY Business competition and received $1 million for its innovation of drone technology. Syracuse business owner Sean Falconer said that he believed the drone industry still has a lot of room to grow.

“I think that that right now the drone industry is still in its infancy. […] And I really do think that this is a new market segment and you will always need professionals providing the service, consultants, sales and all this stuff. And the technology is only improving every year.”

Ed Gonzales, owner of Highpoint Aerial Photography said that he thinks society has become more accepting of the drone industry as well.

“From when I first started to get into this, I was kind of scared to go to the park and fly my drone. Because at the time, drones were viewed as more of a military weapon. When somebody heard the word drone, they automatically visualized war and weaponry. But I think as it became a little more mainstream and people started to see that you can use them as a tool and for different application, people started to accept them.”

Professor of economics at Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs Donald H. Dutkowsky said that any governmental help might be successful, but that there is no guarantee. Nonetheless, he thinks any action is better than no action.

“My sense is I would rather see somebody try something to address the problem rather than sit around and complain and do nothing.”


While the future of the drone industry is unknown, there are many opportunities awaiting. Drones can be used for real estate photography, search and rescue missions as well as aerial photography. Thus, the industry is expected to grow as technology advances.