In Terry Sando’s National Guard career, he has seen how unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can be an asset in surveillance and rescue operations.
But when asked about the future of Grand Forks’ UAS industry, Sando talks extensively about its possible applications in the commercial sector. Sando, who was hired last month as the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp.’s UAS sector senior manager, expects much of the industry’s growth to come from uses by farmers and law enforcement.
North Dakota’s push to become a national hub for the UAS industry is partially led by those with a military background, like Sando. But they say that the technology that emerged for military and defense purposes has a bright future in the commercial sector.
“Like many technologies, they start out in the military first,” said Robert Becklund, the executive director of the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority. “And then they transition and find opportunities in the civilian market.”
“Unmanned aircraft are no different.”