Tech company at ATMC in Fall River plans to manufacture unmanned aerial drones

The technology to power medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, is closer than one would think.

In fact, that technology could be manufactured in Fall River as soon as next spring.

The Lakeville-based company O’Neill Power Systems has taken up residency at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center on Martine Street.

The company’s plan, according to founder and president James O’Neill, is to deliver a system that can power unmanned aerial vehicles for use in industries other than the military and espionage.

The civil aviation, agriculture and public safety sectors would all benefit from the efficiency of O’Neill’s UAV, the prototypes of which have already been designed and built — twice — explained the company’s chief executive officer, Jerry Kelly.

UAVs can revolutionize those industries, especially agriculture, according to O’Neill. Using a UAV instead of manned vehicles, which can cost companies as much as $1,200 per hour, could increase cost-efficiency in activities like crop-dusting and water irrigation.

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