Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that Michigan and Ontario are collaborating on an initiative involving unmanned aerial systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones.
- The first-of-its-kind aerial mobility corridor study will test the feasibility of commercial drones and other aerial systems.
- The three areas proposed for the study include an international connection between Michigan and Ontario, southeast Michigan, and any other suitable location in the state.
- The study will explore whether small drones can be flown beyond the line of sight of a pilot and be used in operations like just-in-time delivery, medical transport, or other small-scale deployment of UAS.
- Airspace Link, a Detroit-based drone technology start-up, and their partners at Thales USA, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, Aviation Innovations LLC, CityFi, and Grand Sky Development Co. LLC will develop a feasibility analysis as a first step to establish infrastructure required.
- The Airspace Link team will provide an analysis of existing airspace, air traffic infrastructure, and ground infrastructure required to ensure operational safety of commercial drone skyway. The analysis also will include the potential economic impacts, applicable state and local zoning restrictions, environmental factors (like social equity and noise considerations), travel impacts, and connections to existing aviation, surface transportation and transit modes.