|NYT photo by Michael Ciaglo|
"Private-sector drones are where personal computers were in the 1970s: a hobbyist technology waiting to become mainstream. The technology research firm Gartner says that, barring regulatory hurdles, the United States drone business could be worth $7 billion in a decade," Hardy writes. "North Dakota has spent about $34 million fostering the state’s unmanned aerial vehicle business, most notably with a civilian industrial park for drones near Grand Forks Air Force Base. The base, a former Cold War installation, now flies nothing but robot aircraft for the United States military and Customs and Border Protection . . . to patrol from Seattle to the Great Lakes" and sometimes along the Rio Grande.
“The potential up here is tremendous,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple told Hardy. “It’s not about supporting a company or two; it’s creating the leading edge of an industry.”
For a "Field Guide to Civilian Drones," by Nick Wingfield of the Times, click here.