Nevada Launches Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety

DJI Phantom

The world of drones is fascinating. On the one side, you have teen consumers and professional filmmakers occupying the same aisle at Best Buy, and on the other side, you have a myriad of government, corporate, and lobbyist groups trying to capitalize – ahem, provide oversight – on this rapidly growing industry.

Maybe it has something to do with the intermix of toys, filmmaking, airspace, military, privacy, news media, and a potential threat to public safety. Who said drones were simple?

This week there’s a large press consortium coming out of Nevada, featuring a handful of easy to remember acronyms that every drone operator should know about. The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) announced the launch of the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety (NDCOE), in partnership with the FAA, NASA, UNLV, DOT, DHS, DOJ, and the GOED. Other partners include AviSight, Drone America, and Switch.

switch data center

From the looks of it, Switch will create a very modern looking data center, with racks and racks of computers that track drone use around the country, and as a result of this new data center, we’ll be able to avoid drone-related disasters such as crashes with airlines, sports stadiums, and people in general.

If you think this is a bit confusing, try taking the FAA Part 107 test, which we did and talked about our experience in our Flying a Drone article. And if you want to avoid crashes without having to visit the acronym center in Nevada, try installing one of these ParaZero parachutes for Phantom drones.

Below is the full press release in its organizational partnership glory.

LAS VEGASJuly 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) today announced the launch of the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety (NDCOE). The mission is to save lives and reduce air hazards from drone incursions by empowering a shared safety vision with the FAA’s integration of drones into the commercial air traffic system.

Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, with facilities donated by Switch, the NDCOE will provide safety incursion research data, drone technology best practices, educational materials, and the new center will conduct public workshops that promote and protect the public’s safety and privacy in an open and ethical manner.  NDCOE staff will inspire audiences to join the NIAS public safety movement.

Over the last decade, UAS, more commonly referred to as drones, have experienced an unprecedented boom within aviation.  Coinciding with the increase in popularity, incidents involving drones in tourist areas, as well as risks to larger manned aircraft are on the rise and present high-liability risks to property owners.

Safe and successful UAS operations rely on quality training, end user education and maximizing public safety processes.  To protect and educate residents and visitors, this center seeks to protect against drone users who pose a public safety hazard due to inexperience and/or malicious drone operations, e.g., drones hitting people or that have the potential to cause an airline disaster, and who violate your safety, privacy, or drone laws near high traffic public places, at airports, near military bases, or critical infrastructure.  NDCOE will also advance Drone Surveillance, Detect, and Avoid (remote sensing), wildland firefighting, gas-leak detection, and time-sensitive medical delivery technologies for life-saving medical equipment and organs.

“In addition to fostering major advances in UAS technology with testing partners like the FAA, NASA, and Switch, Nevada is also home to the most registered drone users in the nation in Las Vegas,” said Paul Anderson, Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “This dynamic makes such a program as the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety a natural step as drones increasingly become a bigger part of our daily lives.”

In a recent state-wide Nevada Drone Industry survey by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and NIAS, the NDCOE received incredible support to open the first center of its kind in the U.S.  In this survey, almost 80% of respondents were concerned about a recreational drone hitting an airline and causing an airline disaster and almost 90% were concerned about aerial drones illegally penetrating FAA airspace without authorization at outdoor events such as sports stadium, concert, or at large public gathering events.

“We are taking an aggressive approach toward solving the complex UAS Industry challenge of mitigating drone incursions into the National Airspace System (NAS)—one of the toughest FAA challenges today.   What we are doing in Nevada will be of immense value to the DOT, FAA, DHS, DOJ, commercial airlines, visitor venues, and the UAS Industry.  This new center will help advance infrastructure protections, drone detection innovations, enhance air safety, and expand air commerce in Nevada,” said Dr. Chris Walach, Senior Director, NIAS and the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site.

“Switch is pleased to provide the technology infrastructure backbone to advance the safety and privacy of drone development through the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety,” said Switch EVP of Strategy Adam Kramer. “NDCOE aligns with Switch’s vision for the advancement of technology and economic development that benefits all Nevadans in a positive way.”

“This new center provides an excellent resource to our home state and the industry at large. We are proud to be part of this effort and such a tremendous team!” said J.B. Bernstein, CEO AviSight.

“Since we were founded in 2009, we have been developing and applying UAV technologies to save lives. Now with the recent formation of the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety (NDCOE), the team at Drone America is proud and excited to be a supporter of NIAS and the NDCOE.  We plan on being an active part of the Center and look forward to the future of the UAV industry in Nevada,” said Mike Richards, CEO Drone America.

About the Governor’s Office of Economic Development

Created during the 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development is the result of a collaborative effort between the Nevada Legislature and Governor Brian Sandoval to restructure economic development in the state. GOED’s role is to promote a robust, diversified and prosperous economy in Nevada, to stimulate business expansion and retention, encourage entrepreneurial enterprise, attract new businesses and facilitate community development. More information on the Governor’s Office of Economic Development can be viewed at

About the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS): The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and FAA-designated Nevada Unmanned Aviation Test Site leads the growth of the Nevada Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS) Industry through business teaming relationships, collaborating with primary research institutions on UAS research and development, and enhancing the Nevada UAS Industry knowledge base to attract new and permanent business and create jobs in the State of Nevada.   Learn more at

About Switch:  Switch (NYSE: SWCH) the technology infrastructure corporation headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada is built on the intelligent and sustainable growth of the internet. Switch founder and CEO Rob Roy has developed more than 500 issued and pending patent claims covering data center designs that have manifested into the company’s world-renowned data centers and technology solutions.  The Switch PRIMES located in Las Vegas and Tahoe RenoNevadaGrand Rapids, Michigan; and Atlanta, Georgia are the world’s highest-rated hyperscale data center campus ecosystems with low latency to major U.S. markets.  The Switch PRIMES are located in the most cost-effective area of each North American zone based on power, connectivity, taxes, cost of living and lower risk of natural disasters. Visit for more information.

About AviSight: AviSight, Inc. is a leading unmanned industrial inspection and advanced data solutions company, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our company employs aerospace systems, remote sensing technology, analytics, and data collection/distribution systems for commercial and government clients.  For more information about AviSight please visit

About Drone America: Drone America strives to be one of the World’s Top Providers of Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles, high tech equipment and services.  Our mission is to use UAS technologies as a means to survey, protect, and preserve human life and strategic resources around the Globe. Learn more at

SOURCE Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS)