North Dakota’s BVLOS drone network to expand eastward

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:22 PM CDT
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WILLISTON, N.D. - While drone operators showcase their usefulness in western North Dakota, officials building a statewide drone network are now moving east.

The Northern Plains UAS Test Site is developing Vantis, a drone network that will allow them to fly beyond visual line of site. With the infrastructure completed in Williams and McKenzie Counties, Executive Director Trevor Woods says they will be building infrastructure in the Grand Forks area. He adds that drones have only scratched the surface of what they can provide to industries.

“We’re carrying around minicomputers today, and we don’t even know what we would do without them. I suspect that drones and automation are going to do that in the future. We’re not going to know how we live without them once they are here bringing value to their communities,” said Woods.

Drones have been used in the area for pipeline inspections and assisting power companies in restoring energy. In the future, Woods says package delivery and even air taxis could be possible using Vantis.

Woods says their long-term goals include setting up infrastructure in Minot, Fargo, and Bismarck.

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