Drone research and development center coming to Eastern Kentucky

Published: Apr. 24, 2017 at 7:12 PM EDT
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Jobs are on the way to Eastern Kentucky in a new industry.

"The technology, who knows where it's going to be in three years," Bart Massey who is the Director of Operations for the USA Drone Port National Unmanned Robotic Research and Development Center said.

Monday, leaders announced plans to create the USA Drone Port National Unmanned Robotic Research and Development Center.

"A research and development facility that allows manufacturers of drone technology to be able to test and to potentially manufacture drones at a site," said Paul Green who is with the Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative College and Career Readiness Leauge.

The proposed Port, which will be built somewhere in Knott and Perry counties will feature a 3,500-foot runway for fixed wing aircraft, areas for research and testing of drones, unmanned vehicles both on land and in the water along with an indoor flight facility.

Massey said, "People will be able to come and rent a part of it or all of it for 'x' amount of hours to test it and they can do it 24 hours a day, so we have multiple work days in one day with that application."

The plan is to encourage manufacturers to set-up in Eastern Kentucky with the hopes of bringing in 500 jobs and a boost to the region's economy.

"With the innovative spirit, with the workforce available here in our community, I think that there will be a lot of people wanting to locate their companies here," said Massey.

Due to the cutting edge nature of the project, it is currently unclear how much it will cost.

Project organizers said the Drone Port will be the first such facility in the United States and is expected to take two to three years to build.

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