Kansas' partnership with AirMap has opened more airspace for safe drone operations and supported Kansas' growing community of drone operators. Drones are currently being mobilized for disaster recovery, search-and-rescue, agriculture, construction, package delivery, and more within the state. Already, the state is home to a thriving community of commercial drone operators, and forward-thinking Kansas agencies, like the Department of Transportation, are putting drones to work for infrastructure inspections and other public use cases. This new, first-of-its-kind collaboration will support the state's ongoing efforts to welcome drones in safe, secure, and efficient ways.
As part of our partnership, we're making the AirMap platform available to airports, state colleges and universities, and government agencies and entities across Kansas. We'll make it easy for drone operators to access airspace information and connect digitally with airports that require notice of their flights. We'll help the state of Kansas share data, such as first responder activity, with Kansas drone operators to support their situational awareness and flight planning. And we'll give learning institutions and their students and faculty tools they can use to discover new drone use cases.
Together, we'll pave the way for a safe and successful future for all who live, work, and fly in Kansas. As Bob Brock, Director of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at KDOT, says: "Kansas is open for business."
KDOT UAS will pursue and deliver innovative and synergistic approaches to the business activities of the State of Kansas. With inter-agency partnerships and collaboration, joint efforts will create affordable and sustainable solutions for tax payer dollars. Kansas is a premier place to live, work and raise a family. We are uniquely positioned as the heartland of the nation to orient around a problem set, address it and solve it.
Kansas is proud to have strong university partners across the state. From state and municipal higher education institutions to technical and community colleges, there is a great deal of opportunity to partner and innovate. Much like the tradition of aviation, our scholars and academic institutions are uniquely qualified and committed to solving the hard problems of today for the future.
More than 106 years since the first plane was built in Kansas, the state remains a vibrant hub for aviation manufacturing. Manufacturers in the state leverage low operating costs, a skilled workforce and world class research institutions to build some of the most iconic planes in the world. Kansas, with its unique topography, expertise and position within the central United States is a natural leader for the Unmanned Aerial Systems economy.
The State of Kansas will work collaboratively with all private, municipal, community, and technical colleges to pursue campus-wide research and innovation initiatives in the areas of science and technology. The Director of UAS will partner on initiatives to accelerate UAVs into the national airspace system, and develop products within the drone ecosystem to ensure more components of the market are built and housed in Kansas. Additional efforts will focus on the development of partnerships universities and farm operators in Kansas where UAS know-how can be tested during commercial application and to scale. Tornado research, battery life, plant and air quality, device protyping, and source code development initiatives will be other key efforts. Flight training will be paramount. The Kansas Department of Transportation will look forward to working with institutions to develop curricula and to cooperate in tech transfer engineering enabling research and development programs to maximize state planning and research funds.
KDOT will work in cooperation with educational institutions to seek out and apply for grants, advance UAS research and develop programming.
Research and development efforts in Kansas, alongside those in the private sector, will ensure the improvement of unmanned technologies. These efforts will ultimately lower the cost of entry into the market. Technology advances will increase annual market growth in many important Kansas industry sectors such as agriculture and energy, manufacturing and life sciences. Steering research needs, connecting businesses with funding opportunities and promoting networking in both the public and private sector. The department will partner with established and new manufacturing to create the hardware and software necessary for a robust UAS ecosystem.