Prioria Robotics, a developer and manufacturer of UAS (“drone”) technology, is investing more than $2 million on a corporate expansion scheme in Gainesville that includes the creation of 40 new positions.
?The skies over Florida will look dramatically different in the years to come.?Fank DiBello, Space Florida President
After being courted by several locations in Georgia, North Carolina and Canada, the Florida-based company decided to expand locally. It will renovate a 22,000 square-foot former utilities facility in Gainesville?s ?Power District?.
Prioria claims its main drivers for site location included state/community support and access to talent through University of Florida and Santa Fe College.
?Prioria?s plan to expand right here at home reflects the area?s commitment to creating high-skill/high-wage jobs. Though courted by several other states offering competitive incentives packages, Prioria recognized that expanding in Gainesville was critical to the company?s long-term growth and success,? said Michael Gallagher, chairman of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce
The 40 new jobs created by the investment offer an average wage of $67,588.
The right place at the right time
Community growth aside, Prioria?s decision comes at a pivotal moment for UAS technology. The federal government is working to open civilian airspace to drones by 2015, and the FAA is in the process of determining the six states that will become testing sites for commercial-use drones.
Florida?s longtime association with the aerospace industry makes the state a major contender for one of the six highly sought-after slots, and a smart base of operations for UAS start-ups.
Space Florida President, Fank DiBello, was quoted saying ?The skies over Florida will look dramatically different in the years to come.?
His agency?s board recently approved $1.4 million to try to win designation as one of the six test ranges.
Prioria was founded in 2003 by University of Florida graduates who developed embedded systems for a variety of industries. Since then, much of Prioria?s work has been on leading-edge systems designed to perform sophisticated surveillance or security tasks.
The company’s Maveric and Merlin platforms offer smart drones designed for small UAS operations, ideal for the commercial functions imagined by Florida?s UAS advocates. Commercial applications could include police patrol, aerial building and bridge inspection, traffic monitoring and climate research.
Thus far, the FAA has granted about 60 public entities permission to perform limited operations outside restricted airspace. Those include Customs and Border Protection, NASA and, in Florida, the Miami-Dade Police Department, sheriff?s offices in Orange and Polk counties and the University of Florida.Read More