Idaho Commerce Announces Idaho ASCE


NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release
Contact: Kayla Ruiz
Idaho Commerce

Idaho Commerce Announces Idaho Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence in Partnership with INL and CAES

The Center of Excellence will be based in Idaho Falls at the CAES Facility on the INL Campus

Boise, Idaho—Wednesday, April 22, 2015— The Idaho Department of Commerce – in partnership with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the Center for Advance Energy Studies (CAES) – is pleased to announce establishment of the Idaho Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence. The Center of Excellence will be based in Idaho Falls at the CAES facility on the INL campus.

CAES is a consortium representing the U.S. Department of Energy and Boise State University (BSU), Idaho State University (ISU), the University of Idaho (UI), and the University of Wyoming (UW).

“The infrastructure and markets for commercial and civil autonomous and unmanned aerial systems are very near at hand,” Idaho Department of Commerce Director Jeffery Sayer said. “The endeavor to create an Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence in Idaho promises to increase investment in the region, spark economic growth, provide research opportunities, grow both public and private revenue sources, attract more of this industry to Idaho, and most importantly, grow Idaho’s leading industries, like precision agriculture and natural resource management.”

“As agriculture feeds a rapidly growing population with fewer resources, data-focused technologies will serve as a key driver for more efficient crop production,” said Allan Fetters, J.R. Simplot Co.’s director of SmartFarm Technology. “A local Center of Excellence will provide Idaho growers with cutting-edge resources, stimulate a new economy, and arm our next generation of students with competitive skills. An agri-tech focused ecosystem will enrich the fabric of communities across the state.”

“Idaho Power is pleased to support the establishment of the Idaho Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence. Adoption and full utilization of remotely piloted aerial technologies will enhance our work from monitoring key fisheries to electrical system reliability and restoration activities when needed,” said Vern Porter, Senior Vice President of Customer Operations for Idaho Power.

Idaho began formulating plans for a Center of Excellence in 2013. In response to a national call for proposals for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) test sites issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), collaborators including CAES, INL, BSU, ISU, UI, the Idaho Department of Commerce and such private-industry partners as ADAVSO, Empire Airlines and Blair Farms, established a statewide working group.

Although Idaho was not awarded an FAA UAS Test Site designation, the result of the proposal process identified key capabilities and unique offerings from collaborators throughout the state that would allow Idaho to capitalize on the emerging funding, research and commercial market opportunity for autonomous and unmanned systems.

“Given the participation of the universities and the opportunity to further establish industry partnerships, CAES and INL are positioned to take a leading role in the development, testing and deployment of key technologies to support this rapidly emerging industry,” said Dr. Steven Aumeier, INL Associate Laboratory Director and Director of CAES. “The research capabilities provided by CAES, its member universities and the INL strengthen our ability to not only acquire data via unmanned systems, but to analyze and visualize this data on high-performance computing and visualization platforms.”

The Idaho Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence will begin operations in May. The Center of Excellence will provide a range of products and service opportunities for developers, researchers and UAS users in need of access to test ranges, facilities, and most importantly the equipment and personnel to acquire, analyze and visualize large complex data sets. Core product and service offerings will focus on data collection, analysis, visualization, performance testing, system validation, education and training.

For more information, contact the Idaho Department of Commerce at 208.334,2470 or

To learn more about the Idaho Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence, visit


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