About Us

History

Strategic Positioning

The MIAASC project was initiated in the spring of 2011. Under the leadership of the Alpena County Regional Airport, the county of Alpena and local economic development organizations, the region decided to move forward with plans to strategically position its regional airport and develop an industry cluster. Among the targeted development niches, the group recognized a great potential for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Our analysis, along with key market trends, shows a promising future for the UAS industry:

  • The military is increasingly relying on UASs to carry out dangerous missions and lead troops out of unsafe zones.
  • UASs are becoming a very attractive tool for many civil companies and government agencies.
  • Various applications in the field of law enforcement, emergency services, border and waterway surveillance, agriculture, power line and pipeline surveillances are all under development, with a promising market potential.

Understanding that the region was especially suited for UAS operations, with its abundant airspace and other unique assets, the concept of a UAS cluster was pre-selected, analyzed, and its potential validated with the industry. In early summer of 2011, the concept of a UAS cluster, with the initial mission "to become the North East USA civil and military UAS training and development center" was retained.

Industry Involvement

During the fall of 2011, we networked with multiple organizations, from both the private and public sectors, and invited them to attend our first steering committee meeting. The objective was to review with the subject-matter experts, our mission and objectives, as well as validate their initial interest in the cluster project. On February 15, 2012, more than thirty-five (35) organizations attended the first steering committee meeting, and endorsed the development plan.

State Leadership

In March 2012, the FAA announced its interest to integrate UAS into the national airspace by 2015, and to designate six (6) official test sites. This announcement brought the leaders of the project to review the scope of work. It was decided at that time to position the project at the State level, and work to present a structured Michigan bid to the FAA. Multiple meetings with various Michigan state agencies and government officials were held, which lead to the creation of a Board of Directors and the financial support from the State of Michigan.

Recent Developments

In the midst of creating the Board of Directors, the following steps were undertaken between July 2012 and today:

  • July 23-25, 2012 - 2nd steering committee regrouping 25 political and community leaders. The decision was made to be a strong proponent for the FAA Screening Information Request (SIR), and to prepare a Concept of Operations (CONOPS), to support commercial flight-test activities. At that time, the project was named Michigan Unmanned Vehicle Systems Center (MI-UVSC), to showcase the support from the State of Michigan.
  • August 4-7, 2012 - AUVSI Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. We attended the event, advocated for the Michigan initiative, and established important business contacts.
  • August 11, 2012 - Resolution passed at the Michigan State Senate, supporting the UAS initiative.
  • September 15, 2012 - Official endorsement by Michigan's Governor's Office.
  • November 1, 2012 - Official endorsement by Michigan's Army National Guard.
  • November 15, 2012- Creation of the cluster's Board of Directors. The board is composed of 11 member organizations representing Michigan's political, academic and community leaders.
  • December 2012 - he project was renamed Michigan Advanced Aerial Systems Consortium (MIAASC) to showcase the support of the State of Michigan.
  • January 15, 2013 - Confirmation of the State of Michigan's financial support for the FAA proposal, the formalization of the MIAASC consortium, and the set-up of the flight-test center.
  • March 2013 - Preparation of Michigan's response to the FAA six (6) test sites proposal, and completion of the business plan and value proposition.
  • May 6, 2013 - Last volume for the FAA SIR was submitted, and the MIAASC cluster was progressing towards launching its operations.
  • August 8, 2013 - Official press conference and launch of operations.
  • August 2014 - The MIAASC initiative was repositioned and is now focussing on its Northern Michigan's assets and capabilities. The UAS flight operations of the Center will now be concentrated in the northern region at the Yuba and Alpena test sites. As a part of this realignment, the initiative was renamed Northern Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium (NMUASC) to reflect the recent restructuring of activities.

The mission's scope has been extended since the project's inception, evolving from a regional cluster to a state-wide project; however, our core strategic vision has always remained the same: to become the North East USA prime UAS test center and cluster. We are now a state-wide initiative, bringing together more than forty (40) organizations, supported by Michigan's key stakeholders, and we have structured a first class UAS initiative.