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Drone testing starts at Alpena airport after years of work

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0

Those involved in a drone research effort at a Michigan airport are celebrating a milestone with the testing of an unmanned aircraft at the facility.

The Alpena News reports Thursday's flight at Alpena County Regional Airport by Birmingham-based R4 Robotics follows more than five years of work to establish the testing site.

The R4 Roller, which can fly, climb structures and roll across the ground, is designed for use by law enforcement, military and utilities as well as for inspecting the interior of large enclosed spaces.

The Northern Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium is working to boost testing of unmanned systems with the Alpena site.

The consortium's CEO Jim Makowske says the area is "positioned to take our portion of this emerging industry."

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