Hoeven, Chamber Kick Off 2015 State of Technology Conference

Appareo Systems to Seek FAA Approval for Next Generation Air Traffic Control Technology, Could Open a $750 Million Market for North Dakota Technology Company

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce today kicked off the 2015 State of Technology Conference in Fargo, an annual event focused on making Fargo and the Red River Valley a hub of technology entrepreneurship for the country. Hoeven was joined at the kickoff for the event by Tony Grindberg, Aviation Business Unit Manager at Appareo Systems. Grindberg announced that the company is poised to submit its next generation air traffic control technology to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for review and approval this fall. Today’s announcement is a new milestone in Appareo’s work as a part of the FAA’s Next Generation (NEXTGEN) initiative, which is working to transform America’s air traffic control system from a ground-based to a satellite-based system.

Specifically, Appareo System’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology goes beyond traditional sense and avoid technology, allowing all aircraft in controlled space to communicate their location and altitude with one another. This capability will aid in the integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the national airspace by preventing aircraft collisions and will improve the safety and efficiency of all aviation systems.

“Appareo’s next generation air traffic control technology has significant impacts for commercial aviation and general aviation in North Dakota and across the country,” Hoeven said. “When approved by the FAA, this technology will open our state to the $750 million ADS-B marketplace. Further, the FAA’s NEXTGEN initiative will advance the integration of UAS into our national airspace, enhancing our state’s leadership in this dynamic industry, which is expected to grow into an $80 billion marketplace worldwide by 2020.”

Today’s announcement by Appareo Systems is the result of the company’s collaboration with the Center of Excellence Program at the University of North Dakota (UND) and North Dakota State University (NDSU). The Centers of Excellence Program, first initiated by then-Governor Hoeven, provided $4 million toward the project and is part of Hoeven’s larger efforts, both as governor and now as U.S. Senator, to support the growth of high-tech industries in North Dakota.

To this end, Hoeven and the Chamber host the annual State of Technology conference to highlight technological innovations in North Dakota’s key industries and to help the state’s businesses find ways to use technology to grow and increase success. This year’s conference also featured addresses from:

  • Botlink, LLC on advances in power and airspace management for UAS,
  • Fargo 3-D Printing, c2renew and Protosthetics on new and exciting applications for 3-D printing, including prosthetic limbs and a wide-range of biodegradable objects, such as a biodegradable alternative to plastic Keurig coffee cups, and
  • North Dakota State University (NDSU) on how the university is changing its relationship with innovators and its approach to technology development, transfer and commercialization.

“North Dakota businesses consistently break new ground, developing technologies that meet the needs of people around the world while creating good job opportunities for folks here at home,” Hoeven said. “Today’s lineup of speakers covers a wide spectrum of industries and stands as a testament to our state’s vibrant business environment and ongoing economic success. Our annual conference works to harness that creative energy, forge productive connections between our state’s technology leaders and attract future investments in our state’s businesses.”

Past conferences have served as a catalyst for new innovation and investment in the state, including the Dakota Fiber Initiative, which originated from a challenge made by Doug Burgum in his 2013 keynote address at the conference.