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Grand Forks-based Airtonomy faces growth and challenges, while tech hub prepares to move forward

June 29, 2021


GENIUS NY, a business accelerator program at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden, announced 13 teams as semi-finalists in the competition’s fifth round. The companies, which are developing innovations in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), internet of things (IoT) and big data industries, were selected from a highly competitive pool of nearly 600 submissions from more than 50 countries. Of the 13 semi-finalists, five are international teams representing Germany, Israel, Poland, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Five teams are from New York state.


Grand Forks-based Airtonomy faces growth and challenges, while tech hub prepares to move forward

April 18, 2021

Adam Kurtz | Grand Forks Herald

Airtonomy is growing and looking to hire new employees--computer scientists and engineers--while at the same time looking to expand its footprint on the Herald building’s second floor. It’s the most advanced tech company in the building, which the city will soon be upgrading.


Qualcomm Launches World’s First 5G and AI-Enabled Robotics Platform

June 17, 2020

San Diego | Qualcomm

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., today announced the Qualcomm® Robotics RB5 platform – the Company’s most advanced, integrated, comprehensive offering designed specifically for robotics. 


A spark to light technology: How a software giant is helping tech in Grand Forks and beyond through TechSpark grants

April 20, 2020

Andrew Weeks | Grand Forks Herald

Joshua Riedy doesn’t consider himself a drone guy – and yet it is his work with unmanned aerial systems that has caught the attention of the world’s software giant.

Riedy is building a reusable platform for sensor data, particularly aerial imagery, so that unmanned systems can be operated remotely. 


UND, Airtonomy receive state’s first Microsoft AI for Earth Grant

March 12, 2020

Patrick C. MilIer | UND Today

In partnership with UND, Grand Forks, N.D., startup company Airtonomy has been awarded North Dakota’s first Microsoft AI for Earth grant and a Research ND grant to develop monitoring protocols of bird and bat mortalities at wind energy sites through the use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).


Grand Forks Mayor Gives State Of The City Address

February 21, 2020

Paola Belloso | KVRR

The mayor also spoke about how Grand Forks is already becoming the next Mecca for technology.

“When you think of things like robotics and cybersecurity, those technologies are changing the world as we know it today, and that spreads to areas such as agriculture, health care, public safety, and energy production. And we’re just proud to be part of that,” Josh Riedy, the CEO of Airtonomy says.


Mayor Mike Brown calls for Grand Forks to be a ‘Destination City 3.0’

February 21, 2020

Joe Bowen | Grand Forks Herald

During his annual State of the City address Friday at the Alerus Center, Brown called for a “Destination City 3.0” initiative designed to boost the city’s flagging retail sector.

“There are no easy paths to success. No silver bullets,” he intoned in front of a large crowd. “But there are solid business plans.”


LIFT Committee awards $5 million in first round of funding

February 19, 2020

ND.Gov News

The Innovation Technology Loan Fund (LIFT) Committee awarded the first round of funding for the loan program last week.


Turning Out the Lights

January 15, 2020

Capt. Edward Lundquist | Wind Systems Magazine

Xcel Energy’s Foxtail Wind Farm in Dickey County, North Dakota, will soon be operational, bringing with it a convergence of technologies that will have far-reaching implications beyond Foxtail’s 75 turbines.


North Dakota Wind Farm Leverages Obstruction Lighting Control Radar to Operate Drones

November - December

Edward Lundquist | Unmanned System Magazine 

North Dakota appropriately celebrated American Wind Week 2019 at a wind farm, Xcel Energy’s soon-to-open Foxtail Wind Farm in Dickey County. But Foxtail represents more than a typical wind farm — it has become a convergence of technologies that will have far-reaching implications for the state and beyond.


TechSpark Fargo: Grand Farm project will create the farm of the future

October 17, 2019

Kate Behncken | Microsoft

For generations, farmers throughout North Dakota have traditionally hired seasonal farmhands to help with planting, harvesting and other jobs. Digital technologies and big data are transforming agriculture. Today, those same farmers need to hire technologists, programmers and data scientists to improve productivity to meet food demands, boost yields to increase profitability, environmentally sustain the land and improve safety.


Here’s why Microsoft just invested $1.5M in a North Dakota high-tech farm project


October 17, 2019

Taylor Soper | GeekWire

Microsoft is headed to the farm.

The Redmond, Wash. tech giant today announced a $1.5 million investment in Grand Farm, a project in North Dakota designed to spur innovation around farming and agriculture. Microsoft will provide its technology such as FarmBeats, as well as its own employees that will help with Grand Farm initiatives.


One pilot, multiple drones

September 10, 2019

Patrick C. Miller | UND Today

Josh Riedy, CEO of Airtonomy, foresees a day when there won’t be one pilot flying one drone on one day to accomplish one mission. Instead, it will be one pilot flying multiple drones to accomplish thousands of missions over the course of a year.


Intern pioneers new UAS technology

September 10, 2019

Connor Murphy | UND Today

What started as a simple search for summer work now has Connor Propp on the cutting edge of unmanned aircraft system applications.


Microsoft TechSpark initiative invests in UND to propel US drone industry innovation

April 23, 2019

Microsoft News Center

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — April 23, 2019 — Microsoft Corp. and the University of North Dakota (UND) Aerospace Foundation announced Tuesday that Microsoft has granted $100,000 in project funding that will drive investment and boost North Dakota’s ambitions to be the epicenter of U.S. drone innovation and entrepreneurism. 


Microsoft TechSpark grants $100K to North Dakota’s Airtonomy drone startup

April 23, 2019

Alan Boyle | GeekWire

Microsoft has awarded a $100,000 TechSpark grant to support Airtonomy, a startup that’s partnering with the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation to blaze a trail for drone applications in North Dakota’s “Silidrone Valley.”

The seed money unlocks nearly $570,000 in additional funding for Airtonomy from local investors, Microsoft said today in a news release.


Local startup seeks Microsoft grant to make data more available

December 8, 2018

Bonnie Meibers | Grand Forks Herald

Evolve Analytics and the UND Aerospace Foundation have applied for a $100,000 grant from Microsoft's TechSpark program, the philanthropic arm of Microsoft. Microsoft TechSpark sponsored Regional Aerial Imagery Grant Competition, which Evolve and the UND Aerospace Foundation have applied to jointly.


Grand Forks start-up to receive $50,000 from city growth fund

December 3, 2018

Emily Allen | Grand Forks Herald

Local drone startup Evolve Analytics touted its partnerships with the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. and the UND Aerospace Foundation Monday night, as they sought yet another relationship with the city of Grand Forks.