Utah awards financial incentives to firms working on flight control, autonomous vehicles

A Cache County company that manufactures robotic hardware and software systems to help manage driverless vehicles has been given a $166,000 state grant to expand its operations and add 135 jobs over the next five years.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development board also offered Parker Hannifin Corp., which services the aerospace industry and other high-technology markets, a potential $1 million tax-credit rebate to bring 77 jobs to Ogden.

Who’s getting the money?

• Autonomous Solutions Inc. (ASI), founded in 2000 by seven members who broke off from Utah State University’s Center for Self Organizing and Intelligent Systems. The company has its headquarters and a 100-acre proving ground in Petersboro, west of Logan.

• Parker Hannifin Corp., a century-old Ohio company that has its control systems division in Ogden, along with an engineered polymer systems facility. It is looking to relocate more of its worldwide operations (facilities in 39 states and 48 countries) to Utah.

What do they do?

• ASI manufactures equipment and software system that allow fleet managers to retrofit industrial vehicles so that they can be used and operated autonomously. Its products are tested on its proving ground and have been used in the mining, farming, automotive, manufacturing and defense industries.

The company is working with Ford Motor Co. on autonomous driving solutions and also has done projects for Toyota, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rio Tinto and General Dynamics.

• Parker Hannifin, through its subsidiary Parker Aerospace, has designed and manufactured what it claims is the world’s most advanced flight-control actuation systems. The company now is going to move its repair and overhaul operations, both equipment and jobs, to Ogden from California.

What are the incentive terms?

• ASI is expected to create 135 new jobs over the next five years, positions paying 200 percent of the Cache County average. The jobs are expected to product $26.6 million in new state wages and $3.3 million in new state taxes over the life of the agreement. The money will be used to pay for up to 20 percent of road improvements to the site, with a total projected cost of $833,000. GOED will release the funds once the jobs are in place.

• Parker Hannifin is required to add 77 positions over the next six years, jobs paying 110 percent of the Weber County average. Wages from these new jobs are forecast to add up to $17.8 million, with new state taxes pegged at $6.7 million. The company will qualify for portions of the rebate each year that preset employment goals are achieved.

What are people saying?

• “To maintain our leadership in the unmanned vehicle space we must continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with machine learning and artificial intelligence.” — ASI Founder and CEO Mel Torrie.

• “ASI is a truly impressive homegrown company … a pioneering innovator that is using sophisticated research from our universities.” — Val Hale, GOED executive director

• “The economic climate in Utah is quite favorable for business development and the area is an excellent place for our team members to live and work.” — Doug Dilley, commercial business unit manager for Parker Hannifin’s control systems division operation in Ogden.

• “We look forward to the positive impact [Parker Hannifin’s] increased presence in Utah will have on the aerospace industry in the state.”— Theresa Foxley, CEO of the Economic Development Corp. of Utah.

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