Drone operators who wish they had the opportunity to speak with the FAA – in person – will have their chance. The FAA and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) have announced that registration is now open for the 2017 UAS Symposium. The symposium is scheduled to take place at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, VA, from March 27 to 29.
The event is co-sponsored by the FAA and AUVSI: the sponsors say that the symposium “will bring together representatives from government, industry and academia to discuss topics of high interest to the fast-growing unmanned aircraft (UAS) community. It will focus on industry partnerships as well as how to overcome technical challenges to safe UAS operations.”
The event will include presentations and workshops, and will aim to update participants on “the current and future regulatory environment, progress toward integrating UAS, unmanned aircraft research initiatives, counter-UAS evaluations and international UAS collaboration,” says the announcement. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta will deliver the keynote address on March 27. Huerta and the FAA recently came under fire from President Trump, who called the Next-gen system “out of whack” and commented pointedly that he’d like to see a pilot in the administrator’s position.
AUVSI says that the symposium will provide drone operators with access and insight to government officials: “[The event] will provide stakeholders the opportunity to talk face-to-face with a cross-section of government and industry representatives about regulations, research, and other initiatives to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS)….The FAA will also operate a resource booth throughout the Symposium to provide one-on-one technical support on authorizations, waivers, Part 107 requirements, and other policies and regulations.”
The agenda has been developed based on survey results from last year’s symposium held in Daytona Beach, FL. While last year’s event boasted hundreds of participants, the drone industry has grown significantly since the advent of Part 107 and this year’s symposium may be much larger. The event is another effort by the FAA to shift its process of drone integration towards collaboration with the drone industry; an effort which Huerta has driven through initiatives such as the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) and industry working groups.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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