NUAIR Industry Days Speakers Stress Need for UAV Policies to Keep Pace with Promising New Technologies

Posted on December 1, 2015

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More than 130 people joined the NUAIR Alliance and the Empire State Chapter of AUVSI for the second annual Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Industry Days event held at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. Over the two-day event, industry partners, and academic and community leaders drew on their experience and expertise to discuss Collaboration for Innovation and examine how the region can advance its leadership position and maximize job and investment opportunities associated with the burgeoning UAS industry. Additionally, these thought leaders expressed the need for advanced planning and new policies to support the rapid growth of the technology.

“The UAS industry is here and it’s evolving all the time,” said Mark Aitken, manager of Federal Government Relations for AUVSI. “This growth comes from new startups and an expansion of established companies in this space. If we are serious about supporting the potential job growth associated with this industry, then we have to ensure that this growth isn’t stunted by a bottleneck in the regulatory system. As leaders, we must work to improve the certification and commercial authorization process so companies can utilize these tools and benefit our local economies.”

Aitken also said he sees the expiration of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 in late September as an opportunity. He believes its reauthorization should include language that enables test sites to draw upon existing federal funds so they can play a role in providing research to help guide a new regulatory system.

Lisa Ellman, a lawyer and public policy expert from the Washington D.C. firm Hogan Lovells, shared during her keynote address thoughts on regulations needed to gain the public’s trust and realize the UAS industry’s full potential.

“As is so often the case, technology moves more quickly than policymaking – and this is certainly true with the UAS industry,” said Ellman. “The pace at which UAS technologies are advancing, and the strong demand for the safety and efficiency benefits UAS provide, have forced policy conversations to move forward quickly. The research and development work being led by the NUAIR Alliance is key to informing these policymaking discussions. The ‘sense and avoid’ technologies being tested at this FAA site will be critical to the effort to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System and build a ‘highway in the sky.”

“This region has exceptional assets and a high level of expertise and ability to creatively solve the challenges associated with this developing technology and its integration into the NAS,” said Lawrence H. Brinker, executive director and general counsel of the NUAIR Alliance. “This event is a great way for NUAIR and its partners to showcase this leadership and further position the region as a hub of this technology. The challenges we are addressing, and the opportunities we are advancing, have implications well beyond this region.”

“Ultimately, the region’s role in the UAS industry means new economic development opportunities and jobs,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “What sets the NUAIR Alliance apart is its ability to leverage the expertise and innovations of academic and private sector partners with the support of our leaders. Together we will advance the research and development of new technologies and processes and attract new permanent businesses to the region.”

UAS Industry Days are presented by SRC, Inc. and Lockheed-Martin Corporation, members of the NUAIR Alliance that have played a leading role in testing new technologies at the test site.

“SRC is proud to sponsor and actively support this event,” said Paul Tremont, President and CEO of SRC, Inc. “We have been working with key stakeholders, to develop advanced radar systems to allow UAS to fly safely in the NAS. This event provides us a unique opportunity to be involved with a broad and diverse set of industry, academic and government partners, all with the same mission in mind”.

In addition to the event’s keynote presentations, several speaker panels highlighted the numerous applications for UAS in the region and beyond. Attendees also saw several of leading-edge UAS platforms up-close, and witnessed demo flights of Lockheed Martin Corporation’s Indago and FlyTerra’s MicroDrones MD4-1000.

Event Sponsors:
Saab Sensis
AX Enterprize
Harris Corporation
The C&S Companies
Gryphon Sensors
Griffiss International Airport

The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR Alliance) is a consortium of industry leaders and academic institutions throughout New York and Massachusetts, led by the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO), in New York, and MassDevelopment, in Massachusetts. CenterState CEO is an organization of 2,000 companies that work together to increase business competitiveness, community prosperity, and regional growth in the 12-county CenterState New York region. MassDevelopment, the Commonwealth’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth throughout Massachusetts. Under the leadership of MassDevelopment and CenterState CEO, industry experts and academic institutions in both states formed NUAIR and combined assets, expertise and experience to compete for a FAA-designated UAS testing site. Organizations partnering with Griffiss International Airport and NUAIR include Saab Sensis, SRC, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, together with colleges and universities including Rochester Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts institutions, Syracuse University, Clarkson University and Northeastern University, among others.

Griffiss was constructed in 1942 as a supply depot for the Army Air Forces and was home to the United State Air Force Strategic Air Command 416th Bomb Wing, flyingB-52s and KC-135s until the base closed in 1996. Today, Griffiss International Airport has become a regional economic development asset. The airport is home to the Griffiss Business and Tech Park and employs more than 6,000 military and civilian personnel. New York State has years of experience flying UAS through the 174th Air National Guard Wing and the Air Force Research Labs Information Directorate. The Griffiss UAS Test Site will build off this experience and will establish New York State as a leader in civil and commercial UAS development and the safe integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace.

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