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UAS Program Attends FAA UAS Symposium 2018

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) will co-host the FAA’s 3rd annual Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Symposium on March 6-8, 2018 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The 2018 UAS Symposium provided stakeholders with the opportunity to talk face-to-face with a cross-section of government and industry representatives about regulations, research and initiatives to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS).  This year’s agenda (attached) was based on stakeholder feedback and focuses on industry partnerships, as well as, how to overcome technical challenges to safe UAS operations. The FAA operated a resource center during the symposium to provide technical support on authorizations, waivers, Part 107 requirements, and other policies and regulations.  CAPT Phil Hall, NOAA, Dr. Hernan Garcia and John “JC” Coffey are shown in attendance at the FAA UAS Symposium (photo).  The FAA will be posting the presentations and some videos on their website:  Highlights included:

  • The welcome address from Catherine Pugh, Mayor of Baltimore, Brian Wynne, President & CEO, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Michael Kratsios, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy US Technology Officer, Executive Office of the President and Dan Elwell, Acting Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration.
  • The FAA Leadership Panel
  • Setting the Stage where key FAA administrators provided insights into the challenges the FAA faces with competing priorities and the importance of working as a community to move forward on UAS integration.
  • The workshop on UAS Rulemaking where FAA officials provided a glimpse into the FAA’s rulemaking process and explained the external factors that impact timelines and outcomes.
  • The Understanding Remote Pilot Responsibilities workshop that addressed the risks to nonparticipants on the ground and to other aircraft sharing airspace with them in the NAS.
  • The workshop on Flying in the National Airspace System Today that provided various methods operators can use to gain access to the NAS and the specifics related to each type of operation including processing criteria, application requirements, and operator requirements.
  • The lunch panel dedicated to UAS in Today’s NAS where FAA senior leaders outlined the Agency’s UAS integration philosophy, the framework for operations today, and its vision for a future regulatory structure.
  • The policy discussion: The Future of UAS Remote Identification that provided you with an update on rulemaking efforts and obstacles to rulemaking.
  • The Conducting High-Altitude Operations Policy Discussion that outlined how the FAA is working with industry to develop standards for high altitude UAS operations for surveillance, communications, and internet service. 
  • The interactive Drone Safety Policy Discussion that offered strategies for fostering cross-platform education and communication that can be employed to encourage safe operations, best practices, and responsibility within the unmanned arena.
  • Dreaming of Electric Sheep where industry leaders spoke about the next phases of their research, technology, and operational developments.
  • The policy discussion: Drones and Public Safety
  • Useful Tool or Public Nuisance? where we explored possible applications and challenges for using drones in public safety work, and considered policy and best practice improvements for government and industry.
  • The workshop on Autonomous Vehicles where industry leaders highlighted the lessons learned from unmanned vehicle technology and regulation and applies them to the UAS industry.

“The message of this whole conference is, the FAA is open for business,” said Derek Kan, undersecretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation, summing up the Federal Aviation Administration’s stance at the third annual FAA UAS Symposium, cosponsored by AUVSI.

The FAA officials said repeatedly that they want to talk to industry about ways to help companies achieve their goals, including for beyond-line-of-sight flights and package delivery.

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