Arizona, including Cochise County and Southeast Arizona, was well represented at a symposium last week in Washington, D.C.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community, hosted the world’s largest unmanned systems and robotics symposium in Washington D.C. on Aug. 12-16 .
In attendance from Arizona were the Arizona Commerce Authority, AUVSI Saguaro Chapter, AZMARK, Brock Technologies, Cochise College, ERAU, General Dynamics, HFE International, Ideal Aerosmith, Latitude, NavCom, Northrop Grumman, Sensintel, Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation and Thompson-Wimmer, Inc.
With the prospect of southeastern Arizona becoming an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) selected UAS test site, UAS industry advocates from Arizona took advantage of valuable conference resources.
Information at the event offered fundamental and advanced education about important issues, advancements, and opportunities in the unmanned systems and robotics industry, cutting-edge products and technology on the market from more than 600 innovators, and collaboration and networking events with 8,000 attendees from more than 40 countries.
“It was a week well spent,” says Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Mignonne Hollis. “It reinforced how quickly this industry is growing throughout the world and the importance of getting the test sites operational in southeastern Arizona.”
Since 2011, the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation has been working closely with both the Arizona Commerce Authority and Thompson-Wimmer to secure southeastern Arizona as one of the FAA selected UAS test sites.
The applications for this industry move far beyond the Department of Defense and are expected to be used in areas such as police surveillance, fire mapping, border security, real estate photography, and surveying damages after natural disasters. The question isn’t if UAS will become a leading industry, but who will take advantage of the technology that will undoubtedly become standard equipment in a number of everyday activities.
The Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation is confident the UAS industry would thrive in southeastern Arizona because it is equipped with all of the necessary elements, Hollis said. Cochise College offers educational programs specifically geared toward UAS, Fort Huachuca and companies such as Northrop Grumman have extensive hands-on UAS flight experience, and surrounding communities such as Benson and Safford have the unrestricted airspace needed to test.