Drone uses, policies focus of conference

 – November 3, 2016 – Sierra Vista Herald

A three-day conference in Scottsdale next week, organized by a local economic development group, will bring together more than 200 companies interested in the commercial application of Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Mignonne Hollis, executive director at Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation, said the event features 21 sessions offering information on the uses for UAS in public safety, agriculture, mining and other industries.

The nonprofit AREDF is based in Sierra Vista and is focused on strengthening the economy in Southern Arizona. It is partnering with UAS magazine to produce the UAS Summit & Expo in Scottsdale from Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 7-9.

The conference will be held at the We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center in Scottsdale. Hollis said the agenda is “presentation heavy” and “vendor light,” with lots of informational sessions about how UAS are being used and where there are opportunities for new applications.

“I think we only have 15 vendors, because that’s not really what this conference is about,” Hollis said. “This brings together decision-makers in business and government to talk about issues in the UAS industry.”

Commercial end-users — including miners, agronomists and other professionals — will present information on their uses of UAS. Other presenters will represent regional research institutions and will offer updates on the state of UAS technology and deployment strategies being developed at the university level. The Southwest’s best UAV companies will also be there to share their vision for the future, Hollis said.

Saran Nilsson, an attorney and assistant aviation law professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, will be participating at the Arizona UAS Summit & Expo. Other featured speakers include Dr. Joseph Cuffari, the Policy Advisor for Public Safety and Military Affairs for Arizona Gov. Ducey; Paul Brierley Executive Director of the Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture; Jeffrey Antonelli founder, Antonelli Law and founder one of the first Drone/UAS Practice Groups in the country in 2014; Mary Darling, CEO, Darling Geomatics; and Leonardo Garcia, Master Instructor of UAS Operations at the Unmanned Safety Institute.

“This will be as much about providing information as it will be about coming together as one voice for the UAS industry,” Hollis said. “This is an important conference for both its content and its networking opportunities,” she said.

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