The Drone/UAS Practice Group at Antonelli Law exhibited last week at the Ohio UAS Conference held in Dayton, Ohio. I was personally impressed with the number of very interesting people who attended and exhibited there.
For example, one terrific conversation I had was with a gentleman who had worked on the Global Hawk, and who also reacquainted me with the work scientists were doing on dark matter and string theory. I was also impressed with the large number of active and retired military personnel who attended, which is fitting given that Dayton is a true center of aerospace industry and research, and a prime location given that Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is located there.
But I also met people who were on the leading edge of the civilian development of commercial drones (sUAS), like Dr. Andrew Shepherd, Director of the Unmanned Aerial Systems program at Sinclair Community College, which recently announced an affiliation with Ohio State for UAS data analytics and geospatial precision agriculture programs. The companies that are now broadening from purely Department of Defense contracting into the commercial market, and the startups that are beginning as commercial UAS providers from the outset, will both need workers with specialized training.
Excellent academic foundations with true partnerships and a path to industry jobs should benefit American workers. As was made abundantly clear at the Illinois Aerial Precision Ag Show this summer, big data is expected to overshadow the aircraft production in UAS. Programs tailored to educate American students now will help employers fill those data analyst jobs without having to resort to offshoring or expensive and unpatriotic over-reliance (my opinion) on HB-1 and other visa hiring programs.
Folks from the insurance world were present too, and assured me that numerous carriers were willing to underwrite UAS operators. That’s a crucial piece of the business case puzzle, because for all the media talk of Amazon and Google getting into the UAS game, it will more likely be the thousands of small and mid size players and wanna be players that will actually make this thing an industry. Getting into the high risk high reward UAS market without adequate insurance coverage is a non-starter.
As for the Drone/UAS Practice Group at Antonelli Law, we are looking forward to helping more clients with their FAA Section 333 petitions for exemption to fly commercial UAS. We published a newsletter recently about Section 333 which is available here, and are looking forward to helping shape the UAS industry response to the forthcoming FAA sUAS NPRM.
If you would like to contact the Drone/UAS Practice Group please call Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the following contact form and we will contact you promptly.