Equipment & Gear, News

Flying High: Commercial UAV Expo Americas Kicks Off Next Week

Editor’s note: Commercial UAV Expo Americas is happening this week in Las Vegas. JEMS Editor Emeritus A.J. Heightman is there and will be reporting on this important and innovate expo from the EMS side.

Leading organizations within the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) sector are teaming together on Tuesday, October 29 to help kick-off National Drone Safety Awareness Week, a week-long series of events coordinated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation designed to help educate the public about drone safety and bring awareness of the many benefits of commercial and public safety drone operations.

Related: Drones in Public Safety

The kickoff event, held in coordination with Commercial UAV Expo Americas and hosted by Sundance Media Group, DRONERESPONDERS, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), and KSNV NBC 3 News Las Vegas, is based on the theme “Drones are Now” and will feature a drone-based crime scene investigation simulation combined with a news gathering drone flight – with all aircraft operating simultaneously, and safely in common airspace to achieve their specific missions.

“What better way to kick-off the FAA’s National Drone Safety Week than by demonstrating how public safety and commercial drone operations can safely work alongside each other in close proximity,” said Chief Charles Werner (ret.), Director of DRONERESPONDERS. “This type of operation will be coming to cities and towns around the world in the very near future.”

Related: One Step Closer to Drones in EMS

Mickey Osterreicher, General Counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, agrees.

“With the increased use of drones by both public safety agencies and the media, remote pilots will need to understand how to operate these aircraft safely and cooperatively with one another at incident scenes”, says Osterreicher. “This demonstration will mark the start of an evolving conversation, with safety and awareness being the overarching premise.”

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The kick-off demonstration, which will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., will feature a night forensic scene aerial capture workflow demonstration by Sundance Media Group, FoxFury and Pix4D highlighting how two different drones and related technology can be used to capture forensic evidence for law enforcement use. Halfway through the aerial collection, a news crew will launch an additional drone simulating a news gathering mission of the incident.  Together, three drones will operate together safely in relatively confined airspace as they each accomplish their assigned objectives.

Attendees will be able to watch the dual operations live on site.  A video of the demonstration will also be released the following week in conjunction with National Drone Safety Awareness Week.

“This event will demonstrate how drones can be used safely and effectively – even at night – in everyday operations for both public safety and commercial operators,” said Lisa Murray, Group Director for Commercial UAV Expo Americas. “We are thrilled to help unite these incredible partners to showcase the exciting potential of commercial drone technology and drones for good in conjunction with National Drone Safety Awareness Week.”

A full schedule of events can be found here.

‘Historic Agreement’

Building on the May 2018 Alberta-Nevada MOU on technology collaboration and trade in unmanned systems, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (SAIT) Centre for Innovation and research in Unmanned Systems (CIRUS) chose this venue to sign a historic agreement to form a bilateral Center of Excellence for applications of unmanned systems in energy and mining.

“This is an exciting partnership that allows us to strengthen our international collaboration and build upon the May 2018 Alberta-Nevada Memorandum of Understand (MOU) with Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, ARIS’ UAV Group.  This also provides the opportunity to strengthen our research and development and operational deployment of technology in critical industrial areas such as the oil and gas and mining industries and create additional opportunities to help grow Nevada small businesses and attract international business to the State of Nevada,” said Chris Walach, Executive Director of the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems and the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site.      

“The partnership between NIAS and ARIS’ UAV Group at SAIT will lead to opportunities to further develop leading edge practices that will form industry norms in areas such as UTMs, Methane Detection, Gamma Radiation, Sensor Development and Applications to help move the industry forward.  Our teams bring together the ability to do work in both hot and cold climates for industry partners, governments, individual inventors, and entrepreneurs in this exciting area of science and engineering.” said Rick Tofani, Director of Applied Research and Innovation Services, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.