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NATCA Representatives at AUVSI Xponential Conference and FAA Drone Symposium

From April 25-28, Executive Vice President Andrew LeBovidge, Director of Safety and Technology Tom Adcock, National UAS Rep Jimmy Smith, and National UAM/UTM Rep Will Hutson represented NATCA at the Xponential Conference in Orlando, Fla. hosted by the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

Xponential has been likened to the massive “consumer electronics show (CES), but for the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) world. AUVSI describes the event as the “place to join the unmanned systems community including users, technologists, and policymakers to collaborate on ideas, share lessons learned, and build new partnerships.” Xponential included daily keynotes, breakout sessions of various sizes and topics, as well as a large expo area with hundreds of industry vendors who showcased products, services, and informative briefings.

The event kicked off with a keynote address that emphasized the need for strong stakeholder collaboration to fully integrate uncrewed operations worldwide. As the event was held in Florida, the presenters also highlighted some successful UAS activities in the state:

  • Florida Power and Light (FPL) operated over 125,000 UAS flights in 2021 – many of which utilized a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) waiver.
  • CVS, in partnership with the United Parcel Service (UPS) Flight Forward initiative, has begun delivering prescription medications via drones to a retirement community in Florida with over 135,000 residents.
  • Also, the Florida Department of Transportation is currently testing 46 different autonomous solutions across multiple platforms via Florida’s Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Initiative.

NATCA joined breakout sessions on a variety of topics of interest throughout the event including:

  • How federal, state, and local governments are working together to overcome implementation challenges
  • Advanced Air Mobility: getting ready for day one operations
  • A model for approval of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations using corridor-UTM services
  • Capturing UAV Risk
  • UTM to UAM: Evolving Standards to meet new airspace integration challenges
  • NASA is defining the future of air traffic management

On April 28, the FAA hosted a large, co-located event known as the FAA Drone Symposium. NATCA attended the event which focused on integration challenges, the recently released recommendations from the beyond visual line of sight advisory and rulemaking committee (BVLOS ARC), the Air Traffic Organization’s (ATO) role in UAS activities, and standardization efforts with global aviation organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

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