Charting the Course for Drones

 A presentation at the Syracuse Center of Excellence

May 5, 2017

Researchers and businesses see incredible potential in the growing Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry, but the emerging opportunities carry a lot of challenges. On May 3, more than 65 representatives from consulting, aerospace, engineering, insurance and imaging companies met with Syracuse University faculty along with representatives from government and law enforcement agencies at the Syracuse Center for Excellence. The Academic-Industry Forum in Central New York focused on the future of drones and other unmanned aircraft. It provided a platform for participants to share the latest technological developments in UAS and share visions for UAS in science and civilian applications at local and regional level. The forum was hosted by Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Dave Whitaker from Gryphon Sensors attended to hear about the latest research being undertaken by SU faculty and private compaies. It was an opportunity to meet and network with engineers and collaborators who are working on a variety of challenges.

“It’s not just technical,” said Whitaker. “It is business, it is legal.”

Whitaker also wanted to hear about the latest research from College of Engineering and Computer Science faculty.

“A lot of these ideas are years away but this is a long-term project,” said Whitaker.

Commercial drone kits are widely available and Vijay Srinvas from Assured Information Security said he was looking forward to providing researchers with a view of the current marketplace.

“We want to help find ways to apply the research and funding being done here to customer projects,” said Srinivas.

Participants agreed that enhanced collaboration is needed to develop a strategy for the development of a skilled workforce. “The main problem we face is talent acquisition,” commented Matt Snyder from Omnimesh, a Syracuse area startup and one of the six GENIUS NY grant recipients.

For law enforcement agencies, drones could be used in search and rescue operations, accident scene reconstruction and to gather information at crime scenes. Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler came to the forum knowing that Syracuse University has made a strong commitment to drone research.

“I think it is a good start to see what SU is doing, leading us in the technology field,” said Butler.

Butler also appreciated the expertise of the attendees at the forum. Drones have a lot of appeal, but Auburn Police and others want to be sure they have the most up-to-date interpretations of FAA regulations.

“Drones give us a different vantage point but we want to do it the right way,” said Butler.