CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Representatives from government, public safety and private aerospace companies learned more about the offerings of Texas’ only federally-designated test site for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) at the ‘Range-Users Roundup’ at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi on April 8 and 9.
“The sky truly is the limit,” said Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President of Research, Commercialization and Outreach at A&M-Corpus Christi. “The Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation will be the place to assist a variety of companies as they safely test, research and develop the many ways unmanned technology can change the way we live.”
The Range-Users Roundup comes as Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi continues preparations as the test-site operator for one of only six test sites designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help determine how to safely integrate unmanned technology into the national airspace.
Michael Toscano, President and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the leading organization for support and promotion of unmanned systems, addressed the group on the anticipated economic impact of that designation.
“It’s exciting to see more and more companies, from retailers to technology giants like Facebook, continue to realize the potential of unmanned aircraft systems,” said Toscano. “The increased attention our industry is receiving demonstrates the wide range of applications of UAS technology. Whether it is delivering packages, surveying farms or providing internet access, UAS can help businesses by saving time, saving money and, most importantly, saving lives. We’re excited to see a growing number of companies investing in the technology and developing innovative uses that will help to change industries and improve lives.”
An AUVSI study shows an anticipated economic impact of $6.5 billion in Texas by 2025, creating about 8,250 high-tech, high-paying jobs.
The event included presentations about the 11 ranges within the Texas test site that are aligned with projected markets for unmanned technology; how to schedule range use and coordinate research and development of technology or applications; and a virtual tour of Chase Field in Beeville. State agencies and industry officials participated in panel discussions on UAS uses in their respective fields.
A&M-Corpus Christi, Camber Corporation, and Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station partnered to host the event.