Unmanned systems conference to highlight existing infrastructure, opportunities for economic growth, job creation in Kansas
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
MANHATTAN -- A three-day conference in October is highlighting opportunities for the state of Kansas resulting from the emerging unmanned systems industry. According to a recent national economic report, Kansas could see nearly $3 billion channeled into its economy during the next decade with such an industry.
The Kansas Unmanned Systems Conference, Oct. 14-16, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan is a public event that focuses on unmanned systems and applications that include precision agriculture, energy, emergency response and the environment. It also will center on economic growth and job creation possibilities for the state. The conference features experts from participating universities in Kansas and representatives from state and national industries, who will share perspectives on current activities, challenges and opportunities.
"We're excited to highlight the potentials that this industry promises for Kansas," said Joel Anderson, development director at Kansas State University. "Kansas has a rich history of global leadership in the aviation industry, and we look forward to supporting opportunities for economic growth and job creation as well as featuring the rich history of the state's highly skilled technical workforce in agriculture, energy, the environment, education and manufacturing."
Anderson and his colleagues in the emerging Consortium for Kansas Unmanned Systems, or CKUS, helped organize the conference with a focus on the economic growth and job creation possibilities across the state. This ad hoc group is informally comprised of members of industry, government and academia, including Kansas State University, the University of Kansas and Wichita State University.
The informal group formed in early 2013 following the release of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International report, "The Economic Impact of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the United States." The report evaluated all 50 U.S. states and ranked Kansas as the country's No. 7 state to gain the most from unmanned systems by 2015. It projected that such an industry could bring more than $2.9 billion into the Kansas economy and create an estimated 3,716 jobs between 2015 and 2025.
Throughout its three-day schedule, the Kansas Unmanned Systems Conference will present and discuss topics that include airspace, policy, applications and industry-related considerations with the unmanned systems industry in Kansas. These topics will be recurring elements throughout the conference and will serve as focus areas for a series of discussion panels and round tables, Anderson said.
Some of the events for the Kansas Unmanned Systems Conference include:
Monday, Oct. 14
* 5-8 p.m. -- Registration, interactive exhibits, poster sessions and a social mixer.
Tuesday, Oct. 15
* 7:30 a.m. -- Check in, welcoming remarks.
* 8:30 a.m. -- A keynote by Mike Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International.
* 9 a.m. -- Consortium for Kansas Unmanned Systems members will introduce their strategic plan to develop an unmanned systems industry in Kansas.
* 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- Introductory presentations on precision agriculture; perspectives on international policy and standards, disaster management response and risk management.
* Following the introductory sessions will be a series of presentations focusing on airspace, policy and infrastructure; applications; design and development considerations; and industry-related applications and technologies. Panel discussions about these issues will follow.
* 7 p.m. -- Keynote by Randy Willis, air traffic control specialist with the Federal Aviation Administration's unmanned aircraft systems integration office.
Wednesday, Oct. 16
* 8 a.m. to noon -- An industry keynote, followed by round-table discussions about policy, airspace, opportunities for economic development and applications. It will conclude with presentations and outcomes from the round-table discussions as well as a discussion on next steps and possible ways to proceed.
Registration for the conference and a detailed agenda are available at http://www.k-state.edu/ckus/conference.
More information about the Consortium for Kansas Unmanned Systems is available at http://www.k-state.edu/ckus.
The Kansas Unmanned Systems Conference is sponsored by Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition; Herington UAS Flight Facility, or HUFF; AgJunction Inc.; Salina Area Chamber of Commerce; Salina Airport Authority; Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce; Overwatch Division of Avalon Risk Management; Solid Concepts; AgPixel; Shield Ag; AgEagle; ICE Corporation; AgriThority LLC; Kansas State University; University of Kansas and Wichita State University.