The California UAS Summit took place in San Diego on Tuesday, June 10. California is a Center of Excellence for the development, manufacturing, and testing of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). From industry leaders General Atomics, Kratos Defense Solutions, and Northrop Grumman’s Center for Unmanned Systems headquartered in San Diego, as well as The Boeing Company, and AeroVironment in Los Angeles County, major UAS has a history in California.
With the addition and emergence of numerous small and emerging throughout the state, like 3D Robotics and AirCover Solutions – California is the world leader in taking UAS into the commercial space, developing innovative systems and advancing capabilities in preparation for integration.
Thrilling images of flight were displayed courtesy of a San Diego company called Aerial Mob – one of the growing number of companies using new technology invented by the military, for the military. “It’s as big as our own imagination, really,”said Kevin Carroll of Connect. “The application for unmanned systems are endless.”
“A lot of people are familiar with UAS in some of the military applications,” said Treggon Owens of Aerial Mob. “What they may not be familiar with is the first responder and rescue, and agriculture. So, there’s a numerous amount of platforms – it really goes beyond what people usually think of a UAS. And that’s when you get into commercial applications.”
From A to Z, including agriculture: imagine seeding and fertilising crops with a remote-controlled aircraft. Border Patrol – imagine airborne surveillance. Communications – imagine cell phone transmitters that move along with you. The possibilities are endless, and industry leaders have targeted San Diego as a hotbed of manufacturing for this burgeoning new industry.
“And you’re looking at 17,000+ jobs in California. And these are very high-paying jobs, advanced manufacturing jobs. And then you look at the economic impact – it’s around $14 billion when you go out 10 years as they integrate the airspace.”
As Qualcomm spin-offs and Biotech and life sciences companies spawned in San Diego move to Texas and elsewhere, San Diego’s economy may find its saviour in this newer-than new industry – looking for people and plants with the know-how to build highly sophisticated aircrafts.
“It’s not going to supplant the existing world,” continued Carroll. “What it’s going to do is augment this world.”
Using military technology in our everyday lives, it’s really nothing new. In 1969, the Defense Department funded construction of a computer network called Arpanet between contractors and universities; we now know it as the internet.