Earlier this week, two of Husch Blackwell’s UAS team members, Matt Grant and Tom Gemmell, attended the inaugural Delta AgTech Symposium sponsored by Entira with support from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), which took place at the Agricenter International complex in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Symposium offered an early glance at the use of UAS to support precision farming. Attendees included farmers, UAS manufacturers and operators, precision farming consultants and seed companies.
Presentations highlighted the projection that “[t]he economic impact of the integration of UAS into the NAS will total more than $13.6 billion the first three years of integration and will grow sustainably for the foreseeable future, cumulating to more than $82.1 billion between 2015 and 2025.” (Available here)
Of particular interest to the agricultural industry, precision agriculture is projected to comprise approximately 90% of the known potential markets for UAS and account for a market share at least 10 times the public safety market.
A highlight of the Symposium was a presentation by Jim Williams, who heads the FAA’s UAS Integration Office. In addition to carefully handling pointed questions from attendees focused on the FAA’s perceived delay in implementing rules to allow the UAS market to launch commercially, Mr. Williams provided a look at the internal workings at the FAA and the current procedures available to companies interested in getting a “jump start” on the commercial use of UAS through Certificates of Authority (COAs). He clarified, the commercial use of UAS through COAs is now available to commercial operations as we have recently seen in Alaska, in addition to the Section 333 exemption process, areas in which Husch Blackwell’s UAS/UAV Team have expertise.
Stay tuned for further developments and regulations/rulemaking governing the anticipated expansion of UAS into the agriculture and other industries.