A three-day conference on unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, starts Tuesday in Dayton. This is the third Ohio UAS conference, and the first one since the greater Dayton area was turned down in its bid to become a federal testing site for commercial drones; Mo McDonald with the Dayton Development Coalition says he still expects the industry to grow in Dayton.
“Ohio has maintained...the position that we’ve had over the past couple years,” said McDonald. “We have a very very strong research capability in this region, the Dayton region, and across the state of Ohio.”
The conference will be filled with government officials, including representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the body that regulates drones in U.S. airspace. The FAA is now taking bids from universities who want to house a national center for the study of commercial drones, and McDonald says local universities will be looking to hear more about that.
Some college students are planning a throw-down—or, more like a fly-down—to show off their drone programming skills. That’ll be indoors, of course, where it’s legal to fly commercial drones, so if you are inside the Dayton Convention Center this week, watch your head.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.