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Our CEO, Kraettli L. Epperson, recently had the privilege of attending the FAA’s Drone Symposium and AAM Summit and reports that the future of unmanned systems looks brighter than ever.

Hosted by the FAA in collaboration with AUVSI, this event combined the eighth drone symposium with the inaugural AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) Summit.

Key Takeaways

The FAA Drone Symposium provided an abundance of insights and discussions about the future of the drone industry. Here are our CEO’s key takeaways from the Symposium:

  1. Emphasis on Collaboration: The symposium underscored the importance of collaboration among regulators, manufacturers, and operators. A harmonious relationship between these stakeholders is paramount for the success and evolution of the drone industry.
  2. Data-Driven Approach to Regulations: The FAA’s commitment to using operational data to inform future regulations ensures that they are both effective and practical. This data-driven approach is a testament to the FAA’s dedication to working closely with industry stakeholders.
  3. Safety and Education: Safety remains the top priority, with the FAA focusing on educating UAS for ATC managers across the U.S. This standardized approach to UAS operations requests emphasizes the FAA’s commitment to integrating drones safely into the national airspace.
  4. Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Operations: BVLOS operations were a dominant theme, with the FAA streamlining approvals and hinting at a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on BVLOS. The innovative use of “summary grants” and “templating” is revolutionizing this aspect of drone operations.
  5. UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Initiatives: The UTM system, described as the “Highway in the Sky,” is a collaborative effort to ensure safety in low-altitude drone operations. Updates on real-world trials and the announcement of a UTM Key Site in Dallas underscore the importance of managing increased UAS volume.
  6. Counter-UAS Measures and Technologies: The symposium touched on the advancements and challenges in counter-UAS technologies. Insights from testing at various airports will play a crucial role in shaping future counter-UAS strategies.
  7. Remote ID Implementation and Compliance: The buzz around Remote ID’s practical implications, including the surprising revelation about Android phones, highlights the rule’s pivotal role in enhancing safety and security in drone operations.
  8. Detect and Avoid (DAA) Standards: Although the FAA hasn’t formally adopted any DAA standard, the focus on DAA in recent requests for comments indicates its significance in future regulations.
  9. Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Summit: Insights into the FAA’s vision for AAM and its potential impact on the UAS market were provided, broadening the scope of discussions beyond drones.
  10. Non-Profit Sector’s Potential: The untapped potential of non-profits in leveraging drone technology for missions like wildlife conservation and disaster management was acknowledged, emphasizing the diverse applications of drones.
  11. Federal Recognition for Drone Pilots: Efforts to recognize ‘drone pilot’ as a standalone occupation under the federal Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) could revolutionize drone education and industry recognition.
  12. Glimpse into the Future of Unmanned Systems: The event offered a comprehensive look into the future of unmanned systems, showcasing the latest advancements in drone technology, including discussions on drone-on-drone collisions and urban integration challenges.
Panel discussion on using UAS and drone infrastructure to improve economic development.

Why These Topics Matter:

The discussions and insights from the symposium are crucial for several reasons:

  • Safety and Regulation: As drones become more integrated into our daily lives, ensuring their safe operation is paramount. The discussions around BVLOS and DAA standards are steps towards creating a safer airspace for both manned and unmanned aircraft.
  • Economic Impact: The drone industry has the potential to revolutionize several sectors, from delivery services to agriculture. Ensuring streamlined regulations and clear guidelines will help businesses leverage drone technology to its fullest potential.
  • Innovation: The symposium highlighted the continuous innovation in the drone industry. From new technologies for detect and avoid systems to advancements in UTM, the industry is continuously evolving.

In conclusion, the FAA Drone Symposium was indeed a melting pot of ideas, innovations, and collaborations. It painted a promising and complex picture of the future of the drone industry, reflecting the dynamism and potential that make this field so thrilling. The advances being made in aviation and flying safety are a testament to the collective efforts of industry experts, innovators, and regulators, all converging to write the next exciting chapter of aviation.

About the FAA Drone Symposium and AAM Summit

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) co-hosted the 8th Annual FAA Drone Symposium and the first-ever Advanced Air Mobility Summit this summer. The two events brought together representatives from the FAA, other government agencies, international aviation experts, industry leaders, and academia. to discuss the latest information and advancements related to the diverse uses of drones and the safe integration of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aircraft, like air taxis, into the National Airspace System. The theme was “Time to Accelerate” and focused on how the FAA continues to safely integrate drones while creating a regulatory framework to accelerate advanced operations such as beyond visual line of sight and UAS Traffic Management (UTM).

Read more about the FAA Drone Symposium and AAM Summit here: HOME – Drone Symposium 2023 (

About Vigilant Aerospace Systems

Vigilant Aerospace is the leading developer of detect-and-avoid and airspace management software for uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS or drones). The company’s product, FlightHorizon, is based on two NASA patents and uses data from multiple sources to display a real-time picture of the air traffic around a UAS and to provide automatic avoidance maneuvers to prevent collisions. The software is designed to meet industry technical standards, to provide automatic safety and to allow UAS to safely fly beyond the sight of the pilot. The software has won multiple industry awards and the company has had contracts and users at NASA, the FAA, the U.S. Department of Defense and with a variety of drone development programs. Visit our website at

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