2017 Drone Focus Conference Wraps in Fargo

Drone Focus Conference 2017 Wrapped Up, Attendees Say Connections Were Made

FARGO, ND — At the 2017 Drone Focus Conference, community members and people from all over descended upon Fargo to hear from political leaders and those who are paving the way to make North Dakota the UAS capital of the world.

But, as the conference wrapped, it became about building a network of drone pioneers.

When it comes to UAS, it’s not only about seeing what’s new.

It’s about collaboration.

Officials with a Norwegian utility inspection company came to the event with the goal of working with software companies.

“We always keep an eye on strategic partnerships so we are aware of other software companies that might be helpful for the customer,” said Bjor Forsdal, who is president of Robot Aviation. “We’re always searching for partnering for those companies.”

But drones aren’t just for businesses.

Educators are using their drones as a learning tool for college classes such as land surveying and civil engineering.

“Last year, we bought a couple drones and we started implementing them in our classes,” said Seth Simonson, who is an assistant professor at NDSCS. “Learning how to collect data, process data, create maps, 3D models and things like that.”

Paul Gunderson, who is with a non–profit organization that focuses on revitalizing communities and their economies, said there were a few standouts of UAS at the conference.

“The demonstration yesterday of $1,100 in investment does [stand out],” said Gunderson. “With a Ford Focus out there and a fully automated steering and braking and distancing functions, it’s remarkable.”

Overall, people said this year’s conference was a success.

“It’s just amazing to have all of this collaboration here and everybody is so willing to work with each other,” said Simonson. “What we’re finding is that they’re people that are wanting to partner with each other and basically progress the industry along.”

From surveillance to education tools, it shows drones are becoming a part of everyday life.

Categories: Agriculture, Business, Community, Local News, News Landing Page, North Dakota News, Politics / Elections