UND showcases the importance of drones during UAV Technology USA conference
By: Jeannie Kopstein
ARLINGTON, Va. (KVRR) – Drone technology is the topic of discussion and display at the first UAV Technology USA conference.
University of North Dakota President Andrew Armacost chaired the event.
“We thought this was just an extraordinary opportunity for UND to be part of the national discussion on UAV technology. It really gives us a chance to engage with industry partners, but also many of the nation’s senior military leaders who are involved in the development of UAV technology,” Armacost said.
UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace and aviation has been a leader in flight training worldwide
North Dakota itself, home to several Air Force bases and aerial testing sites, has been a pioneer in UAV technology development in the United States.
“We’ve been at it for 15 years in North Dakota, so we really have a head start on the rest of the country. We were the first test site in the country for unmanned aviation. We were the first with night flight. We were the first with high altitude. We were the first with beyond visual line of sight for large UAS,” North Dakota Senator John Hoeven said.
“North Dakota was the first one chosen because of the criteria that we had, the intellectual, academic, cultural airspace climate assets. And, so, we were kind of a natural fit for this kind of testing. We really have quite a technology innovation culture in North Dakota and as well, the University of North Dakota has been well known for that,” North Dakota Senator Cramer said.
The conference featured speakers from around the world discussing technology for military unmanned aerial vehicles
“These conferences bring in all the military to civilian applications, large UAV, small, all different companies from all over the globe. And it’s a chance for them to work together to find opportunities to collaborate and advance the technology,” Hoeven said.
“What this conference does for North Dakota is it puts them first of all on a national stage in an arena where we belong on the national stage, but it also brings national ideas and credibility to North Dakota. And I think that’s where the real opportunity exists,” Cramer said.
“What we hope to get out of this, as a university, are close connections to the presenters and their organizations so that we can take the steps necessary to build collaboration and to make sure that UND and the state of North Dakota is involved in supporting our nation’s defense,” Armacost said.
The two-day event boasted more than 120 attendees. While the status of next year’s conference remains uncertain, the University of North Dakota hopes to remain a leader in the space.