Letter from the President
August 21, 2017
Once again, summer has rolled by fast this year for the Directors and staff of AUVSI New England.
Robotica 2017 seems like the very recent past, but the calendar belies the truth of 60+ days gone by. We had a great show and all participants were pleased with the new location and felt the structure of the event is really starting to come together. 2018 will mark the 4th year for Robotica, and planning is getting under way. Keep an eye out for news on chapter activities like Robotica 2018, the Autonomous Vehicle Summit, and the re-launch of the popular “Lunch & Learn” series of social meetings.
In July, I was appointed to the president’s position for the chapter. Joining me as new executive officers for the chapter are Rachel LeBlanc (Vice President) and Peter Wurman (Secretary). Remaining on the team is Lynne Oliver (Treasurer). We begin our terms by first recognizing and thanking AUVSI New England’s outgoing officers, particularly our hard-working and dedicated former president, Dr. Waseem Naqvi. Waseem is a thought leader in our industry and at the national level with AUVSI. We appreciate his continued contributions to our chapter.
Perhaps a brief introduction is due. Having served on the board since 2015, I am not what you might call an unknown, but formalities are there for a reason.
I joined AUVSI in 2013 as I began my entry into the autonomous vehicle marketplace. My firm, UAS Development, began as an aerial cinematography service company, providing film and camera crews with a regional source for drone based production. Through the years, we have expanded our operations to include UAV systems analysis and development, supporting sensor and other ancillary component developers as they seek mission specific UAVs to provide efficient and safe operations for testing and program delivery. Our pilots have transitioned from operating under our now defunct Section 333 exemption to Part 107 certified operators, relieving a fair bit of frustration and restriction. Much of the credit for this improvement is due to AUVSI’s role in working with the FAA to model the Part 107 regulations to support safe and efficient growth for commercial and industrial unmanned aerial systems to meet their promise.
I have served as chapter Secretary for the last 15 months (or so) and have found my fellow board members to be motivated, creative and well versed in a variety of industry silos. Working alongside some real veterans of the autonomous systems market has truly helped grow my business, and myself professionally.
And that is what a trade association like AUVSI is meant to do for all its members. You joined AUVSI to help grow your industry connections, sharpen your understanding of both business and technology trends, and to garner support as you face ever faster changing markets and regulatory landscapes.
To advance our mission and foster a supportive regulatory climate for our members, it’s essential that our voice is heard among lawmakers and the media. This year we testified on the merits of autonomous vehicle technology before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Transportation and met privately with the Chairman. We testified on legislation relative to state regulation of airspace for unmanned aircraft systems before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary and submitted similar written testimony to the Joint Committee on Public Safety. We expect legislative action on several fronts over the course of the current session and will continue to inform legislators and key policy makers on issues important to our growing industry.
We also discussed innovation and the economic contributions of the unmanned systems sector on the New England Cable News Nightly Business Report.
We will continue to look for ways to inform and educate these important audiences on the transformational opportunity our sector is bringing to the New England region. We have a great story to tell and it begins with our members.
AUVSI New England