When Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, it set the clock ticking toward the day when unmanned aircraft systems must be integrated into the national airspace. The target is Sept. 30, 2015, now just a little more than two years away.
That fast-approaching deadline has created a new intensity in discussions of unmanned systems, says Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
“All of a sudden everybody realized, ‘OK, this is going to be real now,’” he says. “This technology we’ve kind of known about and we’ve seen in science fiction and we’ve seen on television and we’ve read about in Popular Mechanics and all these other places. Now all of a sudden, it’s no longer just a research effort, it is actually going to be used in application.”
For AUVSI, which is devoted to advancing unmanned systems and robotics, there’s a lot to do before the Congressional deadline, but Toscano says his group’s biggest near-term priority is education and communication.
Until now, unmanned systems — whether air, ground or maritime — have been primarily used by the military. Military people understand how the systems work and what the advantages are, but Toscano says that as unmanned systems spread into civil and commercial applications, those sectors need to be educated about the technology.
To read the full story in Business of Robotics click here.