Drone Panels Take Off at CES 2016

LAS VEGAS—UAVs, or drones as they are commonly referred as, continue to be a hot topic for the industry, as three separate panels took place on Thursday, Jan. 7. Discussions ranged from policies and practices for drones, low-altitude airspace, and the benefits of drones.

Marke Gibson, a senior advisor of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integrations for the FAA, joined drone experts on the panel “Rules for Drones: Best Policies and Practices.” Among the topics during the panel were the FAA’s recent drone registration task force and how it can serve as a model of collaboration for future policy regarding drones, and responsible uses of drones and the role of education to support responsible use. Panelist Nancy Egan of 3D Robotic also called on drone enthusiasts to educate local lawmakers on drone technology.

Representatives from Google, Amazon, Intel, the NASA Ames Research Center and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP then took part in the panel “Managing Low-Altitude Airspace for Safety and Privacy.” Those from Amazon and Intel stressed that a UAS Traffic Management system needs to be created to help reduce traditional vehicular traffic and allow for more commercial uses of drones, though Google’s Dave Vos said the main issue is avoiding the identification of problems that do not need a UTM system to work.

Finally, the “Use Cases: Amazing Drone Benefits” panel focused on the social benefits that drones have had around the world. In addition to providing photos and videos, drones have been used to help deliver supplies to regions where traditional methods of delivery are not able to go.

CES 2016 runs from Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas.