OKLAHOMA CO-FOUNDS AN INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM TO HELP DEVELOP UAS SECTOR

The purposes of the international consortium are collaboration, knowledge sharing and fostering industrial relationships between UAS clusters in the U.S., Canada and Europe (France and Wales, UK).

ALMA, Canada - February 27, 2014: Representatives from Oklahoma's Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) sector participated in the announcement of the creation of the International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites (ICATS), as one of its four founding members. The purposes of the international consortium are collaboration, knowledge sharing and fostering industrial relationships between UAS clusters in the U.S., Canada and Europe (France and Wales, UK). The intent is to expand to additional countries in the coming months. The ICATS occurred at the opening ceremony of the new facilities at Unmanned Aerial System Center of Excellence in Alma, Canada (www.cedalma.com/en). Representatives from Italy and Israel also attended.


UAS (also known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, RPAS) is the fastest growing area in aerospace. The upcoming event follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2013 between OSU-UML and Unmanned Aerial System Center of Excellence (UASCE) Alma, QC, which served as the starting point of the concept of wider international collaboration. Thereafter, similar agreements were signed between the parties and the West Wales Unmanned Vehicle Test Center in the United Kingdom and the UAV Test & Service Centre (CESA) in Bordeaux, France.

The aim of ICATS is to support the industry by enabling the development, testing and ultimate certification of UAS/RPAS to allow for their use in non-segregated airspace.

This will be achieved by:

*The sharing of information on operational safety, flight regulations and, when allowed to do so, actual operational experiences.

*Encouraging the industry to demonstrate and prove sub-system technology that will enable the necessary international standards for future UAS/RPAS construction to be created.

Working with their respective regulatory bodies to safely develop UAS/RPAS capabilities while continuing the operational confidence building process.

The test centers will support and guide the industry in the development, operations and certification of unmanned/remotely piloted systems as established by their respective regulating bodies. The centers will therefore accompany and funnel the innovation of the private sector while coordinating with government entities. The sharing of information on rules, regulations and actual test results between the test sites will consequently minimize the stovepipe approach that might otherwise prevent cross-border operations of unmanned systems. The test centers will help continue to bridge the gap between the establishment of regulations and actual operations.

The parties have agreed to cooperate and conduct technical, engineering, scientific, testing and evaluation activities. They will mutually develop processes and methodologies to understand and meet the needs for future UAS/RPAS technologies. In collaboration with other organizations (such as the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, AUVSI) the consortium parties will also work together to advocate for the UAS/RPAS sector with government authorities in each province/state, the federal government and their agencies/ministries and departments.

Areas of interest include: Safety, Certification, Airworthiness Standards, Compliance, Inspections, Cost Avoidance, and Protection of Privacy.

In terms of UAS/RPAS commercial applications, joint emphasis will be placed on, but not be limited to, life-saving technologies for first-responders (i.e.: for severe weather, wildfire/fire fighter use, other natural disasters and law enforcement), aerial imaging, precision agriculture, energy (e.g.: oil pipeline inspections, gas, electric transmission and distribution), wildlife monitoring, geomatics/surveying and geophysics.

Representatives from Oklahoma attending the USIC will include:

*Dr. Stephen McKeever, Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Technology

*Jon Dollan, OSU-University Multispectral Laboratory, Oklahoma Test Center

*Dyan Gibbens, PhD Candidate in Industrial Engineering and Management at OSU.

Governor Fallin has taken on an integral leadership role in helping develop and grow the UAS sector in the state. For example she established a UAS Advisory Council in 2011, which produced Oklahoma's Strategic Plan for the development of the UAS industry within the state.

For additional info on OK's UAS sector and/or scheduling interviews with Secretary McKeever, Jon Dollan, or Dyan Gibbens, please contact David Margolis at david@thepontgroup.com.

MEDIA CONTACT

David Margolis
The PONT Group
Tel: 917 331 4855
Email: david@thepontgroup.com

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