Arkansas: Drone Summit to Address Ag, Other Uses, March 12-13

    Researcher using drone to aid in weed management. Photo:

    If you’ve ever wanted to fly, here’s an opportunity to start getting your wings.

    The fourth annual Arkansas Drone/Unmanned Aircraft Systems Summit will take place March 12-13, with simultaneous events in Fayetteville and Little Rock. Registration is now open.

    Drone experts will cover topics such as Federal Aviation Administration compliance, homeland security regulations, how drones can aid in research and the role of drones in emergency response.

    The summit will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, March 12-13, with simultaneous sessions divided between the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences in Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service in Little Rock. The sessions will be simulcast between the two locations.

    Unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, were originally used in military applications, but have now become useful tools in commercial operations, research, recreational, agricultural and law enforcement applications. Richard Ham, associate director of the Master of Science in Operations Management and Engineering Management programs, facilitates the University of Arkansas’ unmanned aircraft systems efforts.

    Ham said the summit is a unique gathering of expertise.

    “There are not many events in the nation where you can find cutting-edge information presented by recognized experts in academe, agriculture, law enforcement, aviation and industry,” Ham said. “As the state’s land-grant university, we are chartered to serve the citizens of Arkansas and improve their lives, and this summit is a way to do that by distilling the information we teach on campus in our foundations, cyber security and remote sensing courses, and in new courses emerging around the state.”

    Dan Sui, vice chancellor for research and innovation, said unmanned aircraft play an increasingly important role in business development.

    “Drone technology is a developing movement being manifest in different platforms, infiltrating all aspects of business, in particular,” he said. “It is becoming an integral part of the supply chain structure. This results in huge implications for Arkansas business in multiple sectors. It is important for Arkansans to consider not only how products and services are being transported — by air, by land, or by water, but also what they are being used for.”

    Sessions will include the following focuses:

    • Research
    • Public Safety
    • Agriculture
    • Education — K12 and higher education

    There is no cost to attend, but registration is required here. Space is limited.

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