Entira Inc., an agricultural marketing and management firm, has given the outcome of its conference showcasing the agricultural applications of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The Delta AgTech Symposium event, supported by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), took place July 7-8 at the Agricenter International in Memphis, Tenn., and was sponsored by FarmSpace Systems, Horizon Precision Systems and legal firm Husch Blackwell.
During the event, Entira announced it would be leading the formation of an AUVSI chapter in the Memphis/Mid-South area, with several companies already on board. This fall, Entira says, it will also launch a market research study focused on UAV use in agriculture, and the insight garnered at the conference will provide a solid platform for writing the study.
Nearly 250 people came to the conference, including crop consultants, agronomists, farmers, agribusinesses, researchers, and technology and data providers, along with UAV manufacturers.
The UAV flight demonstrations were the biggest crowd pleaser, Entira says. Attendees were also able to learn first-hand about Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and considerations from Jim Williams, manager of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office with the FAA.
‘When guidelines are established within the next year, this technology will move quickly from 'something that the ag community is curious about' to 'something that rapidly becomes another part of their daily operations,'’ says Mike Karst, senior partner at Entira. “Opportunities abound for companies that provide equipment and services for this emerging sector, and that's why we wanted to bring together as many players as we could to really educate and engage the industry on what's coming.’
Speakers included leaders from the FAA, FarmSpace Systems, AUVSI, Middle Tennessee State University, National Agricultural Aviation Association, NextGen Air Transportation Center at the Institute of Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University, PrecisionHawk, Crop Quest, RoboFlight Systems, Mississippi State University, and law firm Ausley McMullen.
Entira plans to hold another Delta AgTech Symposium in 2015 and says participants expressed high satisfaction with the conference. Kelli Polatty, event organizer and Entira associate, says there are companies already looking to sign up.