Danish news crew visits Inyokern Airport

Team Cal UAS shows off capabilities, potential for unmanned systems

Danish news crew visits Inyokern AirportCAL UAS — The local effort to create a safe haven for the advancement of unmanned systems at Inyokern Airport has attracted the attention of a Danish news crew, which spent Monday with team members of Cal UAS in an effort to capture the existing technology and document how industry is waiting for the skies to be opened up to full development of those innovations.

“We got a call from one of our San Diego partners about the DR-Danish Broadcasting Corporation team, which was looking to demystify the unmanned industry’s mission to find test sites to move their technology forward,” said Eileen Shibley, executive director of Cal UAS.

“They talked about the concerns that a lot of people have relating to the use of drones in national defense, and how little is understood about the commercial industry — which really has nothing to do with those concerns, and has a world of potential that is completely stymied until we can sort out a sensible set of rules for them to operate under.”

Shibley said that while the Cal UAS mission to provide a national solution for RDT&E and an economic engine for the region has remained unchanged, Cal UAS has also become a part of a much larger endeavor to push through the existing lack of regulation, which has put operation — to say nothing of testing — applications from filming to surveillance to fire-suppression to cropdusting on the sidelines while the bureaucracy sorts itself out.

Cal UAS has already attracted an industrial presence at its IYK headquarters, where four tenants have moved into the Cal UAS lab.

“What I find fascinating is that over the last several months, the interest surrounding the unmanned world has spread from industry — who clearly stands to gain from the ability to test their creations — to people who just want to know more about it,” said Shibley.

“Once people start hearing about all the potential of this industry, it’s hard not to embrace it and get excited about how this will change our world.

“Think about the cell phone you had 10 years ago, compared to the smart phones we have today. None of us would be able to imagine back then what we can do now. I think drones are going to have that same moment, where we finally embrace that technology and see how it can change our lives for the better.”

Story First Published: 2013-12-18