RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- The future of unmanned vehicles in Nevada may still be up in the air. Aviation leaders from across the state have gathered at UNR to discuss how to grow the industry in a hurry.
Officials inside the Joe Crowley Student Union said unmanned autonomous systems is the future of Nevada aviation, but the state needs to get started on this new industry and soon.
They are expected to bring billions of dollars to Nevada, but where do we begin? "If we do not develop or we are not thinking about it today, this type of technology, this type of capability is going to go off shore," said Keynote Speaker Dr. Ken Witcher.
The Sixth Annual Pathways to Aviation Speaker's Forum focuses on the future of flight. Dr. Witcher said local science and technology leaders need to incorporate UAV's into existing business. Then it creates a new workforce to build off.
"We have the talent, we just have to get it focused, we got to create these very clear pathways to aviation like we are going to talk about tonight that is going to allow this workforce to enter the industry," said Dr. Witcher.
"Unmanned systems actually gives us the ability to step ahead of the worldwide competition," said Drone America President Mike Richards.
Reno's Drone America specializes in medical supply delivery and cinematography-based UAV's. Richards said the industry is primed to take off, thanks to support from the state, but still waits to see his drones take flight. "Do something that Americans and Nevadans particularly can be proud of, and create an economic impact in the country, and particularly in this state."
"You have a mobile capability that's going to change, really, the way we communicate, the way we operate, the way we think about what we do every day," Dr. Witcher added.
UAV's can be incorporated into a variety of existing businesses in the air, on the ground and underwater. Firefighting, search and rescue, and law enforcement aid drones are three of many being designed here in Nevada. Needless to say, officials are anxious to get this industry rolling.