On Wednesday September 22, the Congressional Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Caucus hosted the 2010 Technology Fair in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building. The Caucus’ third event for 2010 focused on the full spectrum of unmanned systems from innovative hardware to the end-users in defense, law enforcement, and scientific communities.
Hosted by Representatives Buck McKeon and Alan Mollohan, the fair featured 19 different exhibits featuring the best of industry technologies. Throughout the fair, visitors were treated to flight demonstrations, interactive displays, and hands-on education opportunities.
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For example, NASA representatives demonstrated how they were using UAVs to chart and predict weather patterns. Boeing brought a Scan Eagle UAV which has been vital to providing information to units in Operation’s Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom since 2005. Northrop Grumman debuted test footage of the Unmanned- Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), expected to be the first naval UAV based on an aircraft carrier, performing test operations in the California desert, and FLIR Systems demonstrated infrared sensors manufactured for unmanned aerial systems.
West Virginia University and Weber State University of Utah were also were on hand to provide visitors an opportunity to discuss UAV education, research, design, and development programs.
Another highlight was a demonstration of the Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicle by creators AirRobot US and the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Department who demonstrated how small UAVs can be used by law enforcement to survey a neighborhood before serving a high-risk search warrant, ensuring the safety of police officers in a potentially dangerous situation.
In his opening remarks, Congressman McKeon underscored the timeliness of the event stating, “[while] Both the size of our Caucus and the significance of our events have grown over the past year, our mission remains the same: to advocate for unmanned systems and ensure we continue to invest in the future. During these tough economic times, unmanned technology is one of the few consistent and dynamic areas of growth in American industry.
“Not a day goes by without unmanned systems appearing in national and international news. Reports of “drone strikes” in our fight against terrorists regularly fill the news, but less well know is how our scientists are using unmanned systems to track and predict weather patterns, how Customs and Border Protection are using unmanned systems to protect our borders, or how local law enforcement uses drones to keep our neighborhoods and police officers safe.”