The Mid-America Defense Conference, a two-day event showcasing the rapidly growing field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and robotics, wrapped up October 31. here, at the Mid-America Science Park (MASP) Worldwide Communications & Conference Center in Scottsburg, Ind. The conference, presented by the National Center for Complex Operations (NCCO), included senior-level government and military officials, industry leaders and academic partners, who came together to discuss where this dynamic growth sector is today, and to gain a deeper understanding of where it’s headed.
Guests and presenters from 17 states, 12 academic institutions and numerous industry partners visited vendor displays and heard subject matter experts from a wide range of disciplines talk about the developing high tech applications of UAV’s, or drones, like those currently in use by the U.S. military in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They also learned about Southern Indiana’s proximity to several major military installations and how that proximity means huge growth potential for the region—particularly in light of the fact that Indiana and Ohio recently announced a partnership to pursue one of the six Unmanned Aerial Vehicle test sites being awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In fact, Indiana is one of the few areas with restricted airspace and a runway that can handle UAV systems.
National Center for Complex Operations Executive Director Matt Konkler says Indiana lawmakers and industry leaders are focusing on high tech development with a goal of growing the state’s defense business. Estimates are that as much as $95 billion will be spent in the unmanned systems industry over the next eight years. If the region can garner even a small percentage of this total, it will mean new businesses and hundreds of jobs.