Loudoun @ AUVSI: Unmanned Systems Will Bridge the Human Gap

unmanned systems Brandon Ferris AUVSI

For years, unmanned systems have been regarded as a way to create distance between people, whether through military, law enforcement or medical applications that keep the operator safe. Contactless. Efficient. Decreased accidents. Emotionless logistics. 

While these factors will always be a consideration for UAVs, the future of unmanned technology will be in bringing humans together and bridging the geographic distance between people. 

Lao Tzu was right when he said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” With the possibilities in the unmanned space, it may also begin with the push of a button. 

If you agree and are planning to attend AUVSI Xponential 2021 in Atlanta, I hope we can connect before, during or after the conference. Please send me an invitation on LinkedIn, call or email me today.

As a relative newcomer to the unmanned systems industry, please allow me to introduce myself in the way that only a comic book fan can: with a brief origin story.  

It started when I enlisted in the United States Air Force as an information management apprentice.  This career field focused on the accumulation of information and presenting it in a manner that supported mission accomplishment. As my military career progressed, I cross-trained into contracting, which compounded my skillset into acquiring goods and services to support multiple agencies and commands throughout the world.   

When I decided to transition out of the military, I found a soft landing in business development and program management. For the next five years, I helped lead my clients to new government contracts and build fruitful partnerships with other companies. When this position came open with Loudoun Economic Development in Spring 2020, I jumped at the opportunity to build a world-class unmanned ecosystem just outside of Washington, D.C. 

My position is to attract, develop and support businesses in the highly specialized manufacturing, logistics and aviation sectors. Given Loudoun’s stellar reputation in the technology, aerospace and agricultural sectors, it’s building on existing strengths to embrace the future of drone technology, both hardware and software. 

Globally, the UAV market is estimated to be valued at approximately $27.4 billion in 2021 and is expected to continue to grow to $58.4 billion by 2026, with a calculated annual growth rate of 16.4%.  For a county focused on building its specialized manufacturing base with a skilled workforce, UAV manufacturing is a natural fit. 

Virginia is home to the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, one of six FAA-designated UAS test sites, and two NASA facilities focusing on UAS research, Langley Research Center and Wallops Flight Facility, cementing its position as a frontrunner in this industry. Further, Virginia is one of nine participants in the FAA’s BEYOND program, which continues the work of the highly successful UAS Integration Pilot Program by focusing on enabling routine, scalable operations beyond visual line of sight. 

Here in Loudoun County, Va., we are home to the national capital region’s only commercial drone testing facility, Xelevate, where businesses can test, train, develop, innovate, and demonstrate new tactics, techniques, and procedures critical to business growth and customer support.  

Couple that with easy access to multiple Fortune 500 and Inc 5000 companies, and the infrastructure, resources, and educational partners that business expansion, Loudoun is the natural choice for unmanned systems development. 

Now, more than a year into my role, I couldn’t be more excited to attend AUVSI Xponential 2021 and meet you. Just like the unmanned opportunity to bring people closer together, Loudoun is dedicated to bringing together the best innovation with the most powerful decision-makers, utilizing one of the most educated workforces in the world. 

If this sounds like something your business could benefit from, then I can’t wait to meet you in Atlanta. Connect with me today on LinkedIn. 

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