In 2016, AUVSI New England expanded their position within the regional autonomous vehicle sector through increased activity of their members and Chapter Leadership. AUVSI New England provided keynote and Subject Matter Experts to a variety of conferences, tech-days, legislative forums, and their own chapter events. In the last year, there was Chapter presence at over 15 regional events, and the Chapter provided opportunities for AUVSI members to explore sectors beyond their core focus. Additionally, the Chapter is expanding its Advocacy efforts, and have hired their own PR/Advocacy firm. Overall, AUVSI New England is a stellar example for all of AUVSI’s Chapters, and continues to supersede their efforts every year.
2016 - SILICON VALLEY CHAPTER
The Silicon Valley Chapter has been one of AUVSI’s most active chapters in the last year. The chapter supported advocacy efforts at the local level and at the California Legislature. It hosted a Capitol Day in Sacramento for members to discuss with state lawmakers the benefits of unmanned systems technology. They also pointed out the dangers posed by bills that would restrict innovation and threaten the state’s rapidly growing unmanned systems business sector.
The Silicon Valley Chapter partnered with NASA on the Unmanned Traffic Management conference held at NASA Ames in July. The event was regarded as one of the most important of the year as it could lay the groundwork for a thriving and safe commercial industry. It proved to be very popular, drawing an attendance of more than 1,000. For three days, more than 70 speakers presented research and innovation aimed at UAS airspace integration. This important conference was a great success for the chapter and enabled them to start new programs that added value for the local membership. They also formed a scholarship process for students studying unmanned systems and robotics.
The chapter supported AUVSI’s initiatives to reach the startup community, a large segment of which is in Silicon Valley. They partnered with AUVSI on two events and assisted with speakers and promotion — the September 2015 San Francisco workshop “Starting up with UAS,” and the January 2016 webinar “Starting Up in the UAS Industry: How to Build a Successful Company.”
The Oklahoma chapter led grassroots efforts to defeat anti-UAS bills in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 state legislative sessions, keeping Oklahoma UAS friendly. The chapter leveraged AUVSI members, academia, stakeholders and mutual constituencies to contact their state representatives, visit the Capitol and other grassroots activities to succeed. The chapter has been involved in public education by writing several op-eds in state newspapers promoting the economic and societal benefits of unmanned systems in Oklahoma. As a result, they have become a reputable source of knowledge for unmanned systems to the media, state legislature and the Governor’s office.
Furthermore, the Oklahoma chapter was instrumental in delivering a significant contribution to the unmanned systems community by establishing a voice for the unmanned systems community in the United States Senate. Through their leadership, dedication and persistence, the chapter was able to enlist U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Joe Manchin (D-WVa.) to establish the Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Caucus.
In 2014, USA-OK hosted the Oklahoma Summit in Broken Arrow, and supported the “World’s Best Technology” (WBT) conference in Stillwater. Both events were a great success drawing nearly 180 attendees and focusing on the industry and political issues surrounding the future of UAS in Oklahoma. Speakers came from a broad cross-section of government and industry, and their efforts led to increased awareness of AUVSI in the state as well as gains in engagement and membership.
For the second year in a row, AUVSI's Cascade Chapter has set the benchmark for outstanding contributions to AUVSI and the unmanned systems community. Since August 2013, the Cascade Chapter has increased their membership 27 percent by engaging industry companies in Oregon and Washington and hosting two successful events focusing on the commercial and civil uses of UAS for first responders and agriculture as outlined in AUVSI's new market development initiative. The chapter has also worked successfully in educating legislators and decision makers in both Oregon and Washington to prevent future restriction on UAS technology. The chapter's success in rallying its membership to its calls for action comes from its strong communications commitment to its membership. The chapter regularly produces a newsletter to keep its membership informed of not only chapter activities, but also industry news and topics.
The chapter also has mentored newly formed AUVSI chapters around the country and is in the process of expanding their footprint to serve the AUVSI members in the state of Alaska. The chapter also played a key role in preparing and winning the Federal Aviation Administration test site bid for the successful Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii site. Finally, the chapter was instrumental in securing a grant of more than $800,000 from the state of Oregon for UAS companies.
Chartered in September 2009, the Cascade Chapter has already seen success in many areas. Its membership has grown more than 20 percent since 2012. It hosts two significant meetings annually, one in Oregon each fall and one in the Seattle area in the spring, allowing it to reach a larger percentage of its membership. More than 125 members from across the country participate in each of these conferences and small exhibitions. Its programs have included industry hot topics such as privacy, airspace integration, law enforcement use and regulatory affairs, and it has welcomed speakers from the Seattle Police Department, American Civil Liberties Union, industry and the U.S. Senate. With its event successes, it was able to award its first student scholarship this year, and more are planned.
The officers have met with local and national lawmakers several times to educate them on the great civilian and life-saving uses of unmanned systems and to influence favorable legislation for the industry, which will in turn benefit their members. They set the chapter standard for communication with members by sending a monthly newsletter highlighting all of the chapter activities as well as industry news and topics specific to their geographic area.
The largest active chapter outside the United States, now serving almost 400 members, the AUVSI Israel Chapter has been instrumental in raising the profile of AUVSI and its mission throughout the global unmanned systems community. They have successfully increased their chapter membership nearly 800% since they were chartered in late 2008.
The leadership and members of the Israel chapter regularly coordinate with industry in Israel to continue and expand their activities. They work regularly with AEAI (Association of Engineers and Architects in Israel) and recently began collaborations with both IEEE and ISQ (Israeli Society for Quality) for unmanned systems events.
In March 2012 the chapter hosted its second-ever event, the AUVSI Israel International Conference, and welcomed nearly 700 attendees and 50 exhibiting companies from more than 22 countries, along with top-tier speakers addressing a wide range of unmanned systems topics. The success of this event has translated into increased membership for AUVSI and a higher profile for unmanned systems around the world.
The Pathfinder Chapter is the recipient of the first-ever Chapter of the Year Award. The largest chapter serving nearly 400 members, the Pathfinder Chapter remains one of the most active and innovative chapters within AUVSI. Their March 2011 symposium “Roadmap to the Future” welcomed more than 300 attendees, saw a 33% increase in exhibitor participation as well as increased sponsorship dollars. The chapter converts the profits from the event into scholarship dollars for local students and support for STEM education and initiatives.
In May 2011, the Pathfinder Chapter supported the International Micro Air Vehicle (IMAV) competition and put up half of the total prize money that the 15 student teams from around the world were hoping to win. The competition was considered such a success; there are talks to bring it back to Alabama in future years.
The leadership and members of the Pathfinder chapter host regular monthly meetings. They are actively involved with AUVSI and its members across the country. When presented with opportunities to engage the unmanned systems and robotics community, they highlight the value and benefit of being a member of AUVSI. The Pathfinder Chapter serves as a mentor to other chapters and has often been referred to as the standard to which many chapters strive.