The new Tech Expo at the 2016 MACo Summer Conference began with a session and demonstration on drones on August 17. In “Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No – It’s a Drone!” county officials heard from several Aviation Systems Engineering (ASEC) personnel on the benefits, challenges, and possible county applicable uses of drones over a boxed lunch.
ASEC Director of Commercial UAS (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) Brent Kavon discussed: (1) the new Federal Aviation Administration requirements for drones that will take effect August 29; (2) Maryland’s drone laws; (3) drone technology, sensor, and operational considerations; and (4) how to start up a drone program. Kavon stressed that drones can assist in project review, building and bridge inspection, public and fire safety, tourism promotion, geographic information system (GIS) mapping, and ecological monitoring (habitat health, algae blooms, invasive species tracking, etc.).
As a demonstration, ASEC Business Development Manager Bryan Barthelme briefly flew a drone with a camera that captured the audience and streamed it live to Youtube.
The session was moderated by St. Mary’s County Commissioner John O’Connor.