Inside Unmanned Systems

FEB-MAR 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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36 unmanned systems inside February/March 2017 G ood timing makes everything easier. This January the new Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT) held its first meeting the day before the start of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a scheduling coin- cidence that may end up benefiting both. Launched by the U.S. Department of Trans- portation (DOT) just before the Obama Admin- istration handed over the reins, the ACAT was chartered to gather information and develop technical advice to "foster the safe deployment of advanced automated and connected vehicle technologies." DOT will look to them for recom- mendations to guide federal policy. The scope of their work, however, reaches far beyond the passenger cars that have captured so many imaginations. ACAT, according to that charter, is also to look at the policy and technology of "enhanced freight movement technologies, rail- road automated technologies, aviation automated navigation systems technologies, unmanned air- craft systems, and advanced technology deploy- ment in surface transportation environments." Moreover, their charter specifically directs them to look past the immediate future at "emerging or 'not-yet-conceived' innovations ACAT tackles a full menu of autonomous technology WASHINGTON VIEW by DEE ANN DIVIS, EDITOR Dee Ann Divis has covered GNSS and the aerospace industry since the early 1990s, writing for Jane's International Defense Review, the Los Angeles Times, AeroSpace Daily and other publications. She was the science and technology editor at United Press International for five years, leaving for a year to at tend the Massachuset ts Institute of Technology as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow. ROLL-CALL The U.S. Department of Transportation has launched the Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT) to give it expert advice on supporting and regulating driverless cars and a wide range other evolving sectors like drones. ACAT's 25 members include business executives and technology experts as well as representatives from labor, safety organizations, associations and, perhaps the most importantly, the US Conference of Mayors. THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION to ensure DOT is prepared when disruptive technologies emerge." "We recognize how much transportation technology is changing and evolving," then Secretar y of Transportation Anthony Foxx told the group, emphasizing that theirs was a multimodal mandate. "It's not just cars— it's everything. And our goal is to figure out what lines of symmetry exist between differ- ent modes of transportation in this area that we can work from as a department, but also to think about second, third and fourth order impacts of automation." That's a tall order but DOT has chosen 25 people from a noticeably broad range of per- spectives. There are representatives from firms of all sizes working on driverless and driver- assisted vehicles such as super-rail. But it's not all business. Nearly half the mem- bers are technology and policy experts, people representing insurance and labor interests and those with an insight into safety including Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. (See a complete list of members on page 38). Perhaps most importantly, ACAT's mem- bership includes two mayors: Mick Cornett,

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