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Can the drone industry be a source of new jobs for rural America?

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Dr. Tulinda Larsen is Executive Director of  Deseret UAS, a Utah nonprofit created to promote economic development through reserach and testing of unmanned aerial systems.   Tulinda has more than 40 years experience as an aviation economist.  She’s an Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at Embry Riddle Aernautical University. Her books, The Drone Hobbyist and a Trustworthy Drone Business are top sellers on Amazon.  Tulinda is also a Part 107 Remote Pilot and a private pilot.  In 2016, she turned her research from the commercial aviation industry to the developing drone industry. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Tulinda talks about efforts to bring new UAS jobs to rural Utah and discusses the opportunities and challenges of stimulating economic development through the drone industry.

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Key Points

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  1. The ultimate goal is driven by economic development – to attract companies to move to Utah and particularlyto the rural counties of Tooele and Box Elder, Utah.
  2. The Utah State Legislature funded a grant of $1.2 million to create Deseret UAS with the missionoffacilitating economicdevelopment through theemerging drone industry.
  3. The organization is a true public/private partnership with the Governor’s Office, State of Utah, County agencies, Universities and a host of private companies.
  4. The State of Utah has a history leading innovation andtechnology through its successful Silicon Slopes initiative. Deseret UAS is a natural extension of that success.
  5. As the industry moves into urban air mobility, there is going to be a need for a much moreprecise understandingof winds and weather in the lower altitudes andparticularly in an urbanenvironment. That’s where drones come in.
  6. One of the early goals of Deseret UAS is to develop multiple flight test areas in Utah to meet the different mission requirements to meet the needsof companies.
  7. Deseret UAS is built on four Pillars.  These are:
    • Pillar #1: To become a centralsource forinformation on unmanned aerial systems forUtah and for anyone interested in doing UAS business in Utah.
    • Pillar #2: To elevate Utah’s stature in the UASindustry. Currently, 24 companies are in someway affiliated with unmannedaerialsystems are partners.
    • Pillar #3: To promote research and foundationalresearchto move the UAS  industry forward in Utah.
    • Pillar #4: To attract companies to move to Utah,particularly to Tooele and Box Elder counties, creating new jobs.
  8. Deseret UAS provides to the droneindustry aplacefor commercial UAS companies to testtheirproducts and services.
  9. Electrafly, the manufacturer of a personal flying drone and previous guest on the Drone Radio Show, will be test flying their vehicle at Deseret UAS in the coming months.
  10. With more than 40 years in aviation economics, Tulinda Larsen turned her attention toward drones in 2016. She attended nine droneconferences to educate herself on the technology. Now she’s leading the UAS economic development efforts at Deseret UAS.
  11. Tulinda honed her UAS piloting skills scoring sailboat races with a drone. Turns out, drones are a great tool to manage race operations.
  12. Deseret UAS is very much focused on theneeds ofcommercial UAS manufacturers and companies in thatspace. At Deseret, companies have a unique opportunity to test their products in an efficient, safe and cost effective manner.
  13. The first thing a company with new technology has to do is prove that it works, and Deseret UAS is there to help them do that.

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Mentioned Links

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