In-person drone events are coming back for 2022. F1RST and Sundance Media Group announced today that its F1RST UAS Symposium is set to be held in Pasco County, Florida on June 1 and 2, 2022.
While the event is limited to only public safety agencies and first responders (thus is not open to the general public), it’s a clear sign that drone conferences and events are back after a hiatus because, well, you know why.
Many major drone industry events were cut in not just 2020, but 2021 too. Interdrone was off in 2020 and rescheduled for 2021, before getting cut again. Its organizers, Emerald Expositions, say to expect some sort of event in 2022, though haven’t specified what. And while attendance at CES 2022, held at the beginning of January, was light, the products unveiled and special events at hand (including a drone race on the Las Vegas Strip) did not disappoint.
It really does seem like people want in-person events, and not just because it seems no one really wants another Zoom call. After all, there is big money to be made at drone conferences.
More first responders as drone industry stakeholders
The F1RST UAS Symposium is also a sign that the drone industry is in many ways forging ahead thanks to the myriad of public safety applications relevant to drones. In fact, 75% of public safety agencies say they are pursuing some sort of drone program, according to the Droneresponders 2019 Spring Data Survey.
Drones have become a critical tool among many types of public safety and first response organizations. Among their use cases:
- Firefighting can gain aerial insights of scenes, enabling more rapid, efficient, and informed decision-making.
- Law enforcement agencies are finding drones enable greater safety by putting a robot in harm’s way versus a human, while enabling quicker response and better decision-making. Especially when it comes to hostile scene de-escalation, teams can get up close to dangerous situations to get eyes on the scene without putting officers at risk.
- Search and rescue teams can use drones to fly low in obstacle-dense, hard-to-reach areas such as cliffs, along river banks, into ravines and ditches.
- Emergency responders can identify targets and deploy help faster thanks to the aerial images provided by drones.
What to know about the F1RST UAS Symposium
This particular event will feature seminars, practical flight training, simulated scenarios, and live flight demonstrations. Florida’s Forensic Institute for Research, Security, and Tactics (F1RST), a division of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, and Sundance Media Group (SMG) will present a two-day, deeply focused symposium for Public Safety/First Responders currently deploying, or planning to deploy Unmanned Aircraft.
Among the highlights will be demonstrations and training scenario using products you wouldn’t find at your standard drone conference held at a ballroom or convention center, including F1RST’s rubble pile, vertical operations training, canine-UAS partnership, night flight with UAS, tactical operations utilizing UAS, and other learning experiences focused around real-world first responder and public safety engagements.
The event will be held at Florida’s Forensic Institute for Research Security and Tactics in Land O’ Lakes, Florida, near Tampa.
“Technology and training methodology have shifted the way officers respond to calls”, said Justin Ross, Captain at Pasco Sheriff’s Office, in a prepared statement. “The F1RST training facility has been designed to provide the most up-to-date technical training possible. The symposium partnership with SMG not only brings officers to F1RST for scenario-based training opportunities, it also shines a light on our outstanding facilities for agencies seeking modern tools and techniques. We are excited to share the facility with other agencies in the spirit of live-scenario training with UAS in a variety of situations and environments.”
And while the F1RST UAS Symposium is not open to the general public, registration is open and there are a limited number of seats available for people who currently work in public safety. Manufacturers, distributors, product resellers, local, state, and federal agencies are also invited to attend the two-day symposium. You can register here.
And later this year, the same facility will host the K9-Drone Summer Camp 2022, set for July 25-29.