SXSW festival hosts industry/government forum on latest drone technology

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The annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music and art festival in Austin, Texas, hosted various government and transportation industry leaders this week in a panel discussion on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones.

SXSW draws some of the most creative and innovative leaders in the technology and entertainment industry, making it a natural choice to discuss this relatively new technology, one of the fastest-growing sectors in the aviation industry.

In fall 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) developed a registry for small UAS and created a task force made up of industry leaders and other stakeholders who helped create recommendations for the online registry, which is designed to keep U.S. airspace safe for everyone.

Now the FAA and its partners want to develop a simple tool to guarantee that UAS operators can register their aircraft using a handful of simple steps. The registry, which is now available, gives hobbyists the opportunity to learn about safe flying practices. Just this last week, 400,000 people registered their drone aircraft, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said.

Huerta talked about the registry and other issues at SXSW.

"We are making significant progress on several important UAS initiatives with the help of our government partners," Huerta said. "At SXSW, we discussed topics such as how to expand unmanned aircraft operations and potential uses for drones in the future. The FAA is mindful that this industry is growing at an unprecedented pace, so our attention must be on the future, even as we are address the issues of today."

For more information on the registry, go to www.faa.gov/uas/registration.

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