Promoting Responsible Behavior

It is not terribly profound that Smith College advocates responsible behavior and practice when using Drones.  Very early on, Paul Voss, Associate Professor in Engineering, anticipated many of the issues surrounding the integration of drones into the National Airspace System or NAS.  Paul organized an academic coalition last summer to challenge some of the FAA’s proposed rules, especially as they relate to academic use.  Paul also helped Smith develop our own framework for responsible and safe use of drones on campus.  Eventually, these organizational efforts led to the development of an Academic Safety Code for Small Airborne Objects.  Many of our nation’s top colleges and universities have signed onto the code and continue to teach students responsible use of drones.

Most recently, our efforts #PVDroneRules were highlighted by the folks behind the UAV Digest in podcast number 092.   @MaxFlight and @Dronemama made the trip from Hartford on a rather treacherous March night to cover the public event.  Their podcast and discussion are worthy of a listen as they highlight our arguments for safe, responsible, and accountable use of drones.  And, they recognize the importance and need for greater opportunities to introduce women into the world of drones.

Paul and I were also able to articulate some of our concerns with the proposed FAA rules (NPRM) and their broader implications on WGBY’s Connecting Point with host Jim Madigan.  Have a listen and let us know what you think.



Commercial Drones in Our Backyards

Please join us for our Commercial Drones in Our Backyards event on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM in John M. Greene Hall, Smith College Campus.

Download the Drone_Event_March_4 Flyer.


Will drones darken our skies?  Are we subject to staying indoors if a drone flight is in our neighborhood? Will academics have space and opportunity to teach and conduct research with drones?

Learn how the latest FAA Rules for Unmanned Aircraft Could Impact the Pioneer Valley.  The event will include presentation and discussion, a Drone display (aka the drone petting zoo) , and a live Flight Demonstration or two.

Listen to a preview from the Bill Newman Show on WHMP (drone discussion begins at 20:40 and plays till 32:10)

Presenters are:

  • Paul Voss, Associate Professor of Engineering, Smith College
  • Robert Newton, Professor of Geosciences, Smith College
  • Jon Caris, Director, Spatial Analysis Lab, Smith College

Read the FAA Notice for Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) yourself and please submit your comments here by April 24th, 2015!

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