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Washington creates drone industry council

Drone
An unmanned aerial vehicle flies through a forest. (Photo via Chase Jarvis)

Officials at the Washington State Department of Commerce are working to create an Unmanned Systems Industry Council to foster commercial drone operations in the state.

Plans for the council are being drawn up by John Thornquist, the director of the state’s Office of Aerospace; and Joseph Williams, state director of economic development for the information and communication technology sector. An organizing symposium will be held in Seattle on Sept. 19, Thornquist told GeekWire today.

“It’s going to be selective, for the businesses that are players in this industry,” he said. “It’s not just about the vehicles. It’s also about the tech companies that are behind it.”

Thornquist said the council would bring together state officials, industry representatives and academic experts on unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones or UAS’s (or unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, for that matter). “The idea is to create a forum whose goal is to increase commercialization in this subsector of aerospace,” he said in an email.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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