|Engaging the community at all levels is important to us.|
The LSUASC community-outreach plan identifies stakeholders and develops strategies for reaching constituent groups with accurate information about the UAS sector of the aviation industry and Texas’ plans for research and economic development in that sector, including operating as an FAA UAS test site.
LSUASC has been responsive to inquiries as well as proactive in providing information to the public, which is a requirement of the FAA but also a best practice for programs that some view as controversial and that generate public concern as well as interest.
FAA UAS Test Site Designation
On January 27, 2014, Dr. Luis Cifuentes gave a presentation to the Arlington UAS Consortium about the FAA's UAS Test Site Designation and what it means for Texas. The presentation slides are available in PDF format here.
The Lone Star UAS Initiative Web Site
The LSUASC established an informational Web site to provide basic information about the mission, goals and objectives of what was then called the Lone Star UAS Initiative. The Web site disclosed development of the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence & Innovation, explained the FAA UAS test-site program and discussed the significance and economic impact of the UAS industry in Texas once full integration is accomplished. The Web site also provided contact information and an opportunity for feedback for interested parties to express their interest and concerns.
The City of Corpus Christi
LSUASC’s lead institution, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has had strong hometown support based on the university’s outreach to the city’s economic-development community. City leaders have responded with financial and public support for LSUASC. The primary means of public interaction came with reports to the City Council and the city’s Business and Job Development Corporation (Type A) board, the substance of which may be read here.
Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport Advisory Board
On June 19, 2013, LSUASC representatives responded to public concerns about the impact of proposed use of the City of Alpine’s airport as a launch and recovery site for UAS testing. The airport board submitted questions to the center and asked that they be answered during a meeting of the board. It is standard procedure and according to plan for LSUASC to be responsive to such requests. The substance of LSUASC’s presentation may be read here. The airport board unanimously approved recommending that the city permit UAS launch and recovery operations at Alpine-Casparis.
On Nov. 19, 2013, the Alpine City Council declined to endorse LSUASC plans for the city's municipal airport. The center sent a team to make a presentation to the council. A petition drive opposing UAS use of the airport had roused much public opposition. The council voted unanimously not to pursue a land-use agreement with LSUASC.
Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center
TAMU-CC’s business incubator had a grand “reopening” Oct. 1-3, 2013, after significant renovations and remodeling. LSUASC participated by rolling out its mission command and control center on CBBIC’s third floor. This public engagement included significant participation by LSUAC team members and lead system integrator, Camber Corporation.
Texas Municipal League
On Oct. 11, 2013, the Texas Municipal League, urged by strong support by the City of Corpus Christi, approved a resolution supporting LSUASC’s efforts to win FAA designation as a UAS test site for the State of Texas. Read that resolution here.
The Texas Privacy Act
FAA has expressed its desire to develop policies and regulations regarding the use of UAS as it relates to privacy. The Texas Privacy Act, passed by the State Legislature on May 27, 2013, to address privacy concerns. LSUASC participated in the development of that law by providing information to legislators regarding proper uses of UAS that ought to be exempt from the law’s provisions. The result was a law addressing a legitimate concern while permitting 19 legitimate uses of UAS technologies, including the following operations.
- Scholarly research by institutions of higher education and/or manufacturers under contract with institutions
- In airspace designated as a test site or range authorized by FAA
- By the U.S. military
- Satellite mapping
- By electric and natural-gas facilities for the operation, maintenance and mapping of plants and easements
- Over private property with owner's consent
- Pursuant to a valid search or arrest warrant
- Law-enforcement and/or their contractors; for example,
- in hot pursuit of criminal activity
- documenting crime scenes
- documenting scenes involving human fatalities
- fatal motor-vehicle accidents
- missing persons
- high-risk tactical operations
- At the site of a spill of hazardous materials
- Rescue of persons in imminent danger
- Real-estate surveys by licensed brokers
- Over real property within 25 miles of the U.S. border
- Over public property
- Oil, gas, water or other pipeline survey operations
- Oil pipeline and drilling rig safety
- Port Surveillance and security
LSUASC supports enforcement of the Texas Privacy Act, which prohibits using “an unmanned aircraft to capture an image of an individual or privately owned real property in this state with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image.” Read the Texas Privacy Act here.
Arlington UAS Consortium
Significant opportunities for industry and institutional outreach were afforded by LSUASC membership in the Arlington UAS Consortium formed by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce in 2012.
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
LSUASC attended its first AUVSI conference in July 2012 and has been a consistent participant ever since. This industry group has afforded LSUASC participants to present the state’s program and make significant industry and academic contacts. An LSUASC initiative resulted in a pre-award conference of proponents to the FAA UAS test-site program to discuss possible collaborations and cooperation.