Molly O’Brien KTEN
Choctaw Nation conference focuses on future of drones
April 5, 2022
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  • The Choctaw Nation hosted its third Emerging Aviation Technology Conference on Tuesday.

    Attendees and speakers believe drones are the next big thing,

    “Drones and things like AAM have potential,” said James Grimley, the tribe’s executive director of advanced technology initiatives. “We can pull some of the activities on the roadways off and begin to do it a little more efficient and more kind of innovative ways.”

    The Choctaw Nation is helping create the regulations that will be required for this unmanned aerial infrastructure.

    “Being a tribe and actually helping craft the rules is very historic,” Grimley said. “We are actually impacting and helping create the regulations, the new rules that will help us safely do this.”

    Some companies, like Denver-based Spright, are already focused on using drones for deliveries.

    “We are a big aviation company, so drones is kind of the next phase of what we are doing,” said Spright executive Justin Steinke. “We currently do medical helicopters all over the U.S., so we will continue really all over the world.”

    Grimsley believes unmanned aircraft can impact people who live in southeastern Oklahoma.

    “Things like drone delivery, things like medical service delivery…  those type of things are going to be profound in the future in terms of the outcome for people that live in rural areas,” he said.