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At the White House’s emerging tech event, drones are one of the day’s big topics

Tech leaders gathered today at the White House for a series of focused sessions on hot topics in tech. Thursday’s event, titled “American Leadership in Emerging Technology,” is the second big piece of the White House’s Technology Week, continuing on from Tuesday’s discussion about modernizing government technology.

“We’re on the verge of new technological revolutions that could improve, virtually, every aspect of our lives, create vast new wealth for American workers and families, and open up bold, new frontiers in science, medicine, and communication,” President Trump said in his opening remarks.

Drone regulation was among the day’s biggest breakout topics. The attendee list was stacked with executives from the unmanned aircraft space, including PrecisionHawk CEO Michael Chasen, Airspace CEO Jaz Banga, Measure CEO Brandon Declet, Trumbull Unmanned CEO Dyan Gibbens and Kespry CEO George Mathew.

Airspace’s Banga shared his highlights from the event with TechCrunch. According to Banga, the conversation focused on regulatory challenges at the level of state and local governments, including how to speed up the regulation process so that innovation in the sector wouldn’t be stifled. The group discussed how to expedite the process of building out registries that would identify and track drones and drone pilots, as well as how to monitor drone traffic.

Banga noted the “speed and openness” of the conversation, which concentrated on ways to prevent the government from hindering American innovation in the sector. The administration cited the example of the Wright brothers as a model — “they want the same for drones while maintaining safety for all.”

Thursday’s sessions also tackled the future of 5G wireless networks, repeating a similar vision of deregulation that would allow tech companies to move quickly in the space. Executives from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile were in attendance.

“We shouldn’t apply burdensome rules designed for 100-foot towers to small cells the size of a pizza box,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wrote in a Tech Week op-ed. “If America is to lead the world in 5G, we need to modernize our regulations so that infrastructure can be deployed promptly and at scale.”

As Axios reports, a handful of VCs were also present, including New Enterprise Associates, Revolution LLC, Cayuga Venture Fund, 500 Startups, Lightspeed, Epic Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures and Arboretum Ventures.


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