Sierra-Olympia  was a major sponsor of Autonomous Systems Deliver!, Cascade AUVSI’s 2021 Fall Symposium held in Bend, Oregon October 6-7, 2021. With more than 450 members, AUVSI brings together key stakeholders from industry, government, and academia to advance unmanned systems and robotics. Sierra-Olympia’s sponsorship underwrote the very well-attended evening networking session on Wednesday. Attendees enjoyed live music, food and drink, and the long-awaited opportunity to re-connect in-person with their industry colleagues. We truly enjoyed seeing and learning from our friends and partners: industry leaders, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, researchers, civic and regional promoters. There was even a smattering of school-age UAV enthusiasts patiently absorbing detailed presentations on everything from Supply Chain Challenges in the Age of COVID to the logistical and engineering challenges of capturing drone video from inside Hurricane Sam. Sierra-Olympia President Chris Johnston delivered a well-received talk on Low SWaP Thermal Imaging. He addressed past, present and future technological innovations and the diverse ways thermal imaging technology can be applied in scientific, commercial and aerospace industries. Strategic Supplier Manager Charley Gilbert was a featured participant in the Supply Chain Challenges and Creative Solutions panel. Participants shared guiding principles and best practices gleaned from their long and diversified experience in commercial and defense industries. Charley’s participation in the panel gave him “valuable insight into how the UAV industry has been impacted broadly, and some novel approaches to meeting the current challenges.” Sierra-Olympia’s supply chain and relationships have largely been insulated from pandemic-driven shocks to supply and demand. But the lesson learned by manufacturers around the world is that resilience is a critical link in the supply chain. Our thanks to Volansi for hosting all of the conference participants for a tour of their development, production, and testing facility in Bend, Oregon. This “middle-mile” drone delivery startup has its origins in San Francisco. When they chose to locate their expanded manufacturing and testing facility in Bend one of the key drivers for the decision was proximity to the three FAA test strips in Oregon, including Pendleton, Warm Springs and Tillamook. And Bend boasts the highest average number of sunny days in Oregon, keeping people happy and drone flying days plentiful.

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