IFE hosts INFO Innovation Salon on Digital Trends: The Drones are Coming!

The Institute for Education hosted an INFO Public Policy Roundtable on “The Drones are Coming!” The forum included speaker panel moderated by IFE Distinguished Fellow the Hon. Dr. R . David Edelman, Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Technology Policy at the National Economic Council (NEC) and The White House.  Discussion included a live demonstration of drone capability. Over 120 guests attended the forum hosted by H.E. Armando Varricchio, Ambassador of Italy to the United States, at the Embassy of Italy which was held on Monday, July 11th.

Thoughts on IFE INFO-‘The Drones are Coming’…

“This was an extremely interesting opportunity to hear from experts about Drone technology and how fast it is growing. The panel was able to address the opportunities that are presented by drones as well as to discuss the challenges. There are huge opportunities for UAV’s, for example as proven by the damage control conducted after the earthquake in Nepal, these things are all impressive. The INFO Innovation Salon  was intriguing, interesting, topical, and timely.” ~ H.E. Bjorn Lyrvall, Ambassador of Sweden to the United States


“This event was very enlightening and informative! Unfortunately, most of us associate drones with dramatic events but this panel prepared us for drones to become part of our daily reality. I just hope we can multiply this technology and show the world all of its capabilities.” ~H.E. Vlora Çitaku, Ambassador of Kosovo to the United States


“Drones can be used for security purposes, but also to aid in cases of natural disasters and other emergencies. More than that, I have seen the productive use of drones in agriculture, and my approach would be to find innovative ways to use them to enhance economic growth and development.”~ H.E. Juan Carlos Pinzón, Ambassador of Colombia to the United States

“It was very interesting, in my profession you hear about the military use for drones not so much the civilian side. This event helped me understand how revolutionary this technology is. New dimensions in reality require new regulations which could be challenging. The civilian and humanitarian use of drones is great. I see lots of potential for this technology, it is truly going to revolutionize our everyday life.” ~ H.E. Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador of Finland to the United States

View: Event Photos | Coach’s remarks | Photo Credit: IFE Intern Xavier Rivera


Coach Kemper, Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku, AMbassador of Afghanustan Dr. Hamdullah Mohib, Ambassador of Sweden Bjorn Lyrvall, Ambassador of Colombia Juan Carlos Pinzon and Dr. R. David Edelman.
Coach Kemper, Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku, Ambassador of Afghanistan Dr. Hamdullah Mohib, Ambassador of Sweden Bjorn Lyrvall, Ambassador of Colombia Juan Carlos Pinzon and Dr. R. David Edelman. (Photo credit: The Washington Diplomat.)
Guests enjoy the drone demo in the Embassy Atrium.
Guests enjoy the drone demo in the Embassy atrium.

Screenshot 2016-07-13 11.51.46 Screenshot 2016-07-13 11.51.57 Screenshot 2016-07-13 11.52.20


Hon. Dr.  R. David Edelman is Special Assistant to the President for Economic & Technology Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC). In that role, Dr. Edelman is responsible for overseeing the Administration’s policy development and implementation across a range of economic policy issues including competition/antitrust, broadband/telecom, technology trade, consumer cybersecurity, data privacy, intellectual property, and autonomous vehicles. He previously served as Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, & Privacy Policy in both the NEC and the Office of Science & Technology (OSTP), and until 2012, served as the first Director for International Cyber Policy at the National Security Council (NSC).  Throughout his time at the White House he has authored and led the teams implementing over a dozen Executive Orders, national strategies, and Administration legislative proposals, and was the principal architect of the President’s $10 billion ConnectED education-technology initiative, the BuySecure initiative promoting consumer financial cybersecurity, and the Administration’s economy-wide review of competition and antitrust. Prior to his time at the White House, he served at the State Department’s Office of Cyber Affairs; as the United States’ lead negotiator on Internet issues at the United Nations; and began his career as a foreign affairs analyst specializing in the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and China.  Dr. Edelman received his Bachelor’s (with honors) in History from Yale University, and his Master’s and Doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University in the UK, where he was a Clarendon Scholar. Read: DOT and FAA Finalize Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Featured Panelists:

  •  Sergio A. Barlocchetti is an Avionic and Human-Machine Interface specialist for manned and unmanned aircrafts, having logged more than 300 different flying machines (planes, gliders, helicopters, balloons, gyrocopters, paragliding, airships), and is a Flight Test Engineer for business aviation jets and Medium Altitude Long Endurance class military UAS. Currently, he is a Project Manager for the Italian UAVs company Elytron Aeronautica and an Aircraft systems instructor for professional flight schools (ATO). Member of the homebuilder aircraft evaluation Commission FCAP Italian Experimental Aircraft Association chapter and of the Italian Aircraft Owner and Pilot Association. Sergio is Dronitaly’s blog columnist, the web pages of the main Italian UAVs annual convention and show. Motto: “Life is experimental: learn to test, test to learn”.
  • Ryan English, President of Fly Motion. Ryan is the President and Co-Founder. He is responsible for the strategic growth, company direction and implementing the business strategy visions of FlyMotion. Ryan leverages his extensive network to strengthen client and strategic partner relationships. He works with a dedicated team to develop solutions that set the future trends for numerous vertical markets within the unmanned systems industry. In addition to his military service and civilian special operations background, Ryan brings over a decade of successful entrepreneurship to the FlyMotion team. His forward thinking has, and continues to deliver groundbreaking advancements and innovation in the unmanned system industry. Ryan was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and it was there that he developed the passion and drive for entrepreneurship. He enjoys international travel, motorcycles and sports cars.
  • Dr. Patrick Meier is an internationally recognized expert on Humanitarian Technology. Over the past 14 years, Patrick has worked in the Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, India, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Morocco, Western Sahara, Haiti, Peru and Vanuatu on a wide range of humanitarian projects with multiple international organizations including the United Nations and the World Bank. His new book, Digital Humanitarians, has been praised by Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, UN, Red Cross, World Bank, USAID  and others. Patrick’s influential and widely-read blog iRevolutions has received over 1.8 million hits. He tweets at @patrickmeier.
  • Tiziano Vercellino is a civilian airline Pilot, with more than 17000 flying hours on many types of military and civilian aircrafts. He holds a bachelor degree in Aeronautical science and is a graduate with honors from the Italian air force Academy. He was an instructor Pilot on the E-3A AWACS at the Geilenkirchen MOB Germany, where he was Commander of the Simulator Training Division of the AWACA Flying Training Wing, and responsible for the Flight Simulator upgrade program (10 million DM). In2006 he also joined the Aviation Works International Training Team as a consultant for both military and civilian projects like the Training Needs Analysis for the C130 & C27J Spartan program and is currently involved as instructor and consultant for RPAS/UAV projects.


NYC filmed by Randy Scott Salvin using with DJI Phantom and the GoPro Hero 3 Black

Drones 101: “A beginner’s guide to taking flight, no license needed”

Drone, UAV, sUAS – there are a lot of names for the little (and not so little) flying robots that, over the next five to 10 years, are expected to take over the skies. But there’s no reason to wait until then to immerse yourself in the world of airborne gizmos. Fun and surprisingly useful, UAVs can quite literally add a whole new dimension to your life. Here are the basics of what you need to know to kick off your drone addiction.

And a drone is … what, exactly?

It’s not a stupid question. When people talk about drones, they could mean a whole slew of different things. Technically speaking, a “drone” refers to any unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can navigate entirely on its own through the help of GPS tracking systems. But in the real world, “drone” often means any UAV, some of which have autonomous flying capabilities, many of which do not – but instead are simply “smart” RC helicopters or airplanes. Many of these UAVs have on-board cameras, crash-avoidance systems, and other high-tech settings not available on traditional RC flying vehicles, making them a kind of hybrid between traditional RC fliers and true drones. I, however, use the term UAV and drone interchangeably – sue me.

In the terms of government, police, or military drones, we’re talking about large, staggeringly complex UAVs, operated by highly skilled pilots. Some of these drones, like the Predator or Global Hawk, can carry missiles that kill people – which is one reason many people are “anti-drone.” But that’s a topic for another day. For our purposes, let’s just forget all about these futuristic killing machines for a moment and focus on the fun side of drones.


Okay, so, now we (kinda) know what drones are. How hard are they to fly? It all depends on the specific aircraft. Some are easy enough for your grandmother to get going, others dang near require a computer science degree and a pilot’s license to keep in the air. Luckily, you can start off simple, and move up in complexity (and functionality) as you hone your skills.

Click here to view options so you can join the game: Best drones for beginners – $Parrot AR Drone Quadricopter $$ | DJI Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter with Integrated FPV Camcorder $$$$ | STORM Drone 6 VE $$




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