2023 Monterey Bay DART Symposium Unites Industry, Academia, Government and Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Marina, CA, November 7, 2023 – The 2023 DART Symposium, held at the CSUMB University Center from October 11th to October 13th, concluded successfully, marking a milestone event in the world of Advanced Air Mobility, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Agricultural Technology, and Inclusive Economic Development. With a diverse range of insightful discussions, workshops, and notable speakers, the symposium lived up to its promise of facilitating collaboration, knowledge sharing, and inclusive cross-sector engagement.

**Day 1 – Community Integration**

The first day of the symposium kicked off with an enlightening Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Short-Course, hosted by the Community Air Mobility Initiative. This workshop provided state and local decision-makers, agency staff, urban and transportation planners, and interested individuals with a comprehensive introduction to the emerging world of advanced air mobility.

Symposium participants had the exclusive opportunity to join the Joby Aviation at Marina tour, gaining a behind-the-scenes look at Joby Aviation’s advanced manufacturing facilities at the Marina Municipal Airport.

At lunch, Josh Metz, Executive Director of MBDART, and Ken Smith, Lead Organizer of the Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative, extended a warm welcome to all attendees. Senator Anna Caballero, California State Senate District 14,  shared her insights on the importance of AAM to the California economy and to the Salinas Valley workforce.

In the afternoon, the Community Integration – Economic & Workforce Development Workshop brought together various stakeholders to discuss economic and workforce development opportunities and challenges related to advanced air mobility and agricultural technology adoption. The day concluded with the Airspace Integration Corridors & Central Coast Flight Information Exchange Workshop, exploring the potential for establishing safe and secure UAS integration corridors in California.

**Day 2 – AAM & UAS Economic Development Opportunities**

The second day commenced with a hearty breakfast and registration, followed by welcoming remarks by CSUMB College of Business Dean, Dr. Marylou Shockley. Matt Field, Chief Financial Officer at Joby Aviation, delivered an insightful keynote focused on Joby Aviation’s development and implementation pathway.

Two engaging panels delved into supporting continued AAM development (Moderated by MBDART Strategic Advisor/COO, Shari Tavaf), and the creation and management of airspace innovation corridors (Moderated by MBDART Co-Founder, Chris Bley). Notable industry leaders and experts led these discussions, shedding light on the state of research and development and the importance of innovation corridors.

The day continued with a featured, all-female leader panel (moderated by Community Air Mobility Initiative Executive Director, Yolanka Wulff), discussing government’s role in supporting AAM innovation and safety, followed by discussions on infrastructure, vertiports, and test facilities (moderated by UC Berkeley transportation futurist and researcher, Adam Cohen). Following that informative session, Fireside Chat with Carol Dietrich, Founder & President @Jump Aero Inc. and Dean Donovan, Partner @Diamond Stream Partners. Rounding out the day with exploring new return on investment opportunities in the AAM market (moderated by CSUMB College of Business Professor, Dr. Jennifer Kuan).

The evening concluded with a Networking Reception at the University Center, allowing participants to build valuable connections.

**Day 3 – Partnerships & Workforce Development**

The final day began with breakfast and registration, followed by an inspiring keynote from Daniel Theobald, Co-Founder & President of MassRobotics,  setting the stage for discussions on agtech innovation and workforce development.

Panel discussions on public-private workforce development partnerships and community partners in workforce and economic development highlighted the importance of collaboration in nurturing talent and creating economic opportunities.

The symposium concluded with closing remarks, emphasizing the significance of partnerships and workforce development in the rapidly evolving AAM and UAS industries.

The 2023 DART Symposium was a resounding success, with participants and speakers leaving with a deeper understanding of the potential and challenges of the AAM and UAS sectors. The event fostered collaboration among industry experts, government officials, and community leaders, paving the way for a more connected and innovative future.

For more information about the 2023 DART Symposium and upcoming events, please visit https://montereybaydart.org/symposium/.

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**Contact Information:**

Josh Metz Executive Director Monterey Bay DART (831) 254-8299

Our Sponsors and Partners

SIEDI Delegation Explores FIRA-USA 2023

Author: Barbara Meister, SIEDI Mentor

A SIEDI (Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative) delegation explored the emerging world of robotics in agriculture by attending the FIRA-USA conference in September at the Salinas Rodeo Grounds. Participants included representatives from Mujeres en Acción, ALBA and Loaves, Fishes and Computers along with the Ag Tech class from Rancho Cielo

Drone Pavilion

The conference drew entrepreneurs, academics, government scientists, graduate students, venture capitalists, journalists and growers from all parts of the globe. Thanks to our partners at DART, 12 of us had the chance to see field-level robotic demonstrations, meet company representatives, and hear panel discussions about the emergence of robotics and mechanization of agriculture, its promises and possibilities, and the threats and opportunities that come with technological innovation.   

SIEDI leaders had several key takeaways and lots of questions.   Robotics is driven, at least in part, by the shortage of farm labor. Robotics and the mechanization of production agriculture will certainly change work.  

Some new jobs will be created as robotics will require engineering and programming skills for their creation and problem-solving applications. Could these be job opportunities for graduates of Hartnell and CSUMB’s new Mechatronics program? Could the sons and daughters of farm workers be prepared for these jobs? 

Drone Pavilion

Some jobs will be replaced, not immediately, but over time. There is not a robotic solution to harvest strawberries in the field (yet?) because it is difficult for a robotic eye to see the fruit under the leafy canopy of a strawberry plant. A more likely robotic application will be a machine to cut the pre-harvest berry runners and replace those jobs. For a grower, the higher return on labor is during harvest, not during pre-harvest maintenance of the plant.  

Some jobs are at present being replaced. The mechanized PlantTape,  only needs 2 workers to operate it when typically there are 8 or more workers riding a machine and feeding transplants into the soil.  

Some jobs will become safer. We saw an autonomous sprayer that could run at night, by itself and thus eliminate or reduce pesticide exposure for workers. On the other hand, the job of a sprayer often pays a $2-3 per hour premium, and is an attractive job for some because of the higher pay. What happens to these workers when they are replaced by machines?  

Ag Demonstration

Some jobs will be made more efficient. We saw smaller robots, called Burro and Amiga, that could carry small loads behind or alongside a worker, reducing physical burdens and increasing time-labor efficiency. For piece-rate crops, like strawberries, the time a harvester spends carrying a carton of berries to the end of the row is money lost. Will the cost-savings of a robot flow to the worker because they are more productive now? 

SIEDI leaders concluded that at present, robots have both the potential to be a complement to making work safer, less physically demanding, and more efficient for workers AND robots can displace workers. We are  eager to explore the questions of opportunities and threats to our Salinas Valley workforce. How do we create a pathway for the  jobs being created by innovation in ag tech for our youth? How do we re-skill and up-skill those currently work to plant and harvest our food? What impact will robots have on wages for farm workers?  

Drone Pavilion

As SIEDI prepares for its plan of work for the next two years, we are eager to have more conversations, starting with farm workers themselves – what do they want from ag tech? And with small farmers, can robots improve efficiencies at small scale? What capacity do our educational institutions, adult schools and community colleges have for upskilling and re-skilling our current workers? What kind of partnerships can we create alongside these institutions, including CSUMB and UCSC, to prepare our Salinas Valley students for the design, engineering, programming and manufacturing of ag tech? We are eager to talk with farmers who are using and experimenting with ag tech to find out what they are learning and the impact on their labor force. And we want to talk to the ag tech companies in our region  to understand what problems they are trying to solve and their workforce needs.   

Robotics and automation are happening. SIEDI is ready to be proactive in mitigating the downsides and shape how this innovation can enable more Salinas Valley families to be included in the economic opportunities this technology will create.

MBDART hosts US Commercial Service and US Embassy Representatives

MBDART was honored to co-host the US Commercial Service and Market Access Specialists from US Embassies in Germany, Turkiye, Croatia, and Romania for a trade focused exchange. Working in partnership with the Monterey County Economic Development Office, Central Coast Marketing Team, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, UC Santa Cruz-MBEST, Santa Cruz County Economic Development, See Monterey, Monterey Wines, and Joby Aviation, the local coalition and Commerce teams held a day of meetings and tours at the UCMBEST Marina Office and Joby Aviation’s Marina Manufacturing facilities.

“We really appreciate Joanne, Chris and the whole delegation for making the time to come visit us here in Marina and the Monterey Bay region. We learned about key features of their respective markets, tools and programs available to U.S. companies looking to initiate or expand EU trade, and key market access events occurring throughout the year. We also had the opportunity to educate the EU-based folks about the amazing companies, economic drivers, and quality of life offered here in the Monterey Bay region. Perhaps most importantly, we had the chance to meet, share a meal and establish person-to-person connections that will facilitate more effective and efficient engagements into the future.”

Josh Metz, Executive Director, MBDART

US Embassy Market Access Specialists provided information and insights into unique market interests and access information for each of their respective countries. Topics such as key growth areas, Commerce provided market access services, and key events were discussed. The local coalition provided market and organization overviews, including strategic programs, key economic sectors, interest and opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment, and tourism and hospitality opportunities for EU travelers.

“Our meeting with DART leadership and so many local experts who are instrumental in leading economic development in the Monterey Bay region was incredibly valuable.  Gaining a deeper understanding of the industries that underpin the regional economy and drive workforce development allowed for an enriching conversation about how the U.S. Commercial Service/ITA can help support existing efforts to grow international trade and investment the region.  We look forward to more such engagements in the months ahead.”

Joanne Vliet, Director, U.S. Commercial Service – Silicon Valley/San Jose
U.S. Department of Commerce | International Trade Administration

The exchange was productive and left the Commerce and EU teams with increased market awareness, inspiration for future exchanges, and key contacts to develop new market channels for Monterey Bay regional and California companies. Significant international opportunities exist in sectors including travel & tourism, processed food, education/training, agtech, aviation, and information technology, all of which are key industries driving the regional economy. We look forward to growing and expanding these relationships, both with the local San Jose based Commerce team and their US Embassy-based colleagues.

About the US Commercial Service

The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets. The Global Markets unit promotes U.S. exports, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises; advances and protects U.S. commercial interests overseas; and attracts inward investment into the United States. https://www.trade.gov/

DART Workforce Skills Demand Study

CITRIS Initiative for Drone Education and Research (CIDER) at UC Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative collaborate on DART Workforce Skills Demand Study in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito Counties

The CITRIS Center for Drone Education and Research (CIDER) at UC Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative are pleased to announce their collaboration on a groundbreaking DART Workforce Skills Demand Study. The study aims to assess the current and future workforce skills demand for the use of drones in agriculture, infrastructure inspection, construction monitoring, and related fields within Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito Counties.

Complete the DART Skills Demand Survey

Contribute your responses to the DART Skills Demand survey to help shape modern workforce training programs

The mission of the study is to determine the industry demand for drone operation skills in the tri-county area, while also identifying the skills gap that needs to be addressed through appropriate training and development to meet the expected industry demands. By focusing on advancing quality jobs growth and fostering local economies that benefit all residents, this effort aims to leverage the inherent assets, talents, and leadership within our communities.

As part of this study, UCSC-CIDER and Monterey Bay DART are reaching out to businesses and individuals in these industries to gain survey participation and engagement with the study. Participants will have the chance to contribute to this important study aiming to ensure our regional workforce is well-prepared to deliver in-demand workforce skills. Participants will receive a complimentary copy of the final report upon its completion. We invite businesses and professionals in the industry to sign up to contribute their insights and participate in the survey here.

“The increased opportunities for jobs using drones and automation are wide ranging and potentially life changing. We’re excited to be able to partner with Monterey Bay DART on this important project so provide a more comprehensive and inclusive look at the future of this type of employment. The information in the report will help shape the training and workforce development programs we are creating with our regional partners at Hartnell College, Digital Nest, and CSU Monterey Bay. “ Becca Fenwick, Director, CIDER UCSC.

“Monterey Bay DART is thrilled to continue and expand  our collaboration with the UCSC-CIDER team on this important project. We are seeing increasing demand for DART-related skills, and this study will provide our regional industries a chance to contribute directly to shaping our future-relevant workforce training efforts” says Josh Metz, Monterey Bay DART Executive Director. “This collaboration is a perfect pairing of the research and educational expertise of UCSC-CIDER with the project implementation expertise and cross-sector ecosystem DART has developed.”

The study will specifically assess industry demand for drone, automation, and robotics technology skills and expertise in the next 1-5 years across various sectors, including agriculture, construction, aviation, public safety, and marine science/blue economy. By analyzing the gap between job skill demand and the current skills identified in the surveys for each sector, our study will establish the existing training opportunities within the tri-county area.

About UCSC and CIDER:

The University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) is a renowned public research university located in Santa Cruz, California. UCSC is committed to academic excellence, innovative research, and community engagement, fostering an environment of intellectual curiosity and critical thinking. The CITRIS Initiative for Drone Education and Research (CIDER) is the first of its kind in the UC system, housed with the The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Banatao Institute or CITRIS for short, is a multi-campus initiative focused on research and emerging technologies across the UC Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz campuses. The UCSC CITRIS Initiative for Drone Education and Research (CIDER) offers educational training and research support for the development and use of drone technology across all academic disciplines and many industry sectors, as well as workforce development expertise. Students benefit from career-enhancing experiential learning opportunities, hands-on field research, flight time, and FAA licensure.

About Monterey Bay DART:

Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) is a leading organization dedicated to promoting the safe and responsible integration of drones into various industries. DART collaborates with educational institutions, businesses, and government agencies to drive innovation, economic growth, and workforce development in the region.

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Monterey Bay DART Drone Pavilion @FIRA-USA

Join Monterey Bay DART at its premium drone pavilion during the FIRA-USA event September 19-21, 2023. The Pavilion will be centrally located and provide a cohesive environment from which to engage potential clients and customers.

FIRA-USA is the pinnacle event for autonomous farming and agricultural robotics solutions, where industry players come together to shape the future of agricultural robotics. During this three-day event, visitors will have the opportunity to witness in-field demonstrations, explore business opportunities, and attend research project presentations, all conveniently located within the same venue.

Pavilion Features include:

  • 40′ x 40′ Pavilion with wood floor, siding that opens to the outside, electricity, central meeting space with tables and chairs
  • Each drone company gets 10′ x 10′ space with 6′ table and 4 chairs
  • Premium marketing of the pavilion and Silver-level marketing value for each company
  • Download the Event Map

Cost: Limited number of spaces available in the pavilion. Cost for inclusion at the Silver Sponsor-level equivalent is a significant reduction from the Standard rates currently available:

  • $3500 w/o Demo (standard rate $5000)
  • $6500 w/Demo (standard rate $7500)

Hurry, space is limited! Deadline to join this opportunity is July 24. Contact Abigail directly: abigail@montereybaydart.org For more details and listings of Sponsorship Levels and their benefits, download the brochure below.

Monterey Bay DART Signs MOU with ChicoStart to Increase Innovation Pipelines for the North State

For Immediate Release
March 28, 2023

Marina, CA: The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is pleased to expand its partner network working with Chicostart to bring another valuable resource to the North State for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses interested in drone, automation and robotics technology. This important partnership allows leveraging of resources, expertise and efforts to provide opportunities for:

  1. Identifying and supporting the “best value” drone, automation and robotics technology solutions to meet the current and future market demands and stimulate entrepreneurship; and
  2. Collaborating on programming, outreach and engagement with university and private sector innovators to increase innovation pipelines. This partnership fits within Chicostart’s Inclusive Innovation Hub2, supporting sectors in wildfire, Agtech, cleantech, water, robotics, advanced manufacturing, national security and wildfire/forest management in rural counties that include underserved communities. Chicostart and DART believe this collaboration will contribute to the curation and resilience of the California Statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“The economic implications of commercial drone use are undeniable. The market for drones is estimated to be $127 billion across a variety of industries. On a macroeconomic scale, the integration of UAVs could create more than 100,000 jobs in California alone. Job creation from commercial drone use will consist primarily of manufacturing jobs and drone operators. The implications clearly have a positive impact on businesses and consumers. Our relationship with DART will introduce new industry and support pilot programs. We are excited to bring this to the North State.Eva Shepherd-Nicoll, Executive Director of Chicostart

“MBDART is thrilled to expand its partnership beyond the Central Coast to support DART-related innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the Golden State. Our industry, academia, public agency and philanthropy partners recognize the potential of these emerging technologies to help solve major challenges such as agricultural efficiency, wildfire risk reduction and management, infrastructure safety and security and many others. We look forward to working with the ChicoStart community to bring value to the North State.Josh Metz, Executive Director of Monterey Bay DART

In April 2022, Chicostart was 1 of 10 designees awarded the statewide iHUB2 grant from CalOSBA. Chicostart’s iHUB2 designation covers over 20+ counties in Northern California, focusing on building the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem for equitable access to entrepreneurial resources with inclusive ecosystem expansion into our rural and diverse communities. This includes expanding Chicostart’s growTECH and entrepreneurial initiative throughout the region.

About Chicostart: Chicostart supports and enriches Northern California’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem by providing small business, entrepreneurs and startups the resources they need to succeed. Our platform includes shared office amenities, mentoring, workshops, internships, tech talks, student to business projects, entrepreneurial events, satellite office programs, and anything else that helps our core mission of helping startups succeed. As a GO-BIZ iHub for the Far North, the Chicostart ecosystem includes but is not limited to investors, technologists, entrepreneurs, students, educators, local businesses, agencies and mentors.

About MBDART: The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is a 501 c3 public benefit corporation working with industry, academia, public agencies and philanthropy to deliver innovative, future-relevant, workforce and economic development solutions. DART leads public-private partnership apprenticeship programs with emerging technology manufacturers, completes technical and market studies to raise awareness about ecosystem and technology potential, and offers events throughout the year to bring together interested stakeholders for networking, collaboration, and strengthening the DART ecosystem. More information available online at https://MBDART.org

 

2022 Monterey Bay DART Symposium Reaches New Heights

Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) held a symposium at the University Center of California State University’s Monterey Bay (CSUMB) campus, Nov 30 – Dec 1, 2022. Nearly 200 attendees enjoyed two days of compelling panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities. This year’s event was rich with collaboration, connections, and vision for a more robust and inclusive future.

Attendees heard from industry leaders, legislators, educators, and philanthropists on topics like:

  • Air taxis to logistics: what’s new in Advanced Air Mobility
  • Building an advanced aviation workforce
  • Enabling Innovation: Ecosystems, Districts & Facilities
  • Agriculture & Utilities Innovation & Economic Opportunity
  •  Innovation thru Inclusive Economic Development

“The Monterey Bay DART team is so grateful to our speakers, sponsors, and attendees,” said Joshua Metz, Executive Director and Co-founder of Monterey Bay DART. “These events are key to bringing the right people together to build the foundation for a stronger, more inclusive economy that leverages these budding technologies.”

Event videos and copies of presentations are available HERE. To sign up for the DART mailing list for occasional updates on drones, automation, and robotics technology, please click HERE.

Our Sponsors and Partners

2022 Monterey Bay DART Symposium - November 30 - December 1

Event: 2022 Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Symposium: “Innovation Workforce: Ready to Fly!” 

Engage with public, private and philanthropic leaders to explore exciting economic and workforce developments in drone, aviation and robotics technologies at the 3rd Annual Monterey DART Symposium.

Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) will hold a symposium at the University Center of California State University’s Monterey Bay (CSUMB) campus, Nov 30 – Dec 1, 2022. Attendees will enjoy two days of compelling panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities.

This year’s theme, “Innovation Workforce: Ready to Fly!”, focuses on the economic development opportunities and challenges of expanding the DART innovation ecosystem with lessons learned from the Central Coast. Speakers will discuss advanced air mobility innovations, university connected innovation ecosystems, workforce opportunities, and inclusive economic development, with an emphasis on workforce upskilling and high-road jobs. 

Keynotes for the 2-day symposium include: Dean Donovan, Managing Director, Diamond Stream Partners, a leading aviation investment firm; Tony Tavares, Director, California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), the agency responsible for transportation system management and oversight in California; Bonny Simi, Head of Air Operations and People, Joby Aviation, a cutting edge electric aircraft company; and Don Howard, CEO, James Irvine Foundation, a foundation making catalytic economic empowerment investments supporting growth in this sector. 

While networking with these industry, agency and philanthropic leaders, attendees will participate in panel sessions and discussions with experts, entrepreneurs, educators, and policymakers regarding the latest developments in mobility, airspace management, carbon-neutral power, and other current sustainable infrastructure topics.

Space is limited so RSVP now to attend the 2022 DART Symposium. Attendees receive access to Early Bird discounted tickets by purchasing tickets by Oct 30. Attendees can also join our DART community as a member at a discounted rate with symposium registration.

“We’re on the cusp of a workforce transformation – and Monterey Bay, industry, governments and academia have joined forces to chart a path for drones and robotics to automate work while strengthening community.”, said Monterey DART Executive Director and Cofounder Josh Metz. “This symposium is a great opportunity for anyone interested in the industry, in economic or workforce development and for those looking for truly collaborative partnership models.”

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The Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is a regional coordination and advancement forum, founded in 2018, bringing together industry, government and, academia, to align resources and benefit economic and workforce development. Monterey Bay DART seeks to inspire entrepreneurial minds, increase employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth to develop a diverse and inclusive tech community in the Monterey Bay area.

For more information, please visit the Monterey Bay DART website at https://montereybaydart.org/

Event

2022 Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Symposium: “Innovation Workforce: Ready to Fly!” 

Contact Information:

Jen Simon

info@montereybaydart.org

UC Ag & Natural Resources with Glenda Humiston

Join Josh Metz in conversation with UC Agriculture & Natural Resources Vice President, Glenda Humiston, as they discuss the use of emerging DART tools in continual improvement of agriculture and natural resources research & management in California, upcoming 2020 Drone Camp, @UCANR @MontereyBayDART partnership, adaptation to COVID and other exciting topics.