Tech entrepreneurs and venture investors are heading to the White House on Thursday to discuss the potential impact of emerging technologies on U.S. industrial workers.
The meeting was organized by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, now led by Deputy CTO Michael Kratsios, formerly chief of staff for billionaire investor and PayPal founder Peter Thiel. President Donald Trump has yet to appoint a science advisor to run the office.
Executives and investors from some 25 companies are slated to attend, alongside Kratsios and Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary D. Cohn. The companies are working on super-fast 5G internet and drone-related technologies.
CNBC has learned that these start-ups plan to participate:
- AirMap (Ben Marcus, CEO)
- Kespry (George Mathew, CEO)
- Measure (Brandon Torres Declet, CEO)
Larger corporations expected to attend include:
- AT&T (Randall Stephenson, CEO)
- CenturyLink (Glen Post, CEO and Aamir Hussain, CTO)
- General Electric (Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO)
- Honeywell (David Cote, CEO)
- Microsoft (Peggy Johnson, EVP)
- Sprint (Marcelo Claure, CEO)
- Verizon (John G. Stratton, EVP & president of customer and product operations,andCraig Silliman, EVP public policy & general counsel)
Financial organizations participating include:
- Lightspeed Venture Partners (founder Barry Eggers)
- New Enterprise Associates
AirMap’s Marcus said he’s hoping to urge regulators to move more quickly to establish rules allowing drones to be used commercially.
Drones are technologically advanced enough to be used for tasks such as package delivery, inspecting border walls and other public infrastructure and farming. However, the existing federal timeline would see air traffic management systems for drones established only by 2025.
Other countries, including Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand and Rwanda, are figuring out drone rules faster, Marcus suggested. “Drones are the rare industry where we actually need more government engagement to thrive,” the CEO said.
AirMap’s apps let drone pilots figure out where it’s safe and legal to fly, and help drone makers notify pilots about shifting conditions and temporary airspace restrictions that can be established around major events like the presidential debates or a sporting event.
Another drone industry executive, Kespry CEO and Chairman George Mathew said: “Drones and a faster internet are the technologies that can really help a blue collar work force today. Not 10 or 20 years from now when you will see self-driving cars.” Mathew said Kespry and its clients could do more with drones, saving workers from dangerous and dirty jobs, if the process for attaining permits and waivers to fly them were faster.