FARGO-Elaine Chao, the U.S. secretary of transportation, will address a conference here on the unmanned aerial systems industry, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., announced Wednesday, May 10.

The 2017 Drone Focus Conference, a gathering of local, national and global leaders in unmanned aerial systems, will be May 31 in Fargo.

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In addition to addressing the conference, Chao will attend other events on the future of the unmanned aerial systems in the state and around the nation. She will meet with Grand Forks representatives about that city's unmanned aerial systems research and initiatives in the region.

"North Dakota continues to stand out as a leader in the UAS technology research, development and training," Hoeven said in a statement. "I appreciate Secretary Chao for accepting my invitation to visit the state and contribute to the 2017 Drone Focus Conference. We're excited to show her the dynamic UAS industry in our state and its benefits for the nation in agriculture, energy, border security and many other issues."

At last year's conference, John Cavolowsky from the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA spoke. He is NASA's lead researcher in the development of unmanned traffic management systems.