2015 Conference Agenda | Unmanned Systems Institute

2015 Conference Agenda

Monday, December 14, 2015


Registration Opens


Opening Remarks

8:50 – 10:00am

Panel – Unmanned Systems Industry Outlook: Trends and Growth

In ten years, the unmanned systems industry is expected to reach nearly $11.5 billion annually and create 70,000 jobs in the United States alone. The ever-growing amount of uses for unmanned systems has made it one of the fastest growing markets in the United States and a major influence on the future of military, private sector and other commercial applications. This session will analyze the growth of the unmanned systems industry and how it will evolve in the coming years.

Learning Objectives:

  • Examine industry trends
  • Analyze regulatory issues affecting unmanned vehicles
  • Look at unmanned technologies poised for primetime
  • Project growth of the industry over next 5 years and beyond

Moderator: Kate StyersPrincipal AnalystTecolote Research Inc.
Tom WilczekDefense & Aerospace Industry Representative, Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development
Ellen ChangPartner, LightSpeed Innovations; Northrop Grumman (former)
Dave DeYoungDirector, Boeing Laser and Electro-Optical Systems
Brendan MurphyPartner, Perkins Coie LLP.
Brian MarkwalterSVP, Research and StandardsConsumer Technology Association

10:00  10:25am

Introductions to Day 1 Living Groups and Group Activity

Spend 25 minutes meeting with your conference ‘Living Group’.  Attendees will be grouped together so that starting on Day 1 you will have an opportunity to meet new contacts and maximize your conference experience.

In addition to meeting your Living Group, you will also take part in an interactive activity to determine the top challenges facing the unmanned systems industry.  The top challenges for each group will be announced at the end of the session!

10:30 11:15am 

Morning Networking Break

Take this opportunity to mingle with your peers in an intimate setting to build relationships and establish future partnerships. Refreshments & snacks will be served on the exhibit floor.

11:15 – 12:00pm 

Energy, Agriculture and More: Applications and What’s Working Today  

The integration of unmanned aerial systems into the airspace can create 12,000 California jobs in its first three years. UAS testers are actively experimenting with UAS to harness wind and solar energy off the coast of California, which could produce a major boost to the renewable energy market.

Another major factor in this job growth is the potential for UAS in agriculture. Crop monitoring can change how farmers’ plan their fields, when they plant for the season, and determine what harvesting methods are most effective. Panelists will showcase how UAS technology has been tested in the United States and how it can drastically alter how we harvest food and energy.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the financial and safety benefits of UAS use in agriculture, energy and other sectors
  • Discover how unmanned aerial systems can collect renewable energy
  • Gain insight on how unmanned systems can revolutionize today’s agricultural methods
  • Learn about new experiments involving unmanned systems and potential innovations

Moderator:David BirdEditor, Journal of Unmanned Vehicles Systems
Jeff SloanNational UAS Project Office Manager, United States Geological Survey
Robert BlairPresident, Idaho Grain Producers Association
Russ MetzlerDirector UAS Services, Asymmetric Technologies

12:00  1:15pm 

Break for Lunch

Take this opportunity to mingle with your peers in an intimate setting to build relationships and establish future partnerships. Lunch will be served on the exhibit floor.

Add Event to Calendar

1:15  1:55pm

Panel – Automated Vehicle Investment Opportunities & Growth

Every year, the United States loses $450 billion from traffic accidents and another $200 billion due to the economic and environmental impact of traffic congestion. These and other factors mean the Google car alone could create a potential $2 trillion a year in United States revenue, according to a study by Forbes magazine.

With this anticipated economic boom that automated vehicles can bring, investing in this technology is a savvy decision. This panel will discuss some of the investment opportunities in the automated vehicle market and analyze the effects it can have on various related industries.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover how much companies are investing in their automated vehicle projects
  • Note the various industries associated with the automated vehicle market
  • Gather information to create return on investment projections
  • Get a better idea of which industries will thrive because of automated vehicles and which may need to adjust their models to keep up

Moderator: Maryanna SaenkoResearch Analyst, Lux Research
Paul GodsmarkFounder & CTO, CAVCOE
Mark PlatshonManaging Director, Senior Advisor, Icebreaker Ventures, BMWi Ventures

2:00 – 2:40pm

Case Study – Shared Mobility & Autonomous Vehicles: Potential Effects & Impacts

Elliot Martin, Ph.D.
Assistant Research EngineerInstitute of Transportation Studies at University of California, Berkley

2:40  3:20pm 

Afternoon Networking Break

Take this opportunity to mingle with your peers in an intimate setting to build relationships and establish future partnerships. Refreshments & snacks will be served on the exhibit floor.

3:20  4:10pm

Panel – Trends Abroad: What We’ve Learned from the International Community

Many developed nations – including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia – have already enacted legislation for unmanned systems and seen the economic growth. Internationally, unmanned systems have been used for highly-specialized operations as well as everyday tasks, including: high-quality aerial photography, terrain mapping, dog walking, disaster response and monitoring wildlife habitats.

Speakers will discuss  examples of how unmanned systems have been beneficial abroad, what business models are working and where there is room for improvement.

 Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about innovative uses of unmanned technology around the world
  • Consider how previous and current international use of unmanned systems can be applied domestically
  • Identify potential trends in the US marketplace once UAS are introduced
  • Discover which technologies are growing the quickest in the international markets

David BirdEditor, Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems
John WalshCo-Director of Vanderbilt’s Program in Disaster Research and Training, National Center of Emergency Preparedness/Vanderbilt University

4:10  5:00pm

Panel – UAS Investment Opportunities & Growth  

After the passage of new FAA regulations, the total domestic economic impact of introducing unmanned aerial systems into the United States could reach more than $82 billion between now and 2025.

The potential for UAS growth and use – especially in the public safety and agriculture sectors – is astronomical. Investors and entrepreneurs have already jumped on this technology but investment opportunities are in their infancy.  In this discussion, panelists will focus on the latest trends in the UAS industry and analyze which investments may prove to be the most lucrative.

Learning Objectives:

  • Grasp the future growth of the UAS industry
  • Explore the most prominent uses for unmanned aerial technology in the United States
  • Discern which investment opportunities interest you the most
  • Learn about UAS opportunities in hardware versus software

Moderator: Bill CareySenior Editor, Aviation International News
David E. WeeklyFounder; Product Manager, drone.vc; Google
Matthew BieschkePresident; Managing Partner, UAS America Fund; NEXA Capital Partners
Craig LadkinPresident; Managing Director, SOAR Oregon; Focus Investment Banking
Ben BrautigamCo-Founder, Airnest

5:00  5:45pm 

Day 1 Closing Cocktail Reception

Don’t miss this interactive and fun reception amongst your colleagues and peers toasting an incredible day of thought leadership and collaboration.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Opening Remarks

8:50 – 9:40am

Panel – Unmanned Aerial Systems: Application to Commercialization  

Within the next five years, as many as 7,500 commercial unmanned aerial vehicles could be flying over towns in the United States. Filming, crop-spraying, parcel delivery and farmland surveillance are just a few examples of commercial uses for these vehicles.

The commercial UAS market has already taken off in countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom. With new FAA regulations on the horizon, this group of panelists will address how regulators and the private sector are exploring new ways to incorporate UAS in the United States.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review uses of commercial UAS abroad
  • Identify markets that could potentially use these systems
  • Demonstrate the potential for growth in industries that adopt unmanned aerial technology

Moderator: Gerald DillinghamDirector of Civil Aviation Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office

Billy GilillandPresident, General Atomics Systems Integrations, LLC
Mark DombroffPartner, Dentons 
Ron StearnsResearch Director, Aerospace Analytics
James MacklerAttorney at Law, Frost Brown Todd LLC


9:40 – 10:20am


Morning Networking Break

Take this opportunity to mingle with your peers in an intimate setting to build relationships and establish future partnerships. Refreshments & snacks will be served on the exhibit floor.

10:25 – 11:10am 

Opening Keynote: Lt. Gen. Kevin Mangum, US Army (TRADOC)

Lt. Gen. Mangum will discuss the US Army’s upcoming initiatives and lessons learned with respect to unmanned aerial and ground systems.

11:10  11:55am

Panel – FAA UAS Test Sites: Progress & Innovation

Nevada and Texas have started testing UAS, and more than a dozen businesses have already lined up to become a part of the state’s unmanned aerial vehicle programs. Nevada and five other states have been given special permission to test UAS before the Federal Aviation Administration creates its regulation policies. Texas, one of the six FAA UAS Test Sites is a leader in UAS research with over 300 hours of safe range operations supporting state agencies, industry and NASA. Texas ranges cover over 61,000 square miles. Texas leads the test sites with firsts in nationwide broad area operations, search and rescue/recovery activities and in BVLOS operations. In addition, several film studios and universities in the United States are actively testing unmanned aerial devices.

In this session, panelists will detail the progress of flight tests across the country and give a glimpse into potential FAA air traffic rulings.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain insight on university research produced by UAS test runs
  • Discover testers’ new uses for unmanned aerial systems
  • Gather information on progress made by state government agencies and the potential economy, environment and air traffic effects
  • Learn how today’s FAA-approved organizations are applying the business models of tomorrow

Moderator: Bill CareySenior Editor, Aviation International News
Warren “Bum” RappBusiness Director, NAASIC
Jerry HendrixExecutive Director, Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation

11:55 – 1:15pm 

Break for Lunch

Take this opportunity to mingle with your peers in an intimate setting to build relationships and establish future partnerships. Lunch will be served on the exhibit floor.

1:20  2:05pm

Panel – Automated Vehicle Technology Challenges

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk has said truly autonomous cars may be a reality within the decade. To get there, software for mapping systems, external cameras and vehicle sensors must continue to evolve.

Companies like Google and Tesla have made major strides in automated vehicle technology, but obstacles such as construction zones and social cues on the road create programming challenges. This discussion will focus on the biggest technological obstacles facing the development of automated vehicles and how companies are attempting to overcome them.

Learning Objectives:

  • Grasp the biggest technology challenges companies are facing in automated vehicle creation
  • Discover approaches businesses are taking to account for human elements
  • Determine potential solutions and innovative ideas to battle these challenges

Moderator: Maryanna SaenkoResearch Analyst, Lux Research
Luca DelgrossiU.S. Director, Autonomous Driving, Mercedes-Benz R&D North America

2:05 – 2:45pm

Case Study – Privacy in the UAS Age

Jared Bomberg
Associate, Washington, D.C.
Hogan Lovells 


2:45  3:25pm 

Afternoon Networking Break

Take this opportunity to mingle with your peers in an intimate setting to build relationships and establish future partnerships. Refreshments & snacks will be served on the exhibit floor.

3:30  4:15pm

Panel – Policy Requirements for Integrating Autonomous Systems

The Google car has already reached the NHSTA’s Level 3 (limited self-driving automation) of automated vehicle development and only one level is above that: full self-driving automation. But vehicle-to-vehicle communication, civilian testing and policy creation are just some of the factors that must be addressed before fully-automated vehicles become a reality in our daily lives.

This session’s panel will review what is required to ensure a car is ready for the public environment, the challenges developers and policy makers face and how close we really are to having autonomous vehicles on the road.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the obstacles policy makers need to tackle before fully integrating automated vehicles
  • Gain insight on the technologies that need to be improved to reach full self-driving automation
  • Understand the social perception of autonomous vehicles on the road

Steve BrownBoard of Commissioners, Fayette County (Ga.)
Timothy PapandreouDirector of Strategic Planning & Policy, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
James Dreisbach-TowlePrincipal Technology Program Manager, SANDAG

4:15  5:00pm

Panel- UAS Technology: Current and Future Trends   

Companies like DreamHammer and Lockheed Martin are already aiming to create “the Windows” of unmanned vehicles operating systems. OEMs are constantly updating their hardware to create the most aerodynamic devices that can navigate indoor and outdoor environments with ease. The success of these innovations will be a major stepping stone to increased government approval for unmanned systems.

To capture consumer interest and trust, the aerial systems’ software and hardware must be highly reliable and error-free. These panelists will detail the latest technology trends associated with unmanned systems and give a peak into what programs are in development.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the capabilities of current unmanned systems software and hardware
  • Explore the future research and development of these programs
  • Identify which improvements are critical to the success of unmanned systems

Moderator: Kate StyersPrincipal Analyst, Tecolote Research Inc.
John McGrawFounder; Deputy Director, Flight Standards Service, John McGraw Aerospace Consulting; FAA (former)
Andy von StauffenbergFounder and CEO, VStar Systems; Northrop Grumman Chief Engineer (Former)
Harrison WolfLead Researcher & Developer, Aviation Safety & Security Program, University of Southern California
Stephen Iaquinto, Jr.Vice President of Operations / CSO, NJ UAS Test Site Project Director


5:00  5:45pm 

Day 2 Closing Cocktail Reception

Don’t miss this interactive and fun reception amongst your colleagues and peers toasting another incredible day of thought leadership and collaboration.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Opening Remarks

9:00 – 10:10am

Panel – Future Growth and Innovation in Unmanned Systems

The many ways we use the Internet today were unimaginable when it was being constructed years and years ago. Similarly, unmanned systems will one day be used in ways that most of us would never envision. What opportunities and innovations may become commonplace across the globe 10, 20 or even 50 years from now? Panelists will discuss how much unmanned systems can grow and how prevalent they can become in our daily lives.

Learning Objectives:

  • Imagine new ways unmanned systems can be used in the distant future
  • Develop a better understanding of how massive the industry can become
  • Learn how future generations will grow up with unmanned systems being the norm
  • Learn about technologies leading the way

Moderator: Dawn M.K. ZoldiColonel, USAF, Staff Judge Advocate, Princeton University
Alain KornhauserDirector of Transportation Program, Princeton University
Helmuth Ritzer, CTO, moovel
Keith Kaplan, CEO, Tesla Foundation/UAVSA
Hulsey Smith, Chairman and Executive Officer, Aero Kinetics

10:15 – 11:00am

Case Study: Automated Vehicle Interface & Human Interaction

A joint study by Virginia Tech Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the human element of automated and connected vehicles.

Greg Fitch, Ph.D.Research Scientist & User Experience Group Leader, Center for Automated Vehicle SystemsVirginia Tech Transportation Institute

11:00  11:40am 

Morning Networking Break

Take this opportunity to mingle with your peers in an intimate setting to build relationships and establish future partnerships. Refreshments & snacks will be served on the exhibit floor.

11:45 – 12:30pm 

Fireside Chat: Section 333 Exempt Companies

A discussion with leaders of companies who have received Section 333-exemption status from the Federal Aviation Administration. Speakers will reflect on the growth of their businesses since receiving the FAA’s approval, as well as the obstacles they faced along the way. Those applying for 333-exemption status or simply awaiting the FAA’s new established guidelines for commercial UAS operation will be able to hear from chief officers that have lived the process.

Brian Whiteside, President, VDOS Global LLC
Jon Oilwerther, VP, Marketing & Operations, AeroCine


Conference Closing Remarks