5–9 June 2017
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado


DEMAND for UNMANNED registered logo

6-7 June 2017

“AIAA's diverse membership understands the UAS challenge from all perspectives... technical, legal, institutional and cultural. Who could better address it?” —Mike Francis, Chief, Advanced Programs & Senior Fellow, United Technologies Research Center

Within months of the FAA requiring drone registrations for sUAS, the number of drone registrations quickly exceeded those of piloted aircraft. When we coined the term “demand for unmanned” we had an inkling of the community's desire to fly sUAS for both recreational and for business purposes, but no clear understanding of just how much pent up demand existed.

Now, in its second year, our DEMAND for UNMANNED® UAS symposium brings the UAS and aviation system stakeholders together to discuss and collaborate on research challenges and advancement strategies. Engineers, researchers, developers, pilots, and regulators from academia, government, and industry will explore how unmanned systems are catalysts for autonomy, robotics, and machine intelligence, and how they are transforming the nature of civil and military aviation. Discover cutting-edge technologies that will advance UAS developments and missions

“What we are doing is bringing UAS users, the people who have applications and missions, together with the research and technology community and with the regulatory communities so they can talk about advancing UAS designs and capabilities. We are looking for solutions for future UAS applications that are acceptable to the public. Only if all of these things happen—the convergence of technology, regulation, and societal acceptance—will we realize the full potential of unmanned systems.” —Sandy Magnus, Executive Director, AIAA

With more than 2,000 participants from nearly 40 countries, AIAA AVIATION Forum and DEMAND for UNMANNED® is the perfect event for inspired idea exchange for this exploding market. 


Host: I. J. Hudson, former Technology Reporter, NBC4 Washington, D.C. (WRC-TV)

The Evolving Culture of Aviation
Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 0930-1130 hrs

We’ve seen a dramatic increase in “new entrants” to global airspace systems. The demand for unmanned and the need to accommodate UAS has grown as commercial and recreational opportunities are enabled by rapidly evolving technology. Similarly, commercial space operations are growing, and researchers are envisioning even more disruptive technologies, such as personal air transportation solutions. Regulators and operators must perform a delicate balancing act: accommodating dramatic changes in the users and types of uses of airspace, while maintaining the safety and security of the system. Key stakeholders on both sides will discuss how new users are adapting their solutions to meet safety and certification criteria, and how our current systems and processes can be modified to more easily accommodate these rapid changes more easily while also maintaining safety and efficiency.

  • Glenn Roberts, Chief Engineer, Center for Advanced Aviation System Development, The MITRE Corporation (Moderator)
  • Jonathan Evans, Co-President, Skyward, A Verizon Company
  • Jesse Kallman, Commercial UAS, Airbus Aerial
  • Van Espahbodi, Co-Founder and COO, Starburst Accelerator
  • Wes Ryan, Manager, Programs and Procedures (Advanced Technology), Small Airplane Directorate, Federal Aviation Administration

AVIATION Forum Awards Luncheon
Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1230-1400 hrs

The Verification and Validation of Intelligent Machines
Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1415-1545 hrs

Robotics are used extensively in many industrial sectors. While many of today’s robots still perform only a single function, or at best several functions, the move is to increase capability where the machine or robot, using AI software, is continuously teaching itself to improve its function or even perform new functions. This panel will explore how aerospace needs to evolve its thinking and approach to the verification and validation of such machines, or robots, and what this might mean to the smart, autonomous, UAVs of the future.

  • Mike Francis, Chief, Advanced Programs and Senior Fellow, Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, United Technologies Research Center (Moderator)
  • Noah Flood, Aviation & Autonomy Consultant, Delta Air Lines, Inc.
  • Paul Nielsen, Director and CEO, Software Engineering Institute
  • Scott Strimple, Director of Training and Education, The Drone Flight School
  • Alessandro Pinto, Project Leader, Embedded Intelligence, United Technologies Research Center
  • Fritz Langford, Chief Engineer, Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System, Aurora Flight Sciences

Unique Applications Session Lightning Talks
Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1600-1700 hrs

Hear from individuals and entrepreneurs about exciting concepts, ideas, and products including long duration/high-altitude vehicle technologies, airplane maps to aid commercial pilots, UAS traffic management systems with potential for beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations, flight safety technologies including airplane maps to aid commercial pilots, safety risk management, and utilizing industry best practices and standards to make each mission count. Speakers:

  • Chris Kucera, Director of Air Operations, Analytical Graphics, Inc.
  • Rob Parenti, Senior Technical Marketing Engineer, Alta Devices
  • Aaron Greenwald, President, Unmanned Safety Institute
  • Calvin Rieb, Vice President, Helicopter & Unmanned Services, PRISM (a subsidiary of ARGUS International)

Beyond the Robots: Toward Situated Autonomy
Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 0800-0900 hrs

David Mindell, MIT Professor and founder of Humatics Corporation, takes a long view of robotics and unmanned vehicles. In this talk he speaks about what we have learned from autonomy and robotics in extreme environments, how those lessons are being applied to create value in manufacturing and industry. New technologies can help situate robotics in human (economic) environments and enable us to engineer the relationships between people, robots, and infrastructure.

  • David Mindell, Founder and CEO, Humatics Corporation, and Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Human-Machine Interaction
Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 0930-1130 hrs

  • Dale Richards, Senior Research Fellow, Human Factors, Coventry University (Moderator)
  • Danette Allen, NASA Senior Technologist for Intelligent Flight Systems, NASA Langley Research Center
  • Andrew Lacher, Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Research Strategist - Senior Principal, The MITRE Corporation
  • David Mindell, Founder and CEO, Humatics Corporation and Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Solutions to UAS Air Traffic Management (UTM) Challenges
Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 1400-1530 hrs

The NASA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) will one day enable civilian low-altitude airspace.   While Part 107 has fueled a rapid growth in UAS operations in uncontrolled airspace under 400 feet, these are still by and large UAS operations in fairly uncongested areas. There is a need for establishing infrastructure that will enable, and safely manage the widespread use of low-altitude, congested airspace for UAS operations, regardless of the type of UAS. Hear about the real-time results of NASA’s flight demonstration—planned for this week—of this highly automated UAS air traffic management system.  

NASA’s UTM team will join us live from the NASA Ames Research Center and provide real-time results of NASA’s flight demonstration of this highly automated UAS air traffic management system. Participants:

  • I. J. Hudson, Host, DEMAND for UNMANNED®
  • John Cavolowsky, Director, Airspace Operations and Systems Program, NASA Aeronautics Research Directorate
  • NASA UTM team live from NASA Ames Research Center

UAS Airship Carrier Concepts: CONOPS for Long-Duration Airborne UAS Operations
Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 1600-1730 hrs

This panel is designed to stimulate discussion within the UAS community on the idea of using airships as airborne carriers for UAS aircraft engaged in commercial and military missions. The panelists will address the new capabilities of modern airship technologies and how an airborne UAS Carrier airship operating as a “flying UAS base” can launch, recover, and re-launch an assortment of UAS vehicles. The panel will consider innovative UAS CONOPS and the potential advantages that a long-endurance airship could offer for the many new and novel UAS vehicles and UAS swarming management systems currently operated exclusively from ground sites or ships.

  • Oleg Yakimenko, Director, Autonomous Systems Engineering and Integration Laboratory, Systems Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School
  • Michael O'Neal, Director, Modeling and Simulation, Marine Corps Systems Command, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Paul Adams, Airship Pilot, TP International Inc.

DEMAND for UMMANNED & Transformational Electric Flight Workshop Reception
Wednesday, 7 June, 2017, 1730-1830 hrs

IDEA Competition—Innovative Drone Exploration and Application Competition

When it comes to autonomous aerial vehicles—the sky is the limit! With that in mind, AIAA and Drone World Expo have come together to challenge you. We want to encourage new ideas that connect the UAS-related R&D and end-user communities. Learn More.

Discover Aerospace Research that Drives Innovation

The foundation of aerospace systems is dependent on reliable autonomous systems—from the Sperry Corporation’s first autopilot and Draper's inertial navigation system, only the most rudimentary air or space travel would be possible without the myriad autonomy-of-flight technologies invented and implemented since the earliest days of flight.

For almost 90 years, members of AIAA—and its predecessor societies—have been involved in nearly every advancement in modern U.S. aerospace. Their expertise and ingenuity has shaped everything from major space missions to the modernization of our aviation systems, to the many inventive uses of aerospace technology that make the world safer, more connected, more accessible, and more prosperous.

Search AIAA’s Aerospace Research Central (ARC) and you’ll find more than 14,000 references in technical research documents with the term “autonomous” and almost 10,000 when you search for the term “unmanned aerial” among the more than 230,000 technical articles. The first reference to possible autonomous flight is found in Volume 4 of the 1937 edition of Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences. Discover thousands of research documents from the dawn of the era of modern aviation to today in ARC.

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