Development and Hardware

Take a deep dive into the hardware and software that makes the commercial drone revolution possible. Whether you operate a mutlirotor or fixed-wing drone, these 60-minute sessions and panels will cover hardware components such as sensors and payloads as well as mastering VTOL (vertical take-off and landing), pre-flight planning and autopilots.


Tuesday, September 4th

Pre-Conference Workshop: Part 107 Training

Full-Day Workshop

11:00 AM – 5:30 PM

All

Speakers: Enrico Schaefer, Tony Sauerbrey

This all-day training session will focus on the essential areas to study for the Part 107 Knowledge Test. Course content and objectives will include Part 107 rules and regulations, aeronautical charts, weather patterns and National Airspace System (NAS), as well as eligibility requirements to be able to take the FAA written knowledge test.

This session will cover more than just the fine details of what you need to know for the Knowledge Test, but also provide you with insight on how to think and operate like a professional commercial drone pilot and provide you with everyday examples that remote pilots may encounter when out performing commercial flight operations for themselves or their clients. This session will be a comprehensive overview to assist you with preparation for taking the Part 107 Knowledge Test and think about the next steps beyond the Knowledge Test.

THOSE OTHER TOPS/TIPS TO INCLUDE:

• Following policies and practices such as pre-flight and post-flight checklist for every drone flight operations

• Online test prep resources (handout)

• Industry Standards

• FAA Past Practices and the direction they are moving forward with

YOU WILL WALK AWAY WITH KNOWLEDGE REGARDING:

• Understanding Part 107 Regulations

• Understanding and identifying the various classes of controlled, uncontrolled, and Special Use airspace.

• An understanding of how to read and interpret aeronautical chart symbology.

• Planning methods to translate a location on street/satellite maps into an aeronautical chart.

• Understanding of Aeronautical Decision Making and human factors affecting safe flight.

• Understanding basic weather principles.

• Interpreting weather reports and forecasts.


Pre-Confernce Workshop: Drone Startup 101: Finding Your Fortune in the Drone Industry

Half-Day Workshop

2:00 PM – 5:30 PM

All

Speakers: Allen Scott Beach, Andrea Beach

This half-day workshop will focus on helping you find success in the drone industry. We will cover everything from deciding what kind of business to start to sales, marketing and the top 5 checklist. We will help you simplify the process of starting and running a successful drone company, and discuss simple strategies such as: “Do what you know,” “There is nothing more important than sales” and “Be willing to throw out the status quo.” While no one can guarantee your success, what is guaranteed is that there’s no chance of success if you never begin.

OTHER TOPICS AND TIPS TO INCLUDE:

• Drone Opportunities Abound: Selecting what’s right for you.

• Trail Blazers: Learn from those that have gone before you.

• How to build a competitive advantage

• Marketing on a shoestring

• The hunt for start-up capital

YOU WILL WALK AWAY WITH:

• The key components of starting a drone business

• A myriad of viable options for drone start-ups

• An understanding of what it takes to be successful


Wednesday, September 5th

Counter-UAS (C-UAS) Solutions – When Drones are not Welcome

Panel

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Track: Development and Hardware

Moderator: Michael Blades

Speakers: Timothy Bean, Anthony DeMolina, Max Klein

In the commercial industry, drones are commonplace, but what about when they’re not welcomed around an airport, prison or stadium? This panel will discuss current counter-UAS (C-UAS) solutions, including the use of software to detect aerial intrusions and acoustic technology to pick up an incoming drone into a protected area. Learn about other countermeasures on the horizon and which technology is best to use and when.


The Future of Chips and Sensors Powering Next-Gen Drones

Panel

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: Development and Hardware

Speaker: Max Klein

Microprocessors and controllers are the brains of all electronic devices today, including drones. The processing power behind these chips is staggering, leading to longer flight times and other efficiencies. And the precision today’s sensors can offer is allowing greater control and dramatically increasing the value of commercial UAVs. Learn from this panel of leading OEMs about breakthroughs in chips and sensors, and what they mean for the future of the commercial UAV industry.


FAA Regulations: The Latest Outlook

Panel

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Christopher Korody

Speakers: Lydia Hilton, Anthony Zakel

With a new administrator at the helm of the FAA, what has changed? What has stayed the same? What do you think should be addressed next and how do you express your views? This panel is designed as an open forum to ask questions to an esteemed lineup of lawmakers and legal experts as well as cover what you need to know to safely and legally fly your drone.


How to Prove Safety: Gaining BVLOS and Part 107 Waiver

Class

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: All

Speaker: Adam Robertson

This session will address the key ways to establish proof of safety in your drone program, and discuss how to achieve BVLOS for UAV and steps for securing a Part 107 Waiver. An autonomous drone revolution is underway to tap the economic potential of the vast and largely empty airspace overhead. Drones are already an indispensable part of the daily workflow in many industries, including search and rescue, construction, mining, agriculture, real estate and film making. Emerging UAV capabilities such as large infrastructure inspection, border patrol and package transport require safe beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) services to be economically viable. So, what’s the best solution to achieving BVLOS?

Many solutions claim to enable safer flight and detect-and-avoid capabilities; however, radar is proven to be a superior solution to help UAV and operators achieve BVLOS. The FAA has prioritized radar as the key technology for development in achieving optimal safety and security in the airspace. This talk will discuss key developments to radar solutions, including machine learning, AI, software enhancement for data mapping and more, all which can be deployed and applied to most any kind of drone.

The class will also outline the steps necessary to secure the critical Part 107 Waiver for operation in controlled airspace, helping companies to save time and resources on the process. While the FAA has attempted to streamline the application process through its DroneZone portal, there are some key things you will learn that can facilitate the process. The 107 Waiver allows for UAVs to operate at night, over people, flight from a moving vehicle or truck, operate multiple aircraft with a single pilot, fly beyond visual line of sight, flight above 400 feet, and fly near airports and other protected airspace.

You will walk away knowing how the use of radar and gaining a Part 107 Waiver can help unlock the many benefits that a world of drone commerce can offer.


Developing the Next Generation of Drones – Technology and Manufacturing Insights

Class

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Track: Development and Hardware

Speaker: Colin Guinn

This class will cover a number of specific topics on the drone technology side, including batteries and new energy types, propulsion options, drone architecture, gimbals and cameras, long range link and autopilots. It will also go into the merits and potential of manufacturing in the US or Europe versus in Asia, and considerations around ensuring your company is correctly thinking through testing and scaling its product builds, with specific anecdotes and lessons from the successes and failures of previous projects.


Customizing Enterprise Drone Programs with DJI’s Developer Technologies

Class

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Track: Development and Hardware

Speaker: Arnaud Thiercelin 

As enterprises across a multitude of industries have started their drone programs, the question now becomes how does it scale?

The answer to this question will be different for each enterprise, and therefore DJI has built a suite of developer technologies that enable firms to easily create their own solution through customization and automation tools for their fleet of DJI drones.

This class will explain what you can do with DJI’s developer technologies, how leading enterprises have leveraged them and what are the next steps for enabling your enterprise.


Partnerships and the Future of the Commercial Drone Industry Landscape

Panel

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Michael Blades

Speakers: Derek Lyons, Joshua Ziering, Jan Gasparic

The commercial drone ecosystem is changing almost as rapidly as the technology that drives it. This panel will discuss, from both a US and global view, how the commercial drone services market has transitioned from a stove-piped development approach to a race to provide a one-stop shop for all-in-one services supporting various industries. However, not all partnerships are as beneficial as they seem while others hit solution services out the park. This panel will cover what these partnerships mean for the commercial drone ecosystem as well as the opportunities they may produce or possibly eliminate through their synergies.


Best Practice for Safety-Critical Software

Class

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: Development and Hardware

Speaker: Keenan Johnson

Software that runs on unmanned aircraft or other physical systems is inherently more dangerous than other types of software such as websites. Therefore, developers working on such systems must be rigorous in the design, implementation, testing, and deployment of their software.

This talk will discuss best practices and lessons learned for teams developing safety-critical software. Specifically, we will discuss the following topics:

  • How to design high reliability software
  • The interaction between hardware and software desig
  • Implementation details of high reliability software, including:
    • The importance of execution timing
    • Tips for memory allocation and management
    • The importance of causal systems
  • The importance of design and implementation review
  • Code review tooling and best practice
  • Desired tooling and infrastructure for software development and test teams
  • The different types of testing including hardware in the loop testing
  • Deployment practices for safety critical software

If you are a software developer working with safety critical systems, work with software teams, or have interest in what working on a professional software team is like, then this talk is for you!


Moving Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management Forward: The Current Landscape

Panel

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Jim Williams

Speakers: Biruk Abraham, Mark Aitken, Marke “Hoot” Gibson

In the first half of this 120-minute panel, the current landscape of UTM will be discussed from policy and regulatory standpoints. With programs like Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) rolling out, the path to flying quickly, legally and safely is becoming more streamlined. But what’s the state of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations? Where does UAS remote tracking and identification currently stand? This panel of industry-leading experts with discuss these topics as well as the reality of implementation and integration into our National Airspace System (NAS).


Moving Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management Forward: The Future Landscape

Panel

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Jim Williams

Speakers: Matt Fanelli

The second half of this 120-minute panel will cover the path forward for UTM from a technical, real-world implementation standpoint. You will hear from the companies that are facilitating the advancement of UTM through their solutions and programs, and learn what resources are available to you now for flying quickly, legally and safely. The future vision for fully integrating drones into our National Airspace System (NAS) will also be discussed.


Harnessing the Power of Your Drone Data

Panel

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: All

Speakers: Amit Ganjoo, Marty Scholl

Drones gather a trove of information and data, but how do you turn that data into actionable business insights? From the collection process to analysis and decision making, this panel will cover the best ways to harness the data in your pipeline while increasing productivity and your bottom line.


Thursday, September 6th

Counting Sheep with Drones and AI

Class

8:45 AM – 9:45 AM

Track: Development and Hardware

Speaker: Godfrey Nolan

This class is a hands-on guide to adding AI to your drone’s mobile app to count sheep in a field. Using Google’s Tensorflow we can relatively quickly add trained models to any Android app. After a brief overview of machine learning and how to use machine learning in Android apps, you’ll see how to process the video from a drone app so we can use the AI to literally count how many sheep there are in the farmer’s field. You’ll see how we trained the model, implemented the app and tested it in the real world.


Friday, September 7th

Take Charge: Battery Life Innovations on the Horizon

Panel

8:45 AM – 9:45 AM

Track: Development and Hardware

Speakers: Callie Mortimer, Phil Robinson

There is never enough battery time – or at least there is always a tradeoff between flight-time and payload. As larger, heavier, more powerful drones penetrate enterprise markets, we’re going to need more power delivered efficiently. From tethered drones that offer unlimited power to the more “futuristic” Hydrogen fuel cell drone, this panel of experts will discuss what sort of solutions are on the horizon, and the pros and cons to each.


Do Drones Disturb Wildlife?

Panel

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: All

Moderator: David Bird

Speakers: Dr. David Johnston, Jeff Sloan

Drones are being embraced more and more by biologists and conservationists all over the world as a useful tool to count, detect, track and observe wildlife. However, not all agree with their use. Some feel that these sometimes noisy machines can pose a hazard to wildlife and they want their use curtailed through stricter regulations or even banned in some places. This panel, composed of experts using drones to study wildlife, will discuss the pros and cons of adopting these machines for this purpose and what steps we must take to make more effective use of the technology. During the discussion, you will also learn about the latest successes (and failures) in their use.


Scaling and Architecting Smart Embedded Software Teams for Large-Scale Autonomous Efforts

Class

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: Development and Hardware

Speaker: DJ Daugherty

Integrating hardware and embedded software is always a challenge, but when it gets really interesting is when you need to do it at scale. This talk will discuss several factors that affect your ability to do embedded software at scale:

• Criticality and complexity of the software (i.e. smart toaster vs. autonomous drone) – the more features, algorithms, and safety implications a project needs to deal with the more important it is to have things like self-validating specifications. As hardware complexity rises, quality software is of utmost importance to ensure functional safety in safety-critical embedded systems.

• Scaling the number of teams, vendors, and locations – increased organizational complexity in development effort make it critical to have solid techniques to divide and conquer while continuously integrating.

• Understand the level of Innovation – as teams scale there is a tendency to sink back into inefficient strategies.


Patrolling for Plutonium: Using Drones to Detect Radiation Sources

Class

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: Public Safety | Development and Hardware

Speakers: Thomas Bull, Terence Powell

In this session, the instructors will cover how they built on the experience of chemical and radiation monitoring for the World Cup and Olympics to transform a commercial small UAS into an integrated radiation sensor detection, identification, and monitoring solution. A UAS’ mission is simple. Go and search for excessive amounts of radiation readings in various environments to include rail cars, shipping containers, public events, and other areas. This results in significantly reducing the search time while maintaining a safe distance and exposure rate for public safety personnel in potentially contaminated areas. The class will describe a system that allows one drone operator to patrol a wide area while the drone remotely reports the readings in real time to the command post and emergency operation centers. Additionally, our presentation will cover the hardware and software systems of the application. The hardware discussion describes the drone and communications technologies of the solution, and the software discussion will cover the graphical user interface that maps the drone location and detection readings for one or multiple counter-radiation drones. We conclude the session by tying the complete system together and exploring potential uses of the system by First Responders.


Drones and the Power of Artificial Intelligence

Panel

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Miram McNabb

Speakers: Jaime Machuca

Drones and Artificial Intelligence seem to go hand in hand now, and it’s easy to see why. With computer vision technology capable of collision avoidance, and systems smart enough to learn and operate on behalf of the human operator, AI could be the conduit for safely and reliably integrating drones into our National Airspace System (NAS) and the path to expanding flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The use cases are endless as are the opportunities. Learn about them and more in this panel.


Small UAS Logic

Class

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM

Track: Development and Hardware

Speaker: Kevin Jenkins

This class covers the logic behindo common autonomous flight planning and operations elements. This will include preflight, arming, takeoff, waypoints, surveys, landings, and failsafe features. We will also discuss the logic behind various common flight modes and how they can be used. The preflight section will focus on the calibration of sensors, particularly the airspeed sensor, and how they can impact flight. We will move on to discuss the various safeguards which can prevent arming. Takeoff, waypoints, and landings will be covered for both multirotor and fixed-wing aircraft. More advanced landing features such as two-stage landing and wind detection will also be discussed. We will take an in depth look at the finer points of photo survey planning including GSD and overlap and how these factors relate to data collection. The goal of this class is to provide beginning and intermediate small UAS operators with a better understanding of autonomous logic in order to improve flight planning and general operations.


Alternative Energy: New Power Sources

Class

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: Development and Hardware

Speakers: Patrick Sherman, Brian Zvaigzne

Virtually all multirotor UAS flying today rely on Lithium-Polymer (LiPo) batteries as their primary power source. The most energy dense battery chemistry available today, LiPos nevertheless have important drawbacks. They can cause fires if damaged or charged incorrectly, and most platforms using LiPos are limited to approximately a 20-minute flying time. In this session, the Roswell Flight Test Crew will examine current and future alternative power sources. These include: Lithium-Sulfur batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and gas-electric hybrid systems. While each have advantages and drawbacks, all promise to substantially extend the flight time of multirotor drones.


Preview of Proposed Part 107 Flight Over People Parachute Recovery System Requirements

Class

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: Development and Hardware | Business

Speaker: Gene Engelgau

Interested in Flight over people? Be one of the first to know how the proposed Flight Over People rules being worked on now by the ASTM F0.38 committee may affect you when it comes to parachute safety. We will cover the research of the FAA’s ASSURE study that motivated the move to eventually mandate parachutes for flight over people. In detail, you will learn what the certification process will be, like weight + impact energy requirements and mandatory airworthiness testing. We will breakdown the necessary components for creating a PRS for each type of UAS. Also what is needed to both trigger the PRS and terminate flight. This session will also provide insight into why this will not be possible with certain types of consumer drones and the barriers that have kept manufactures from wanting to implement parachute recovery in the first place. We will cover the ways in which having a parachute recovery system or PRS can benefit your business. This will include factors like business continuance, cost of failure, regulatory issues, and insurance. This topic will affect much of the drone industry soon. Don’t miss your chance to learn from the industry’s leading parachute expert.