Precision Agriculture

Increase your crop yield through automated aerial imaging and management with our agriculture-focused sessions. These 60-minute classes and panels will emphasize the use of drones, techniques and technologies for detailed farming management, including data collection and analysis, remote sensing and multispectral imagery. Attend these sessions to see how drones are poised to replace expensive alternatives like helicopters and planes as well as increase productivity on the farm.

Tuesday, September 4th

Pre-Conference Workshop: Part 107 Training

Full-Day Workshop

11:00 AM – 5:30 PM


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.


• 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


• 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


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.


• 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


• 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

Drone Remote Sensing and the Case for Robotic Agriculture


8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Track: Precision Agriculture

Speaker: Charles Malveaux

Advances in micro-controllers, multispectral cameras, and sensors has resulted in the creation of light-weight drone aircraft with powerful remote sensing capabilities. These remote sensing capabilities lend themselves well to precision agriculture. Related advances in land based robotics and agriculture equipment has resulted in precision guidance and application systems for agriculture. Now drones can act as part of a precision agriculture neural network made up of both aerial and land based sensor nodes working in conjunction with ground based co-robotic systems to create a sustainable precision farming ecosystem. The USDA has asked researchers to develop these co-robotic systems in recent grant proposals. With increasing populations and the need for greater farm efficiency, coupled with a dwindling labor force willing to do manual labor on farms, robotic agricultural systems and robotic farming will be a big part of the future of agriculture. This presentation will cover this topic in depth and also provide an overview from the perspective of a technologist of what will need to occur in order to make robotic precision farming a reality.

As part of the talk, we will discuss in detail the 9 key elements needed as part of an automated agricultural system.

FAA Regulations: The Latest Outlook


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.

Spray Drones in Agriculture


11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: Precision Agriculture

Speaker: Robert Blair

When agriculture and drones are mentioned together, most people think about images and remote sensing data. Well, there is another way that drones can make an impact in agriculture and that is doing aerial application. This class will talk about the history of aerial application in agriculture and how spray drones can fill a niche today. It will also cover the rules, regulations, and challenges spray drones are and will be facing. Session content will include basic agronomic aspects of why any type of treatment is needed and the how and where drones will play a role. This is the next logical step that drones will be taking for agriculture purposes and the instructor will bring a lifetime of farming experience and over a decade of precision agriculture and drone utilization to you.

How to Prove Safety: Gaining BVLOS and Part 107 Waiver


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.

Partnerships and the Future of the Commercial Drone Industry Landscape


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.

Moving Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management Forward: The Current Landscape


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


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


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

Drones in Precision Agriculture: An End-User’s Perspective


2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Track: Precision Agriculture

Moderator: Chad Colby

Drones in Precision Agriculture: Cutting-Edge Technology


3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Track: Precision Agriculture

Speakers: Jaime Machuca, Charles Malveaux, Michael Ritter

From multispectral and hyperspectral imaging to mapping and data analysis, UAV data-driven technology in the Precision Agriculture space is constantly evolving. Learn from industry-leading companies that are developing these technologies for farmers on what’s to come as well as when it’s best to use a particular solution for your Precision Agriculture needs.

Friday, September 7th

Do Drones Disturb Wildlife?


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.

UAV Adoption on the Farm


11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: Precision Agriculture

Speaker: Michael Ritter

How do drones factor into the future of farming? Why are they the optimal platform for measuring crop performance? What kind of results are early adopters seeing today? What will we see tomorrow? What does it take to drive sustained use and new adoption?

From the abundance of new technology available to the farm, the low-altitude drone is unique. There is no better platform from which to assess field conditions which can drive improved production performance and more accurate yield forecasts, from the small family farm to multinational enterprises. And that is changing the industry.

In this session, we will discuss these important questions and several more that are driving adoption across the industry:

• Advances in drone usability

• Remote sensing and analytics capabilities which address more specific problems on the farm to deliver more highly valued data

• Improved system scalability across large enterprise operations

• Drone data integration with other on-farm platforms and analytics

Drones and the Power of Artificial Intelligence


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.