Drone TechCon Partner Conference

  • Room: B202, B203, B204
Wednesday, May 06, 2015: 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM



Workshop Agenda


Wednesday, May 6th 


10:30 AM - 11:20 AM

Panel: Commercial Drone Integration

Learn from a panel of experts about the possibility and reality of urban integration of commercial drone operations. Where are companies today and what is possible in the future? The panel will be moderated by Jonathan Evans, CEO of Skyward, the company spearheading the Urban Skyways Project alongside the Small UAV Coalition, and will include input from manufacturers, end users, and regulatory experts.

Panelists:  Jonathan Evans, CEO, Skyward; Jon Resnick, policy, DJI; Parimal Kopardekar (PK), Manager of the NASA's Safe Autonomous System Operations (SASO) project; Tom Hallman, President, Pictorvision Inc


11:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Developing Pilot Operating Handbook, Flight Operation Manuals, and Implementing a Safety Management System B204

The objective of this class is to inform pilots how to develop a comprehensive Safety Management System for their small UAS operation. This includes the development of a Pilot Operating Handbook (POH), a Flight Operation Manual (FOM) and safety tools. Airlines and other manned aircraft have developed these tools for pilots to create a standardized and safe environment. By establishing standard procedures, everyone involved in the operation understands what to expect from each operation, and can assist to make sure safe practices are being followed. A POH will ensure every pilot and required crewmember has the same baseline knowledge and understanding of the aircraft to better perform the duties of PIC. With the implantation of a SMS the company, as well as the industry, will be able to identify and track unsafe recurring practices or habits. This will allow us as pilots to mitigate and further enhance safety of UAS operations throughout the country.

Speakers: Jonathan T. Freye, the Director for Policy and Strategy, and Creative Directoy, Aerius Flight; Jeremy Barber, Chief Pilot at Aerius Flight


11:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Embedded Computer Vision for UASs B203

Computer Vision is poised to unleash the next-gen unmanned vehicles that will understand their environment well enough to avoid hazardous situations. Computer Vision algorithms, coupled with light-weight, low-power, affordable hardware from Embedded Systems, will enable autonomous navigation beyond the operator’s line of sight.

We will present how Computer Vision works and the functionality it can bring to UASs. We’ll discuss the advantages of using 3D depth cameras over monocular cameras for obstacle avoidance and parking or docking. We’ll look at visual SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) and visual tracking to assist in autonomous navigation in GPS-denied environments. We’ll study place and object recognition using CV to identify and recall landmarks.

Ultimately, we will come to recognize the challenges in implementing vision algorithms on size- and power-constrained devices aboard a fast-moving vehicle. We’ll consider specific use cases and study how different embedded vision set-ups fare with respect to processor architecture, hardware-optimized libraries, and development platforms.
Speaker: Goksel Dedeoglu, Ph.D., is the Founder and Lab Director, PercepTonic 


11:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Build Your Own Flying Drone B202

Whether you are an electronics wizard or you needed the kid down the street to program your VCR, you CAN build your own flying drone. Of course, it helps to know where to start. This class is comprised of lessons learned from professional UAV technicians that can help you to avoid potential pitfalls to build a dependable, safe aircraft. We will discuss the merits of various airframes and flight controllers (3DR and DJI systems) as well as the implementation of a video or FPV system. This discussion is intended to be a comprehensive introduction to small unmanned systems for those looking to enter the field.

Speaker: Kevin Jenkins


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Lunch Break



1:10 PM - 2:00 PM

Building a Thought-Controlled Drone B203

This class dives into the intricacies of working with cognitive thought input and mapping that to real world control of a semi-autonomous drone. This covers the SDK for input from the Brain-Computer Interface and the API for controlling the drone. The Brain-Computer Interface devices started on the desktop, but mobile SDKs are coming out now. This class will look at differences and similarities between the desktop and mobile, and options to expand the reach from desktop to mobile. Beyond cognitive input, will also look at reading mental states, emotions and facial expressions via the Brain-Computer Interface, and discuss usages for each input type.

Speaker: Jim McKeeth, developer relations lead evangelist, Embarcadero Technologies


1:10 PM - 2:00 PM

Controlling Autonomous Multicopters Using Mission Planner B202

Only smart, safe programming can make smart, safe drones. Come and learn some of the finer points of aircraft control and autonomous flight plan construction using Mission Planner. Talking points will range from initial set-up to advance parameters. We will also cover geofence and failsafe options. This discussion is a great way to make sure that you are getting the most out of your ArduPilot system.

Speaker: Kevin Jenkins


1:10 PM - 2:00 PM

Harnessing the Sun: Extend Your UAV's Endurance with Solar-Powered GaAs B204

Did you know that thin film Gallium arsenide (GaAs) solar could increase your UAV endurance by 400%? Well it can because of the material’s inherent energy-harvesting advantage and environmental robustness. Attend this class to see how thin film GaAs can significantly extend UAV range and endurance.

You will learn:

  • The basics of photovoltaic technology
  • UAV product considerations such as power management and integration
  • The different technologies available and their performance outdoors
  • The advantage of thin film GaAs
  • Case studeis showing the potential benefit using thin film GaAs

Speaker: Robert Parenti, Technical Marketing Engineer, Alta Devices


2:10 PM- 3:00 PM

Obtaining Section 333 Exemptions and Overview of State Law Developments B203

This class will discuss the steps involved in preparing and filing Section 333 exemption applications and walk through several filed applications as case studies. In addition, we will discuss other legal considerations for companies in the UAS/UAV ecosystem, including liability and privacy issues and corporate formations considerations and insurance.

No prerequisite skill or knowledge is required, but familiarity with FAA rules and the NPRM will be helpful. 

Speaker: Ross A. Buntrock, Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP’s


2:10 PM - 3:00 PM

Small Drone Flight Operations B202

So you’ve built your drone, programmed your mission, and now it’s time to fly. But first, we encourage you to take a few moments to think about safety and checklists aren’t just for big planes. We will discuss the tips and tricks that will help get you in the air and keep you flying. We will also discuss the preflight checks and field equipment that can save mission. This discussion is another good resource for novice pilots.

Speaker: Kevin Jenkins



3:10 PM - 4:00 PM

Achieving Autonomy Through Embedded Vision B202

The flying vehicles of the future will need to make sense of their environments in order to navigate safely and effectively. They will have to function autonomously especially when out of the human operator’s sight. UASs will benefit tremendously from Computer Vision - the art of making machines “see.”

We’ll cover the basics of autonomous navigation and how to incorporate Computer Vision functionality into unmanned systems. By studying some demo videos, we will come to recognize the common building blocks for CV and the challenges in getting artificial vision systems to operate under real-world conditions.

Then, we’ll explore embedded vision technology and how an array of light-weight, low-power sensors, cameras, and processors can keep an unmanned system nimble and on course. We’ll share examples that use a 3D stereo camera to identify landmarks, obstacles, and safe landing zones. Finally, we will highlight hardware as well as software components and libraries available for prototyping and development. 

Speaker: Goksel Dedeoglu, Ph.D., Founder and Lab Director, PercepTonic 


3:10 PM - 4:00 PM

Advanced Power System selection and Maximizing Efficiency in Multirotors B203

In this advanced class, we will go through the proper step-by-step procedure for selecting the complete power system for a multirotor aircraft based on aircraft weight, payload capacity and required flight time. You should have a solid basic understanding of the components used in a typical power system. Special attention will be given to propeller selection and how prop efficiency affects flight time and power requirements.  Motor specification charts and graphs will be discussed, and a detailed explanation will be given on how to interpret the data presented in these charts and how it applies to power system selection.

Speaker: Lucien Miller, president and CEO, Innov8tive Designs, Inc.


3:10 PM - 4:00 PM B204

The Dronecode Project - Commercial Drones and Open Source Autopilots

Dronecode is an open source, collaborative project that brings together existing and future open-source drone projects under a nonprofit structure governed by The Linux Foundation. The result is a common, shared open-source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Dronecode provides operators flexibility, reliability, and security at a lower cost point for UAV software and hardware than other closed source options.

This presentation provides an introduction to the various code bases within the project and will cover examples of how the hardware and software has developed specifically for commercial use. It will also explore future use cases and how companies and users can integrate with their applications.

Speaker: Craig Elder