Register for the 2019 Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting and eVTOL Symposium


The 21st century has seen a continued emphasis on Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) and greater autonomy and automation for both military and civilian applications. Unmanned vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft are in varying stages of development all over the world, and continue to expand into the civil and military sectors for a variety of uses.

Autonomy is being used to unmanned versions of manned helicopters for dull, dirty and dangerous military cargo missions. In addition, the operator-interface and human factors can be one of the most significant contributions to UAS safety and successful operations. Correspondingly, technologies and regulation are being developed to safely operate UAS, and integrate them into commercial and military airspace.

Meanwhile, automation and various levels of autonomy are being used in modern civil helicopter cockpits, while the military’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) aircraft will need to be optionally-manned or optimally-manned. Autonomy is also a key enabler for new classes of vehicles for civil missions — such as personal air vehicles, urban air mobility and air taxi missions — using electric or hybrid-electric propulsion (eVTOL).

This biennial meeting is an excellent opportunity to learn about and discuss with academic, industry, and military engineers from around the world the latest advancements in manned/unmanned, electric/hybrid/turboshaft-powered, and civil/military autonomous VTOL aircraft technology.

The Technical Meeting is being held in conjunction with the 6th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium, which will be held in parallel. The conference will feature technical paper presentation related to autonomous VTOL aircraft, while the Symposium will feature invited presentations, panel sessions and discussions on electric and hybrid electric VTOL aircraft, with a focus on urban air mobility.

Plenary Presentations: Needs for Future Autonomous VTOL Aircraft [Tues. Jan. 29 – 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon]

Moderator: Dr. Ram JanakiRam, Boeing

  • “Autonomy for Next Generation VTOL Systems,” Dr. Bill Lewis, Aviation Development Director, US Army
  • “The Electric VTOL Revolution,” Mike Hirschberg, Vertical Flight Society
  • Mark Jordan, Boeing Autonomous Systems
  • “Army VTOL UAS Development Efforts,” LTC Mike Osmon, US Army, Aviation Development Directorate
  • “Agility, Cyber and Emerging Technologies for Naval UAS,” Dr. Robert Ernst, NAVAIR PMA-266
  • “NASA Research Supporting Vertical Flight and UAM,” Dr. Colin Theodore, NASA Ames
  • “Needs for the Uber Elevate Ecosystem,” Mark Moore, Uber

eVTOL Session 1: Progress in Electric VTOL [Tues. Jan. 29 – 1:30 to 3:30 PM]

Moderator: Mike Hirschberg, Vertical Flight Society

  • Bob Labelle, CEO, XTI Aircraft
  • Zach Lovering, Vahana Project Executive, A³ by Airbus
  • Ben Tigner, President, Karem Aircraft
  • Troy Rutherford, Senior Director for eVTOL, Boeing NeXt

eVTOL Session 2: Challenges in Electric VTOL [Tues. Jan. 29 – 4:00 to 5:30 PM]

Moderator: Chris Silva, NASA

  • “Observations from Exploration of VTOL Urban Air Mobility Designs,” Chris Silva, NASA Ames
  • “UAM Propulsion,” Dr. Paula Dempsey, NASA Glenn
  • “Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) Failure Modes,” Patrick Darmstadt, Boeing
  • “Gust Rejection,” Nick Brake, Emerical Systems Aerospace
  • “VTOL Flight Control for Safety,” Justin Paines, Chief Test Pilot, Joby Aviation

eVTOL Session 3: System Safety [Wed. Jan. 30 – 8:00 to 10:00 AM]

Moderator: Dan Newman, Boeing

  • Chris van Buiten, VP Innovations, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company
  • Starr Ginn, Deputy Aeronautics Research Director, NASA Armstrong
  • Kyle Heironimus, Innovation Engineer, Bell
  • Ife Ogunleye, Acting Manager, Policy and Regulation Section, FAA
  • Clément Audard, Rotorcraft Safety Coordinator, European Aviation Safety Agency

eVTOL Session 4: Standards/Regulations [Wed. Jan. 30 – 10:30 AM to 12:00 noon]

Moderator: Tom Gunnarson, Lead of Regulatory Affairs, Kitty Hawk

  • Anna Dietrich, Co-Founder, Terrafugia
  • Ajay Sehgal, Chief Engineer, KBRWyle
  • Dr. Mark D’Angelo, Aerospace Standards Engineer, SAE International
  • Greg Bowles, VP, Global Innovation & Policy, GAMA
  • Andy Supinie, Aircraft Certification Office, FAA

eVTOL Session 5: Vehicle Technologies [Wed. Jan. 30 – 1:30 to 3:30 PM]

Moderator: Johnny Doo, International Vehicle Research

  • “Hybrid Electric Propulsion System Advantages And Disadvantages Compared To All Electric Propulsion And All Traditional Engine-Driven Propulsion,” Eric Blumer, Director of Advanced Technologies, Honeywell
  • “New Lithium Sulfur Battery Development,” Bill Andrews, CEO, Nextech Batteries
  • “Fuel Cell Technology,” Rick Sickenberger, Teledyne Energy Systems
  • “Development and Demonstration of an Autonomous Optical Launch and Recovery System,” Avinash Gandhe, Scientific Systems Company, Inc.
  • “A Multi-Physics Prognostics Framework for Urban Mobility Operations,” Dr. Amine Chigani, CTO & VP Engineering, Sentient Science

eVTOL Session 6: eVTOL Missions and Applications [Wed. Jan. 30 – 4:00 to 5:30 PM]

Moderator: Michael Dudley, NASA Ames

  • Michael Dudley, NASA Ames: eVTOL Roadmapping
  • Candice Carter: Group 2 – Intracity Missions
  • Seren Webber: Group 3 – Intercity Missions
  • Johnny Doo, IVR: Group 4 – Public Service Missions

eVTOL Session 7: eVTOL Opportunities [Thurs. Jan. 31 – 8:00 to 10:00 AM]

Moderator: Mike Hirschberg, Vertical Flight Society

  • “A Review of Current Technology and Research in Urban On-Demand Air Mobility Applications,” Nicholas Polaczyk and Enzo Trombino, Iowa State University
  • “Enabling Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and eVTOL Operations,” Steve Jacobson, Autonodyne
  • “A Venture Capitalist’s Perspective on eVTOL,” Peter Shannon, Levitate Capital
  • Carl Dietrich, Co-Founder/CTO, Terrafugia
  • Francesco Giannini, Aurora Flight Sciences

eVTOL Session 8: Infrastructure/Passenger Experience [Thurs. Jan. 31 – 10:30 AM to 12:00 noon]

Moderator: Michael Dyment, Managing Partner, NEXA Advisors

  • “Global Vertiport Infrastructure Opportunities,” Michael Dyment, NEXA Advisors
  • “Vertiport Integration Constraints,” Rex Alexander, 5 Alpha
  • “Vertiport Design Possibilities,” Mark Pilwallis, Gannett Fleming
  • “eVTOL Noise Considerations, Dr. Ken Brentner, Penn State University
  • “Air Vehicle Factors Affecting Occupant Health, Comfort, and Productivity,” Bernard D. Adelstein, NASA Ames Research Center

eVTOL Session 9: Autonomy and Air Operations [Thurs. Jan. 31 – 1:00 to 3:00 PM]

Moderator: Bruce Holmes, SmartSky Networks

  • “NASA UTM,” Parimal Kopardekar, NASA
  • “NASA UAM Grand Challenge,” Davis Heckenberg, NASA
  • “Collaborative Autonomy for VTOL Operations,” Bimal Aponso, Associate Division Chief for Aeronautics, Intelligent Systems Division, NASA Ames Research Center
  • “Achieving Reliable Autonomy,” Dr. Eric Johnson, Penn State University
  • Frank Matus, Director, Digital Aviation Market Development – Americas, Thales

eVTOL Session 10: eVTOL for Good [Thurs. Jan. 31 – 3:30 to 5:30 PM]

Moderator: Johnny Doo, International Vehicle Research

  • “Distributed On-Demand TVF Search & Rescue & Disaster Relief Network,” Johnny Doo, IVR
  • “eVTOL for Search & Rescue,” Eddie Bennet, The Ripper Group, Australia
  • “eVTOL applications for Fire Fighting,” Michael Ralston, Menlo Fire District, California
  • “Traffic Management and Drones/eVTOL for Good,” Jessie Mooberry, A³ by Airbus
  • “A Unique eVTOL Concept and Applications,” Arnaud Didey, Neoptera

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