The 2018 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

June 12 - 15, 2018

Dallas Marriott
City Center

Dallas, TX, USA

ICUAS'18 Program

Program Overview

The Online Program is available. The complete Final Program and Book of Abstracts is also available.

Plenary Talks

Legal and Policy Track


All Tutorials / Workshops will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. The location of all Tutorials / Workshops is on the Third Floor of the conference venue, see the map for room assignments. Tutorial/Workshop duration is either Full-Day (9:00 AM – 5:30 PM) or Half-Day (09:00 AM – 01:00 PM, or 1:00 PM – 05:00 PM).

Please click the title for a detailed description of each.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Location Title Duration
Bordeaux Tutorial 1: New Developments on Sense-and-Avoid (S&A), Fault-Tolerant Control (FTC) and Fault-Tolerant Cooperative Control (FTCC) Techniques for Unmanned Systems and their Applications Full Day
9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Normandy A Tutorial 2: Emerging sUAS Technology for Precision Agriculture Applications (AgDroneTech18) Half-Day
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Normandy B Tutorial 3: Autonomous Navigation for Aerial Robots in Extreme Environments: From Subterranean Environments to the Arctic Half-Day
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Champagne Tutorial 4: Towards Networked Airborne Computing: Applications, Challenges, and Enabling Technologies Half-Day
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
1:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Keynote Talks

Acceptable Risk – Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit

Andy Thurling –
Chief Technology Officer, NUAIR Alliance
NUAIR (the New York UAS Test Site)


Last June, Matt McFarland – a reporter on the CNN Technology beat, wrote an article entitled, "New Drone Rules Could Curtail Cell Tower Deaths". The article was referring to the newly released FAA rule allowing routine commercial use of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The article quoted a 2014 US Occupational Safety and Health Administration statistic for communication tower climbers; a disturbing 13 on-the-job deaths in a community of only 15,000 workers making the job of ascending these towers to accomplish the required inspections one of the most dangerous jobs in the US. Using a small UAS to accomplish these inspections rather than putting a human in harm's way could indeed improve safety. The obvious question is, "why did this take so long?"

The author suggests that there is a fundamental asymmetry in the risk equation, i.e., the rule maker rarely gets credited for lives saved with a rule change but does gets blamed for things that go wrong with the new technology. Add to this the observation that the rule maker has no "skin in the game" – they are not performing their Regulator duties from a 100-foot-high perch, but rather from a more pleasant 20 inches or so - if Wikipedia is to be believed about the standard height of the average office chair.

The mathematician will tell you that this fundamental asymmetry exists because the regulator finds a "local" minimum for risk due to their lack of a more "global" perspective. The author sees the wisdom in this analysis, but translates it in his fighter-pilot brain into "where you stand, depends on where you sit".

In this presentation, the author will candidly discuss his experience with "Approval of RPAS Operations: Airworthiness, Risked-Based Methods, Operational Limitations" – from those early days of RTCA committee SC-203, EUROCAE WG-93, and Flight in Non-Segregated Airspace (FINAS) through the recent work being done by the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS). Personal experience with these groups and with many airworthiness standards, processes, and philosophies will be used to synthesize an approach for taking a wider perspective on risk – taking into consideration this asymmetry - when seeking to safety integrate UAS into our national airspace.

Short Bio:

Andy Thurling recently joined NUAIR, the New York UAS Test Center, as the Chief Technology Officer where he leads technical research on current and future UAS technologies, evaluates potential paths to implementation, industry standards for approval by regulators, and test techniques to verify compliance. Prior to NUAIR, Andy was Director of Product Safety and Mission Assurance at AeroVironment in Simi Valley, California. At AeroVironment, Andy led airworthiness, certification, and airspace access strategic efforts. He is active in standards bodies such as ASTM and RTCA and internationally with EUROCAE and as a subject matter expert to the JARUS working group developing the Specific Operational Risk Assessment process. Andy is a Distinguished Graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School. He has held several positions as a test pilot and as an instructor at the Test Pilot School. His career in the Air Force culminated as Commander of the Flight Test Squadron responsible for testing the nation's newest unmanned aircraft. Andy has over 2300 hours of flight time in more than 35 aircraft types and was awarded the 2011 AUVSI "Operations Award" for leading the flight testing of the liquid Hydrogen powered Global Observer.

Enabling the Future: A Federal Aviation Administration Perspective on UAS Regulatory Opportunities

Charles M. Trippe, Jr.
Chief Counsel
Federal Aviation Administration


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for ensuring safe and efficient operations in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). The NAS is a national asset that enables commerce and requires complex safety and security considerations. With the rapid growth of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), it is imperative that the FAA continue to ensure that this new technology is safely integrated with existing manned aviation operations, and with the NAS as a whole. As with any rapidly advancing technology, regulation of UAS poses both opportunities and challenges. The FAA has already made strides in developing a regulatory framework specific to UAS operations under 14 C.F.R. part 107; that stated, the path to full integration of UAS operations into the NAS will require a close and continuing examination of how UAS fit into the existing legal framework for manned aircraft, both statutory and regulatory. This presentation will address Congress's statutory framework for UAS operations and the FAA's implementation of those statutory tasks through regulation. In addition, we will examine the boundaries that Congress has set that affect the agency's approach to regulation, and some of the legal challenges of UAS regulation. We will also look to the future and the challenges ahead. State and local jurisdictions have ongoing concerns about privacy and security with regard to UAS. What potential role do state and local jurisdictions play in the regulation of UAS? Industry continues to advance the number of uses for UAS. What are the questions the FAA must address to support UAS package delivery and autonomous operations? Finally, as we move toward the future and new possibilities for UAS continue to emerge, how is the FAA working to build performance-based regulations that could adapt to this rapidly changing technology?

Short Bio:

Charlie Trippe was appointed Chief Counsel, AGC-1, at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in July 2017. In this role, he serves as legal advisor to the FAA Administrator and FAA leadership, and manages the legal and administrative staff of the Office of General Counsel. He also liaises with the Office of General Counsel of the Department of Transportation, as well as the chief counsels of the other operating administrations of the Department.

Prior to joining the FAA, Mr. Trippe was an attorney in private practice in Jacksonville, Florida, where his practice focused on commercial, corporate and transportation litigation. During 2011 and 2012, Mr. Trippe served as General Counsel to the Executive Office of Florida Governor Rick Scott where he represented the Governor and his agency, served as the Chief Ethics Officer of the agency, and liaised with the general counsels of state executive agencies supervised by the Governor.

From 1994 to 2001, Mr. Trippe served as Assistant General Counsel and then General Counsel – Litigation at CSX Transportation, Inc., where he was responsible for the management of, and counseling senior management as to, complex and high-risk litigation involving the company. Prior to his association with CSX, Mr. Trippe was partner in the New York office of Jones Day, where his practice concentrated on complex litigation.

A native of Massachusetts, Trippe graduated cum laude from Columbia College and received his Juris Doctor from the Columbia Law School. He has been practicing law since 1980, and is a member of the New York, Florida and Massachusetts bars.

New Paradigms in Drone Regulations

Harrison Wolf
Project Lead – Drones and Tomorrow's Airspace
World Economic Forum


The very nature of flight is going through a revolution that started without anyone truly recognizing it. As aircraft became increasingly autonomous, and as tangential technologies that affect flight capabilities changed, the demand for flight moved away from transportation of physical goods in an "A to B" modality. Oversight at the local, regional, national, and international levels failed to keep up with this change. We have recently entered a period where technology development exponentially increases, and governance attempts to regulate at a pace familiar to previous aviation evolution does not keep apace. The outcome is a frustration from industry, from consumers, from professional groups, and from the regulators themselves who often want to develop supportive frameworks, but without the technological capacity or the internal resources to do so.

Today, the paradigm is shifting all over the world, led by some of the most progressive regulators and industry participants in the world. Governments are becoming comfortable with autonomy in the air and on the ground, the attempt to fit remotely piloted vehicles (drones) into the same regulatory frameworks that governed manned passenger aircraft is largely recognized as ineffective, and new strategies are being employed the world over. The World Economic Forum's Drones and the Future of Airspace program is working with many of these progressive governments to move beyond the "pilot project" stage and embrace the idea of "pilot policies."

This presentation will highlight the regulatory and standardization efforts that the World Economic Forum's Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution participates in, to coordinate lessons learned, develop industrial capacity, and promote the acceleration of drone adoption while mitigating the risk to society. New concepts and approaches to regulation that focus on rapid test and iteration of policies, as demonstrated in Rwanda in collaboration with the Rwandan government, and soon to be replicated and harmonized across Africa will be presented and discussed so that the audience gains a keen understanding of the latest and future trends in autonomous flight for goods and passengers. By pushing for a performance based, risk considerate, model of dialogue focused regulation, governments the world over are able to enter into a conversation that leads to more operations, and safer skies; and amplifying the considerable impact on society that the Fourth Industrial Revolution provides.

Short Bio:

Harrison Wolf is a Leader in the field of Unmanned Autonomy with global expertise in Safety & Risk Mitigation Strategies teaching at the University of Southern California. He joined the World Economic Forum's Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to lead projects on Drones and the Future of Airspace. His projects envision the future of autonomous flight for drones, flying cars, and beyond leveraging his expertise in regulatory frameworks and policy to drive change internationally through policy prototypes with forward looking governments. The Forum's Future of Drone Regulations project recently made headlines in partnership with the Rwandan Government as they adopted the first fully performance based regulations in the World, leveraging work out of JARUS, EASA, and FAA.

Before joining the World Economic Forum, Harrison founded Wolf UAS LLC, a UAS consulting company specializing in developing and maintaining industry leading and regulatory compliant unmanned aircraft programs for enterprise organizations. He is the lead-author of research papers on UAS Integration Regulation Frameworks, International Trafficking in Arms Regulation Reform and Safety Management Systems for Aerospace, and The Economics of Commercial Space Flight and UAVs. Harrison also published in the UK, the first safety textbook for drones entitled, Drones: Safety Risk Management for the Next Evolution of Flight as well as being a contributing author in other safety related drone textbooks. He was the technical chair for ASTMs Best Practice Standard for Operational Risk Assessment for sUAS Operations used for meeting FAAs standards for Beyond Visual Line of Sight Waiver Applications.

Harrison was recently named to the drone industry's Top 40 experts in Safety Risk Management for the AUVSI TOP Program and serves on the steering committee for those international standards efforts. He currently sits on two ANSI Technical Standards Working Groups for Humanitarian Relief and Critical Infrastructure, and previously contributed to the RTCA SC-203 Human Factors efforts. In his role as a teacher and trainer he has helped set up over 50 programs from throughout the world in law enforcement, energy generation and distribution, academia, civil society, humanitarian access, disaster response, resource management, and other fields.

Paul Sichko, VP - Operations, DFW

Paul Sichko
Vice President - Operations
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport


Unmanned Aircraft System operations in airspace within five nautical miles of an airport in the United States are highly restricted. Commercial UAS applications are driving a concerted effort to review existing flight restrictions, and are driving a more expeditious flight authorization process. The legal definition of a UAS vehicle as an "aircraft" poses unique issues not only for UAS operators, but also for law enforcement agencies.

DFW is one of the first airport operators in the country to be granted a Certificate of Authorization by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate UAS technology in an airport environment. Current UAS operations at DFW airport will be outlined, as well as planned future UAS flights in support of airport operations. The session will also address challenges faced in pursuit of the FAA COA, as well as issues surrounding UAS detection at the airport perimeter.

Short Bio:

Paul Sichko was named Vice President of Operations at Dallas - Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in June 2016. Mr. Sichko oversees DFW airfield operations, the DFW terminal ramp control towers, the Corporate Aviation Terminal and the Airport Operations Center. He has participated in the development of several airport, airline, air traffic control Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) initiatives, including the development of Unmanned Aerial System operational plans at DFW. Paul began his aviation career as an air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He was previously an Assistant Director of Operations at Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport. Mr. Sichko has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Aviation Administration from Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD, where he also earned a single-engine land aircraft rating.