The 2017 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

June 13 - 16, 2017

Miami Marriott
Biscayne Bay

Miami, FL, USA

ICUAS'17 Program


Keynote Lectures

Control and Autonomy: Turning Drones into Dynamos

Dr. Siva S. Banda
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base


From surveillance and security to safety inspection and package delivery, UAVs are changing our world. A little-known fact is that UAVs have been around since before World War I. Although today's UAVs are much more sophisticated than those of the past, they still are aptly called 'drones'. Through sophisticated sensing technologies and improving communication techniques UAVs are able to deliver impressive imagery with relatively little effort by the human operator, but the ability for UAVs to perform fully autonomous missions is still currently beyond our reach. For example, defense surveillance missions with UAVs require constant human control of the aircraft, which imposes limitations on their potential operational environments. This presentation will cover how the Department of Defense is leveraging its foundation in control science to enable increased autonomy for UAVs.

Short Bio:

Siva S. Banda is the Chief Scientist of the Aerospace Systems Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA. The directorate consists of a workforce of 1,800 people executing an annual budget in excess of $700 million. In his role as Chief Scientist, he is the primary science and technology advisor to the Director for assessing the quality and relevance of the Directorate's broad technical portfolio, which includes air breathing propulsion, missile and rocket propulsion, aircraft power and thermal management, hypersonic platforms, aerospace structures, vehicle aerodynamics, and autonomous flight control. Dr. Banda has been with AFRL since 1981 and has held various positions of increasing responsibilities before assuming his current role, which includes advising the leadership at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Office, and the National Science Foundation. For sustained exceptional performance he has twice received the prestigious Presidential Rank Award, in 2004 and 2009. Throughout his career, he has been very active in professional societies, having served on the Editorial Boards of the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, the International Journal of Robust & Nonlinear Control, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Journal of Guidance, Control & Dynamics. He is a recipient of the IEEE Control Systems Technology Award, the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Silver Medal, and the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Nathaniel Nichols Medal. He is a Fellow of the AIAA, IEEE, and IFAC. Dr. Banda was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2004.

Benefits of Solar-electric Propulsion for UAS

George E. Bye
Chairman, President and CEO
Bye Aerospace, Englewood, CO


Bye Aerospace has launched major projects and initiatives to design and develop a series of solar based aircraft, both manned and unmanned. This seminar presents the synergy of emerging technologies focusing on the UAV, battery and solar cell sectors that allow for the solar based UAV to reach global range and extended endurance using energy from the sun. Prototype aircraft like the StratoAirNet and the Silent Falcon Solar Electric UAV will be discussed.

Short Bio:

George Bye is an aviation pioneer and the Chairman, President and CEO of Bye Aerospace, which has launched multiple UAS projects. He is the creative innovator behind the company with two decades of experience as an aerospace entrepreneur and executive, and has successfully led several new technology aircraft to first flight. Among his aircraft designs are a small electric UAV called Silent Falcon that is now in production and the new, solar-electric hybrid UAV program, StratoAirNet. He holds a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Washington, holds an aircraft design patent and is an ATP rated pilot with over 4,000 flying hours. He was a USAF pilot and is a veteran of Desert Storm. For more information, go to:

Unmanned Aerial Systems Research and Industry Applications at South China University of Technology

Hai-Long Pei
Key Lab of Autonomous Systems and Networked Control
Unmanned System Engineering Center of Guangdong Province, South China University of Technology


In recent years, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems have stimulated tremendous interest in academia and industry in China, besides the evidence of enormous UAV production in the consuming market, as they may potentially benefit industry in many modern-day applications. However, several technical challenges need to be addressed before UAVs can be successfully and reliably deployed for a wide range of such applications. The South China University of Technology (SCUT) has created two major Research Centers devoted to research and development in UAVs, namely the Ministry of Education Key Lab of Autonomous Systems and Networked Control, and the Unmanned Systems Engineering Center of Guangdong Province. To strengthen the connection between academic research and system integration in companies, these Centers conduct a broad series of projects to develop theories and algorithms and to build new hardware platforms for a wide range of uses. This talk discusses the close connections between education, academic research, and system integration in several of joint projects with companies. New techniques are presented for multi-vehicle relative navigation, fast and precise sea coastal zone surveying, 3D geospatial mapping for laying oil pipelines, and disaster monitoring. The central objective of the research activities in South China and SCUT is to develop innovative theory, efficient algorithms and novel vehicle platforms to endow UAVs with capabilities well beyond their existing ones.

Short Bio:

Hai-Long Pei received his PhD degree from the South China University of Technology, China, in 1992, and Master and Bachelor degrees from the Northwestern Polytechnical University, China, in 1989 and 1986, respectively. Currently, he is Professor and Deputy Dean of the School of Automation Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology, Director of the Key Lab of Autonomous Systems and Networked Control, Ministry of Education, and Director of the Unmanned Engineering Center of Guangdong Province. He works on unmanned systems and robotic control, and currently serves as deputy editor-in-chief of the Journal of Control Theory and Technology, as Editor-at-Large of the Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems, and as Associate Editor of Acta Automatica Sinica.

Open Skies and Seas: How Unmanned Technologies are Impacting the Maritime and Energy Sectors

Sean T. Pribyl
Blank Rome LLP
Winner Lloyd's List 2016 Maritime Legal Services Award


Since the first Phoenician vessels sailed the seas, the maritime domain has evolved to serve as a vast conduit for commercial and transportation needs around the world, and currently includes a complex network of industries such as energy exploration, transportation of goods and people, and critical infrastructure. Advances in technology have allowed various maritime operations to lower costs, enhance safety, and improve efficiency, and unmanned technologies now represent a next step to further lower costs and increase efficiencies in the evolving maritime and energy industries. In fact, Nikola Tesla envisioned the use of unmanned technologies in the maritime domain in his 1898 unmanned vessel patent, and technologies such as GPS and autopilot have transformed operations aboard oceangoing vessels and aircraft alike. With the emerging development of unmanned aircraft and unmanned vessels, the traditionally conservative maritime industry is ideally positioned to harness the potential advantages these technologies offer their respective commercial markets. However, while research and development, testing, and production of unmanned technologies continues to rapidly evolve, the legal, policy, and regulatory issues surrounding their use in the maritime and energy sectors presents a complex regulatory framework that continues to require detailed legal analysis. This presentation will illustrate examples of how unmanned aircraft and unmanned vessels are integrating into the maritime domain and slowly shifting the industry's perceptions of these technologies. The presentation will also address the impact of the benefits and risks of unmanned technologies in the maritime and energy sectors, including current regulatory, legal, and security issues related thereto.

Short Bio:

Sean T. Pribyl is an Associate with Blank Rome LLP in Washington, D.C. He focuses his practice on maritime and international law, unmanned systems, environmental compliance, and white collar criminal law. He is the co-leader of Blank Rome's Unmanned Systems-Drones Industry Group and recently contributed the chapter entitled "Regulating Drones in Maritime and Energy Sectors" to the Second Edition of the Handbook of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (In Press). Prior to joining Blank Rome, Sean served for six years as a U.S. Coast Guard officer and judge advocate ("JAG"), advising on legal and policy matters related to maritime law, international law, and maritime security. While serving as a JAG, he was the primary legal advisor on unmanned aircraft systems, unmanned vessels, and maritime security related to unmanned systems, and assisted in developing U.S. government policy for beyond line of sight operations for UAS in the maritime domain, including the Arctic and Antarctic. He is also a licensed merchant mariner who worked aboard cargo and fiber optic cable ships for eight years prior to law school. Sean holds a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.