July 21, 2023

July 21, 2023

University, State of Set to Host Inaugural
International Drone Conference

Global Autonomous Systems Conference to feature industry experts, university researchers

ANCHORAGE — ’s status as an innovator in drone research and application will be on full display at the  in Anchorage Aug. 9-11 at the Dena’ina Convention Center. Hosted by the University of and state of , the three-day conference is focused on “Trailblazing Autonomous Paths for a New World Economy.” It will highlight the rapidly developing field of autonomous systems (more commonly known as “drones”) and their potential real-world applications. 

The conference is sponsored by the  at the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. ACUASI is one of the nation’s top drone research programs.

“Thanks to ACUASI, is a powerful incubator for drone innovation and testing,”  President Pat Pitney said. “Our location on the globe puts us at the crossroads for global commerce, transportation and logistics, making the 49th State the perfect location for the meaningful dialogue that will occur at this conference. On behalf of the university, I’m pleased to welcome all of the speakers and attendees to this inaugural event.”

The conference comes on the heels of a fully autonomous aircraft successfully completing 25 test flights out of Fairbanks through a partnership between ACUASI and Merlin Labs last month. Sessions at the Global Autonomous Systems Conference will cover security, ethics, advanced air mobility, AI, emergency management, oceanography, fisheries, emerging technologies research and more. 

More than 100 industry leaders and experts in the expanding field of air, land and sea autonomous systems are slated to attend, including:

  • Dr. Cathy Cahill, Director of ACUASI
  • Matthew George, Merlin Labs CEO
  • Colonel Martin Salinas, Spark Division Chief, 
  • Vidhu Shekhar, Microsoft’s Interim Business Strategy Leader for Government Operations Infrastructure and Public Finance
  • Bryan Cole, director of 
  • Elizabeth Soltys, Director of Advanced Air Mobility at Raytheon Technologies
  • Vinn White, Senior Advisor for Innovation in the U.S. Dept. of Transportation
  • Michael Cruz, Microsoft’s Director of Data and Artificial Intelligence
  • Daniel Justa, VP of Business Development at 

For more details or to register for the conference, visit .

The is a land-, sea- and space-grant system of higher education established in 1917. The UA System's three universities (UAA, UAF, and UAS) are separately accredited institutions with campuses and extended learning centers across the state of . The is overseen by the Board of Regents, an 11-member volunteer board established through the Constitution, and responsible for University of policy and management through the university president.

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