UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

Armacost to chair international conference on UAV technology

Inaugural event features global tech companies and military organizations

The first UAV Technology UAS Conference in Arlington, Va., next week will feature speakers from military organizations and tech companies from around the world. Photo by Patrick C. Miller/UND Today.

University of North Dakota President Andrew Armacost will chair the first UAV Technology USA Conference Monday and Tuesday in Arlington, Va., which features speakers from around the world discussing technology and training for military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

“This is a wonderful opportunity for UND to showcase its latest initiatives in the field of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), as well as highlight the University’s wealth of experience in the aviation and UAS sectors,” Armacost said. “The conference ties in well with UAS the opportunities in which UND’s actively engaged, which include technology R&D, national security, space defense and workforce development.”

The conference was organized by the London-based SMi Group, a global company specializing in business-to-business conferences, workshops and masterclasses. It is part of the SAE Media Group, which delivers events for the defense, security, energy, utilities, finance and pharmaceutical sectors.

“With the ever-growing importance of UAVs in U.S. and allied operations, this is an important forum to foster learning and cooperation for U.S. Department of Defense personnel, international allies and industry representatives,” said Jack Overell, SMI’s project lead for U.S. defense events.

Primary conference sponsors are UAV manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., counter-UAS company Fortem Technologies and Echodyne Corp., a designer and manufacturer of high-performance radars.

UND President Andrew Armacost will chair the UAV Technology USA Conference Feb. 7-8 in Arlington, Va., an event that will bring together the UAS industry, government agencies and military organizations from around the world. Photo by Patrick C. Miller/UND Today.

Featured speakers at the international conference represent companies, government agencies and military organizations from the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. U.S. military speakers with the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Special Operations Command will discuss technology and training trends and needs. In addition, the British Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and German Bundeswehr will cover topics ranging from UAV pilot training to using UAVs to enhance military operations.

Robert Kraus

Robert Kraus, Dean of UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, will be among a group of attendees representing the University. He noted that since UND aerospace launched its initial UAS program in 2005, it has become the school’s second largest major. He also pointed out that UND was the first university in the U.S. to offer a degree in UAS operations and the first UAS program accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International.

“Our legacy is to be recognized as leaders in UAS education, to engage industry and government while influencing policy and regulation, and to pursue state-of-the-art technology,” Kraus said. “We ensure our students have hands-on experience as they enter the workforce with competence, skill, and the ability to solve problems.”

UND attendees include John Mihelich, Vice President for Research & Economic Development; Brian Tande, Dean of the College of Engineering & Mines; Ryan Adams, Director of the School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science; Paul Snyder, UAS Program Director; Amy Whitney, Director of the Center for Innovation; and Mark Askelson, Executive Director of the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems.

Armacost said the conference is an opportunity to identify how UND’s academic and research programs can continue to grow in support of national security needs.

“This is a chance to hear an extraordinary collection of speakers sharing information on a wide array of military applications of autonomous systems,” he said. “It’s also a chance for the University of North Dakota to participate in a significant opportunity to learn and to contribute.”