Hear from defense leaders and industry experts as they discuss advances in UAS technology. Session topics will cover how the Department of Defense and other government agencies using, protecting and maximizing artificial intelligence and machine learning for defense applications, emerging applications such as teaming and swarming to improve warfare, what the DOD and US Government is doing to improve technology development and capitalize on the commercial industry and the key tech areas that are the most important to you.

Wednesday, February 7

0915 – 0945 Keynote Address

Description: The morning keynote address will feature U.S. Army leadership discussing the latest air and ground autonomous systems initiatives being driven by the service.

Speaker: Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, Director, Office of Business Transformation, Office of the Under Secretary of the Army

1115 – 1145 The Future of Self-Driving Trucks and Robotics for the Army

Description: TARDEC is tasked with developing, integrating and sustaining the right technology solutions for all manned and unmanned ground systems and combat support systems to improve current force effectiveness and provide superior capabilities for the future force. This presentation will address the department’s latest ground robot research with implications for the U.S. Army and beyond.

Speaker: Dr. Paul Rogers, Director, U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC)

1145 – 1215 Internal and External Sourcing of UAS Technology for the Air Force

Description: AFRL is both developing technology along traditional lines and reaching out to commercial activity in non-traditional ways. Traditional activity aims to improve propulsion, collection, data fusion, and training for USAF RPA. It also advances novel manufacturing, propulsion, and autonomy for UAS, as well as air-launched and counter-UAS capabilities. Non-traditional outreach includes organizations oriented to small and non-traditional business, partnerships in national airspace integration, and aggregation of civil and commercial needs for dual-use opportunities. This year also marks the first experiment with using a Technology Accelerator to move technology from start-ups toward defense solutions.

Speaker: Dr. Reid Melville, Strategy Lead, Unmanned Air Systems, Air Force Research Laboratory

1315 – 1345 ONR: Autonomy and Unmanned Systems for the Future Force

Description: Charged with discovery and invention, the Office of Naval Research is pursuing new unmanned technologies for air, land and sea applications and improving the capabilities of existing systems. Dr. John Pazik’s address will focus on developments in ONR’s autonomy work, and how this emerging research will be implemented across domains with an emphasis on ground robotics.

Speaker: Dr. John Pazik, Head, Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department, Office of Naval Research

1515 – 1615 Panel: The Challenges of AI: Using, Protecting and Maximizing the Potential of Artificial Intelligence for Defense and Security

Description: The introduction of artificial intelligence into defense, national security and public safety applications presents both opportunity and challenges. From questions on how to integrate and maximize the resulting information to the challenges of how to protect it, there’s no shortage of debate when it comes to how the DOD and other government agencies should be utilizing this new tool. This lively discussion will seek to answer some questions, while inevitably drawing out new ones, as experts from defense, government and commercial industry debate the best ways for the DOD and government to benefit from commercial developments in this space, capitalize on the lessons already learned, address challenges related to ethics and much more.

Moderator: Dorothy Engelhardt, Director of Programs, Unmanned Systems, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Panelists: Dr. Pedro Rodriguez, Senior Research Scientist, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; Dr. Timothy C. Faltemier, Progeny Systems Corporation; Mr. Gregory Allen, Adjunct Fellow, Technology and National Security Program, Center for a New American Security; Mr. Jaz Banga, Co-Founder and CEO, Airspace Systems

1615 – 1725 Unmanned Systems – Defense. Protection. Security. Innovation Challenge

Description: The Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for startups operating in the unmanned systems or autonomous systems spheres to present their technology to government and industry representatives. During the Innovation Challenge, five finalists will pitch their technology to the USPDPS audience of industry leaders and government professionals.

Finalists will answer questions from our panel of experts. Each finalist will have six minutes to pitch their technology and four minutes to answer questions from our panel of defense and government industry experts. The panel will advise and provide feedback, but the final choice will be left to the USDPS audience.

Advisory Panel: Mr. Orin Hoffman, Autonomy and Robotics, HQE DIUx; Mr. Frank Kelley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Unmanned Systems), Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development & Acquisition); Mr. Jean-Charles Ledé, Acting Deputy Director, Tactical Technology, Office, DARPA; Dr. Bob Sadowski, Chief Roboticist, U.S. Army


Thursday, February 8

1330 – 1400 NOAA Unmanned Systems: Harnessing A 21st Century Technology Revolution from Sea to Sky

Description: Today’s exponential advancement of autonomous technology is nothing short of a revolution affecting every sector of the government, industry, academia, and society. NOAA is tapping into this revolution to improve forecasts; save lives, protect property and natural resources, and promote national security and economic growth. This presentation will describe how NOAA's unmanned systems capabilities advance NOAA's mission, along with the key opportunities and challenges in integrating these technologies into NOAA's observing systems and information services.

Speaker: Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, NOAA

Complete program schedule >>


Many companies exhibiting at USDPS, like Ascent Vision and Polaris, have new technologies that are a must see. Check out which companies will be exhibiting.