The 2015 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

June 9 - 12, 2015

Denver Marriott
Tech Center

Denver, Colorado, USA

ICUAS'14 Program

Final Program & Book of Abstracts

The Final Program and Book of Abstracts is available here.

Tutorials / Workshops

Keynote Lectures

Aeronautical Products Certification & Regulation

Ing. Carmine Cifaldi
Italian Civil Aviation Authority
Director, Aeronautical Products Certification & Regulation

Short Bio: Mr. Carmine Cifaldi graduated with a Diploma in Electronic Engineering from Pisa University. After an experience in the Italian Communication Ministry, he joined in 1980 the Registro Aeronautico Italiano (now ENAC). He spent two years as inspector in the regional Office of Venice, and after that he moved to the Rome Head Office to work on aircraft certification activities. He has worked for many years as electrical and avionic specialist in many national and international programs. He served as Chairman of the JAA rotorcraft certification working group, and then as member of the JAA Certification Sectorial Team. Since 2000 he is the Director of ENAC Aeronautical Product Division, the division in charge of certification activities, which also include responsibilities to regulate the operations of the remotely piloted aircraft.

L1 Adaptive Control and Its Transition to Practice

Dr. Naira Hovakimyan
Professor, University Scholar and Schaller Faculty Scholar
Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Abstract The history of adaptive control systems dates back to the early 1950's, when the aeronautical community was struggling to advance aircraft speeds to higher Mach numbers. In November of 1967, X-15 launched on what was planned to be a routine research flight to evaluate a boost guidance system, but it went into a spin and eventually broke up at 65,000 feet, killing the pilot Michael Adams. It was later found that the onboard adaptive control system was to be blamed for this incident. Exactly thirty years later, fueled by advances in the theory of nonlinear control, Air Force successfully flight tested the unmanned unstable tailless X-36 aircraft with an onboard adaptive flight control system. This was a landmark achievement that dispelled some of the misgivings that had arisen from the X-15 crash in 1967. Since then, numerous flight tests of Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) weapon retrofitted with adaptive element have met with great success and have proven the benefits of the adaptation in the presence of component failures and aerodynamic uncertainties. However, the major challenge related to stability/robustness assessment of adaptive systems is still being resolved based on testing the closed-loop system for all possible variations of uncertainties in Monte Carlo simulations, the cost of which increases with the growing complexity of the systems. This talk will give an overview of the limitations inherent to the conventional adaptive controllers and will introduce the audience to the L1 adaptive control theory, the architectures of which have guaranteed robustness in the presence of fast adaptation. Various applications, including flight tests of a subscale commercial jet will be discussed during the presentation to demonstrate the tools and the concepts. With its key feature of decoupling adaptation from robustness L1 adaptive control theory has facilitated new developments in the areas of event-driven adaptation and networked control systems. A brief overview of initial results and potential directions will conclude the presentation.

Short Bio: Dr. Naira Hovakimyan received her MS degree in Theoretical Mechanics and Applied Mathematics in 1988 from Yerevan State University in Armenia. She got her PhD in Physics and Mathematics in 1992, in Moscow, from the Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, majoring in optimal control and differential games. In 1997 she was awarded a governmental postdoctoral scholarship to work in INRIA, France. In 1998 she was invited to the School of Aerospace Engineering of Georgia Tech, where she worked as a research faculty member until 2003. In 2003 she joined the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Virginia Tech, and in 2008 she moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is a Professor, University Scholar and Schaller Faculty Scholar of Mechanical Science and Engineering. She has co-authored a book and more than 250 refereed publications. She is the recipient of the SICE International scholarship for the best paper of a young investigator in the VII ISDG Symposium (Japan, 1996), and also the 2011 recipient of AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight award. She is an associate fellow and life member of AIAA, a Senior Member of IEEE, and a member of SIAM, AMS and ISDG. Her research interests are in the theory of robust adaptive control and estimation, control in the presence of limited information, networks of autonomous systems, game theory and applications of those in safety-critical systems of aerospace, mechanical, electrical, petroleum and biomedical engineering.

Automation to Autonomy for Unmanned Aircraft

Dr. Mark A. Motter
NASA Langley Research Center

Abstract NASA Langley Research Center has been conducting flight control experiments using various levels of automation to operate a variety of unmanned aircraft since 2002. The initial work focused on developing a flying controls testbed that could exercise an experimental controller for several minutes during fully automated flight, but still within visual observation of an external or safety pilot should manual intervention be required for recovery. This effort naturally lead to the capability of fully automated flight where takeoff, climb to test altitude, transition to the test area, engagement and disengagement of the experimental controller, return to base and landing could all be performed in a fully automated fashion, with redirection provided only when required from high level commands issued from the ground control station. Several fully automated demonstrations were performed from early 2003 through 2007 on both prop and turbine powered testbeds. Continued development focused on providing the experimental capability to assess responses to unscheduled disturbances. Recently, the LaRC Automated Flight Control Lab conducted a test campaign which demonstrated safe operation of multiple unmanned aircraft (UA) in restricted airspace which captured on-board views of the UAs in close proximity to each other for development of collision avoidance algorithms, as well as developing the infrastructure for testing them in realistic airborne scenarios. Future plans are to host autonomy experiments that would be applicable to evolving requirements to integrate both unmanned and personal aircraft, operated by non-pilots, into the national airspace .

Short Bio: Dr. Mark A. Motter has been employed at NASA Langley Research Center since 1985 and has been involved in projects ranging from wind tunnel automated controls to fully autonomous unmanned aircraft. His current research interests are investigating the implementation of self- organizing controllers as well as other adaptive and learning control approaches, using various unmanned aerial vehicles as experimental test platforms. He is an officially designated NASA UAS pilot, having conducted over a thousand flights as pilot-in-command of a wide variety of experimental unmanned aircraft.

He was in the United States Navy from 1973 until 1979 and afterward began his formal engineering education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, receiving his BSEE, magna cum laude, in 1983, and MSEE in 1985. Dr. Motter received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Florida in 1998. He is a senior member of the IEEE, a registered Professional Engineer, a member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, and the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

RPAS Operators & Aerial Operations

Peter van Blyenburgh
President and Founder Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
CEO of Blyenburgh & Co, France
Member of the ICAO UAS Study Group
Member of the European Commission's European RPAS Steering Group
Standing Advisor to EUROCAE WG93 on Light RPAS

This keynote will highlight the current situation worldwide relative to non-military (governmental, commercial, research & scientific) aerial operations with remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) and will explain the problems and obstacles, as well as the initiatives taking place relevant to the integration of RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) into non-segregated airspace. The keynote will cover the following topics:

  • General overview of the RPAS situation in the world;
  • The obstacles hindering routine RPAS operations;
  • Ongoing international activities to alleviate these obstacles, including the creation of political awareness;
  • RPAS aerial work - Applicable categorization and what does it entail;
  • RPAS operators - Applicable categorization;
  • An overview of the types & classes of RPAS used for aerial work;
  • RPAS, remote pilot, operator, and design organization certification: Is this required?
  • Relevant terms & definitions, and their importance;
  • The importance of presenting viable business cases;
  • RPAS aerial work currently being conducted on a worldwide level;
  • What the future has in store.
As a conclusion, an explanation will be given of the interest for the research & scientific communities, as well as the photogrammetry/geo-informatics/remote sensing communities to position themselves and be recognized as aviation stakeholder groups, and suggestions on how to proceed in this direction will be made.

Short Bio: Mr. Peter van Blyenburgh, a Dutch national residing in Paris, France, was born in The Netherlands ('48). He was educated in Canada, the Netherlands Antilles and The Netherlands, studied in Switzerland (Business Administration) and has held various management positions with a number of industrial and service supplying corporations in the USA, Europe and the Middle East. He has been involved with unmanned systems since 1987 and has supplied advisory services in this field to corporate and/or governmental entities in Europe, the Middle & Far East and North America. In 1995 he instigated, and in 1997 founded, the European Unmanned Vehicle Systems Association (EURO UVS), which changed its name to UVS International in January 2004; he is currently in his 8th two-year term as president of this internationally operating non-profit association registered in Den Haag, The Netherlands, which deploys its activities out of offices in Paris, France. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Blyenburgh & Co (B&C), a company registered in Paris, France, to which the UVS International Board of Directors has contractually entrusted the association's administration, as well as the organization of its unmanned vehicle system-related conferences. Blyenburgh & Co is the publisher of the annual Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Yearbook (RPAS: The Global Perspective), which has become the international RPAS publication of reference. He is honorary member of the European Group of Institutes of Navigation (EUGIN); the European Institute, Washington, DC, USA; UAS Norway, Norway; UVS France, France. He is a member of the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA), USA, as well as RTCA Special Committee 203 on UAS, USA & ASTM Committee F38 on Small UAS, USA. For more details about Mr. van Blyenburgh's accomplishments see his long bio.