Global conference highlights importance, promise of drone use in Alaska

Anchorage hosts inaugural Global Autonomous Systems Conference
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 7:03 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Global Autonomous Systems Conference, being held in Anchorage this week, is welcoming more than a hundred industry experts to the Dena’ina Center over three days.

The theme behind the event is “trailblazing autonomous paths for a new world economy,” with the idea being to create more conversation and promote communication around the use of drones. During the conference, attendees hear from speakers, participate in workshops and can learn more about the various agencies and organizations on site — including the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Alaska Center for UAS Integration.

“I originally came from a military UAV background, where everything was hush-hush, everything operated very strictly, and completely outside of the way we do business here,” ACUASI’s director of operations John Robinson said. “This is important to me because it allows me to bring that passion, that progress, for everybody.”

“It’s not just hidden behind walls,” Robinson said. “That’s important to me. And the conference is important because we’re meeting a lot of new people, getting to communicate, and getting ideas for all the future projects we’re going to be able to do.”

Robinson also said the state is also uniquely positioned, not only in geographic location, but in connection with other features such as natural resources.

His group, known in short as ACUASI, also recently completed 25 separate test flights of a Cessna 208 that was equipped with an autonomous flight control system.

Wednesday marked the first day of the three-day event in Downtown Anchorage. Guests can still register online by going to the Global Autonomous Systems Conference website. Tickets are also available for a reception at the Alaska Aviation Museum on Thursday evening, which are priced at $50 each.