Venue:Sheraton Hotel at Wrigleyville West. NOTE: In the event that the COVID-19 pandemic does not allow for a safe meeting, it will be converted to fully virtual event.

Overview: The21st century has seen a continued emphasis on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), as well as greater autonomy and automation for both military and civilian applications. Unmanned and autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft are in varying stages of development all over the world, and continue to expand into the civil and military sectors for a variety of uses. Autonomy is being used to unmanned versions of manned helicopters for dull, dirty and dangerous military cargo missions. In addition, the operator-interface and human factors can be one of the most significant contributions to UAS safety and successful operations. Correspondingly, technologies and regulation are being developed to safely operate UAS, and integrate them into commercial and military airspace.

Meanwhile, automation and various levels of autonomy are being used in modern civil helicopter cockpits, while the military’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) aircraft will need to be optionally-manned or optimally-manned. Autonomy is also a key enabler for new classes of vehicles for civil missions — such as personal air vehicles, urban air mobility and air taxi missions — using all-electric or hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) propulsion approaches.

This biennial meeting, sponsored by the VFS Arizona Chapter, is an excellent opportunity to learn about and discuss the latest advancements in manned/unmanned and civil/military autonomous VTOL aircraft technology with engineers, scientists and leaders in academia, industry and government agencies around the world.

Invitation: Papers are invited in the areas of autonomous or unmanned air vehicles and control stations, including the following:

  • Civilian and military platforms of all sizes, ranging from micro vehicles (MAVs) through full-scale manned aircraft, and the full range of autonomy and associated enabling technologies
  • Fully autonomous, ground-controlled, and optionally manned vehicles
  • All aspects of operator interface design
  • Air vehicle and operator control stations

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Vehicle design: including configuration design, gust stability and response, fault tolerant control systems, low Reynolds number aerodynamics (applicable to micro and organic air vehicles), active flow control (e.g. development of hingeless aerodynamic surfaces) and self-repairing structures, as well as simulation and testing of vehicle design. Weight classes cover MAV, small UAS, and large UAS, to man-rated on-demand eVTOL.
  • Enabling systems design: including interoperability, net-centric operations (NCO) and sensor systems. For example, the sharing of information across the operational field of use, command-and-control, ad hoc network-enabled systems, UAS control and interoperability with both ground and other aerial systems, networked sensor integration and NCO-related analysis, modeling & simulation.
  • Enabling automation / artificial intelligence: including innovative AI algorithms, deep learning, cognition and context recognition, with or without big data; advanced sensors, mobile computing, and GPS/INS for autonomous VTOL aircraft operations in cluttered and obstacle rich environments, zero-zero sensor-based auto land, collaborative flight between unmanned and other manned/unmanned rotorcraft systems, networked communications in low altitude flights.
  • Advanced electric-propulsion: including innovative fuel cells, advanced batteries, hybrid-electric or alternative multi-fuel power systems for greater range and payload; advanced motors (axial flux, Halbach arrays), inverters and motor controllers, direct drives; high voltage power electronics; hardware testing, modeling and simulation / co-simulation, and integrated power-plant-flight vehicle analysis and design.
  • Improved human-system integration (HSI) and workload reduction for vehicle and control station operator interfaces.
  • Simulation and testing of vehicle design, autonomous behaviors and HSI.
  • Regulatory solutions addressing the safe operational integration of autonomous VTOL vehicles into national and military airspace, including certification and compliance using consensus standards.

Abstract Submittal:

  • Limited to no more than 1,000 words
  • Present the status of work and the background data to be used
  • Summarize figures and illustrations to be used (with samples)
  • Include a summary of important conclusions with a statement as to whether similar results have been (or may be) presented or published elsewhere
  • Be sufficient to enable the reviewer to determine the quality, scope, significance, and current completion status of the information that will be submitted in the final paper
  • Priority will be given to papers in which significant results and conclusions will be provided and in which future research and development are clearly defined

Abstracts must be submitted no later than Oct 1, 2020 to the meeting Technical Chairpersons:  

Dr. Ram D. JanakiRam at

Dr. Kendra Befort at

Bryan Chu at

Questions? Contact +1-(480) 209-2923 or +1-(480) 290-5591

Completed Papers: Authors will be notified of final selection by October 29, 2020. Format for the papers will be sent with the notification of selection. No paper will be scheduled for presentation if a written paper has not been received by January 14, 2021. It’s the author’s responsibility to obtain all necessary clearances and releases by that date.

Additional Information:More information will be posted on the VFS website at questions on the meeting, please contact the Administrative Chairman, at