Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, have announced the “Global Autonomous Systems Conference,” scheduled in Anchorage this coming August.

Keynote speakers include Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and University of Alaska President Pat Pitney.

Themed, “Trailblazing Autonomous Paths for a New World Economy,” the aim of the gathering is to highlight Alaska’s drone capability while identifying coming global challenges and opportunities.

An April 18 announcement noted that the three-day gathering will include presentations from “worldwide experts, conversations among policy and industry leaders, and opportunities to connect with visionaries in autonomous systems.” The conference is sponsored by the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. ACUASI is one of the nation’s top drone research programs.

“Whether it is using an Artificial Intelligence camera payload installed on a drone to spot whales, or underwater gliders to conduct physical oceanography research, Alaskan researchers are leading the way towards using autonomy to solve real-world problems,” said ACUASI director Dr. Cathy Cahill.

Breakout sessions will focus on safety and security surrounding AI-powered drones, AI decision making, the ethics of AI, the impact of AI drones for law enforcement, military, search and rescue, socio-economic commercialization, emergency management, government policy, transportation, rural areas, fisheries and more.

“AAM promises to be safe, fast, affordable, and eco-friendly, allowing people to reach their destinations quickly and efficiently,” the official announcement asserts. “Invited experts and leaders in the fields of security, AI, emergency management, oceanography, fisheries, and more will also highlight the opportunities and challenges on the horizon for unmanned aerial systems in the economy and beyond.”

University of Alaska President Pat Pitney said unmanned aircrafts are particularly important for Alaska which she said is “at the intersection of investment, innovation, and practical application of unmanned aircraft technology due to its location at the crossroads for worldwide transportation and logistics.”

The Global Autonomous Systems Conference will be held Aug. 9-11 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska. For more details, visit

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Robots in the sky: Alaska to host conference on future of AI drones for a ‘New World Economy’

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.