Melbourne and Avalon, February 25-26, 2019

The AAUS “Exploring an Unmanned Future” conference will attract Unmanned System Industry, Defence & Academia from around the world to present, promote and discuss the future of unmanned technologies and in particular drones in Australia over the next 5 years.

It is an important strategic event held in association with the Australian International Airshow Aerospace and Defence Expo (Avalon 2019).

The Event will be split over 2 venues: 

Monday February 25: Arts Centre, Melbourne (The Pavilion)

Tuesday February 26: Avalon 2019 (Conference Room 7)

The themes will cover:

  • Where will the Australian Unmanned Systems industry be in 5 years’ time?
  • Addressing Roadblocks and Risks?
  • What are the Opportunities?
  • Enabling Technology
  • Australian Defence Force Programs Information Sessions (The ADF will conduct capability and project briefing son LAND129Ph3 and SEA129Ph5 during the event).

AAUS events are focused on broadening professional relationships amongst members and key industry end users.

Our events are strongly supported by key Government and Industry players and there will be opportunities to meet with them during the conference and at the conference dinner.

Conference Program

** View Presentations **

Monday February 25, 2019 (Melbourne)

0800: Registration and Coffee

Session 1:  Unmanned Industry of the Future

Where will the Australian Unmanned Systems industry be in 5 years’ time?  Four short presentations will address outlook for industry identifying market size, applications and skills requirement

0900:  Reece Clothier (AAUS): Conference Opening.

0910:  Luke Gumley (CASA): CASA is an Unmanned Future.

0930:  Adam Welsh (DJI): DJI’s View of the Near Future: Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Cybersecurity.

0950:  Charles Karl (ARRB): Preparing for Future Land Transport.

1010: Panel Discussion: Luke Gumley (CASA), Adam Welsh (DJI), Charles Karl (ARRB) and Ross Anderson (Aviassist).  Moderated by Reece Clother (AAUS).

1030 – 1100 Morning Tea

Session 2:  Challenges and Opportunities

What are the risks, road blocks and challenges facing the unmanned systems industry?  Four short presentations will address challenges for industry identifying risks such as access to airspace, safety, privacy and nuisance concerns and discuss opportunities such as Low Altitude Airspace Management.

1100:  Frank Erb (Thales): Unlocking the Full Potential of Low-Altitude Airspace.

1120:  Terry Martin (Nova Systems): Where is my Pizza?: Selected Challenges for UAV Based Package Delivery and UAM based on Efforts in Singapore and with JARUS.

1140: Jayne Heatley and Kristina Cavanna (Norton White): Legal Considerations for the Drone Industry of the Future.

1200:  Jeff Eager (Carbonix): Looking Back for the Future.

1220:  Panel Discussion: Frank Erb (Thales), Terry Martin (Nova Systems), Jayne Heatley (Norton White), Kristina Cavanna (Norton White) and Jeff Eager (Carbonix).  Moderated by Greg Tyrrell (AAUS).

1245 – 1330 Lunch

Session 3:  Enabling Technology

What are the enabling technologies that will allow the industry to grow safely and remain viable  Four short presentations will address different enabling technologies such as platforms, payloads and airspace management.

1330: Evert Van Schuppen (UAV Vision): The Future of ISR Payloads for UAS.

1355:  Simon Olsen (Sentient): Bringing Strategic WAMI to the Tactical UAS through Australian Innovation.

1420:  Rick Wellesley (Prism Defence): Ship – Air Integration for UAS.

1445:  Paul Stevens (Airbus): Airbus Zephyr, Pioneering the Stratosphere .

1510 – 1530 Afternoon Tea

Session 4: Building an Unmanned Defence Industry

The ADF is investing heavily in unmanned system technology.  This session will explore some of these programs and opportunities for Australian Industry.   

1530: Ed Graziano (Northrop Grumman) : Strategic Value of AUS HALE Maritime ISR and Impact to Australia’s Unmanned Defence Industry.

1555:  Rob Sutton (Mirragin Aerospace Consulting): How to successfully Implement UAS in Defence and Emergency Services Organisations.

1620:  Peggy MacTavish (Elbit Systems of Australia): Unmanned Systems – Bridging Military & Civil Airspace.

1645: CMDR Philip Woodward (Royal Australian Navy): MTUAS – New Capability and New Challenges Driving Innovation.

1710: LTCOL Keirin Joyce (Australian Army): A Sovereign Industrial (Drone) Capability for Army.

1830:  Dinner at Left Bank (Southbank)

Tuesday February 26, 2019 (Avalon)

0930 – 1200 Session 5:  Land 129 Phase 3 Tender Briefing and Q&A Session

Led by Andrew McKinnon (CASG) and LTCOL Keirin Joyce (Australian Army)

Defence Program LAND129 Ph3 will acquire a new Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to replace the Shadow 200 Tactical UAS (TUAS) from 2023. The new capability will replace the Shadow 200 capability and is intended to provide greater performance with respect to; payload modularity, endurance, deployability, connectivity, lethality and interoperability. The TUAS will be operated by 20 Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment which will grow from two TUAS batteries to three.

The LAND129 Ph 3 Program Office will conduct a capability and project briefing as part of the Australian Association of Unmanned Systems (AAUS) conference at Avalon 2019. This activity will be aimed at providing industry with a better understanding of the proposed capability need and project timelines prior to an approach to market following Gate One approval. The Project also intends to seek industry feedback on project plans and capability needs.

1200 – 1245 Break for Fast Jet Activity

1245 – 1330 Session 6:  Unmanned System Industry Capability Pitches

1250: David Skinner (BASK Industries): Drone Automation Opportunities

1300: Dr Dominic Walker (Aveillant):  Holographic Radar – New Technology for Small Drone Detection

1310:  Gerry Gerlach (Silvertone):  Silvertone – An Emerging UAV Developer

1320:  Rich Adams (Team Rubicon Australia): Development of a Volunteer / Veteran based Disaster Response RPAS Capability 

1330 – 1400 Break for Fast Jet Activity

1400 – 1600 Session 7:  Defence Program Updates

Updates from Navy and Air Force on current and future programs relevant to unmanned systems and Defence Industry presentations

1400:  WGCDR Mark Miles (Royal Australian Airforce): RAAF Update on AIR7001-B MQ-4C and AIR7003 MQ-9

1430:  Ryan Hodson (Defence Spectrum Office): Spectrum Congestion and Roadblocks for Civilian and Military Unmanned Systems (UxS) 

1445:  Dr Andrew Lucas (AOS Group):  Plan Jericho: Development of “Kelpie”, an Autonomous Vehicle for RAAF Air Bases. 

1500  Tony Duthie (Leonardo): Development of Unmanned Air Systems at Leonardo 

1515  CAPT Royals & CAPT Capner (Royal Australian Navy):  Industry Brief on Project SEA129-5 (MTUAS)


1600: Conference Ends


Monday February 25, 2019: The Victorian Arts Centre (Pavilion Room) at Southbank in Melbourne (100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004)

Tuesday February 26, 2019: Conference Centre at the Australian International Airshow Aerospace & Defence Exposition, Avalon Airport


Conference Dinner

A conference dinner is available at additional cost and usually provides a great networking opportunity in a relaxed environment.

The AAUS conference dinner will be held on the evening of Monday February 25, 2019 at the Left Bank overlooking the Yarra River on Southbank.  It should be great fun.

Note: You can package the cost of the dinner with registration for your team under our sponsorship packages.



  • AAUS Member:   $550
  • Defence & Government:  $550
  • Industry:   $660
  • Academia:   $345
  • Conference Dinner option:  $100   (Closed – Fully subscribed)

Pricing is Ex-GST. Early Bird Pricing available until December 14, 2018. Speakers and Sponsors are registered at no cost for the conference and conference dinner.  Registration includes access to industry days of Avalon 19 (Tues – Thurs).

Registration is now open via the Avalon 2019 website.



AAUS is a not for profit organisation that aims to promote the unmanned system industry through quality events at affordable prices.  This is only possible through the generous support we receive from our Sponsors at these events.

Flexible sponsorship packages are available to highlight your organisation and support the AAUS conference.

AAUS Exploring an Unmanned Future Sponsorship Packages


AAUS acknowledges the generous support from its event sponsors

Platinum Sponsor


Dinner Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsors







Bronze Sponsors