Why You Should Attend the Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference

DARC is a three-day think tank on flying robots and the future. We invite you to come learn, meet new collaborators, and get involved in shaping this future. (But you have to register now!)

Friday, October 11th: Meet the People Building Flying Robots


On Friday, October 11th, you’ll be treated to a series of talks by the engineers, businesspeople, and policymakers in the field of drones and aerial robotics.

Roboticist Vijay Kumar (U Penn and the White House OSTP) will start the day with a dose of future shock. Imagine a future in which autonomous robots roam the skies, performing everything from law enforcement, to communications, to crop dusting, shipping and logistics. (You may have seen his TED talk!) That may sound far-fetched—but you’ll meet the entrepreneurs and businesspeople that are bringing this future closer.

You’ll hear from Airware, a software company that’s bringing flying robots into the field by enabling people to quickly create applications using drones. You’ll hear from Michael Toscano, the president & CEO of the AUVSI unmanned systems trade organization, who argues that flying robots will transform the economy.

You’ll meet Chris Anderson, CEO of 3DRobotics and leader of the DIY Drones movement, who imagines a world in which every farmer has a fleet of drones to help improve crop yield.

And you’ll hear from Stephen Gorevan, chairman of Honeybee Robotics and key contributor to the Mars Curiosity rover project, about how advanced R&D in space exploration drives innovation in terrestrial UAVs.

Finally, you will hear from legal scholars, ethicists and policymakers about the ways this will affect society. You’ll hear the results of the drone census that reveals who’s already flying domestic drones. You’ll hear from Team Blacksheep, the amateur drone pilots in litigation with the FAA about who can fly and where; from safety and privacy advocates; from a ethical voice from the pages of the NY Times, and from a science-fiction author who fears the “lethal autonomy” of machines who can make a Kill Decision.

That’s reason enough to attend DARC. But it’s just the start.

Friday night: Live Drone Demo Show


In this fun and fascinating show, the inventors and technologists of the Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference will show off their stuff live and on stage.

You’ll meet Henri Seydoux, CEO of Parrot and maker of the world’s most popular hobby drone – and you’ll meet the hackers building and flying open source drones with Javascript.

You’ll meet a talking robot and quadcopters that can see. You’ll witness flying robots that fit in the palm of your hand, and visors that let you see through a drone’s eyes. You’ll be party to a live, remote 3D mapping using a fixed wing drone.

You might even catch a surprise guest or two (ever hear of Tacocopter?)

AfterDARC is also open to the general public. Tickets will be available at the NYU Skirball Center Box Office.

Saturday, October 12th: Shape the Future


The second day of DARC is a think tank that takes place over 20 cross-disciplinary roundtables and working groups.

These sessions are meant to be hands-on, interactive, and collaboratory. They’re not panels, where you sit in a room and listen to experts. They’re conversational, on topics ranging from Safety, Privacy, Drones for Good, and Drone Journalism.

In these sessions there are no spectators, only participants. If you want to form a specific policy proposal, or affect civilian drone integration in a specific way, or start a specific application, DARC will be a great forum to get started.

You can also learn to build your own hobby drone in three progressively more advanced DIY drone tutorials.

And if you want to take a break, you can sit on curated talks on Past and Future Sky Laws, the Saturation and Spread of Drones, and War & Peace & Drones, with presenters from the BBC, NTSB, UCLA, NASA, NOAA, United States Air Force, EFF, DARPA, MIT, and more.

Missy Cummings, fighter pilot and head of the MIT Humans and Automation Lab, will close out the day with a look to the future.

Sunday, October 13th: Hack a Hobby Drone


By Sunday, you may be ready for a break. So drop by NYU ITP @ 721 Broadway for an informal, open space gathering for attendees of DARC (and the general public). It’s a great opportunity to advance conversations that begin at DARC, to play around with drone hardware, or meet and network with makers and entrepreneurs. If you plan on attending, please register to let us know!

We’re also delighted to host Nodecopter NYC on October 13th, thanks to the generous support of Parrot. NodeCopter is a full day event where 15 – 60 developers team up in groups of 3 to program drones with Javascript. Each team receives one Parrot AR Drone 2.0 and spends the day programming and playing with it. At the end of the day, each team gets to present their work to the other attendees.

Register now


DARC is a not-for-profit event, and we hope to become the drones & society conference of record.

Here, attendees take part in a conversation about the future (and experience some future shock). Amateur roboticists will rub shoulders with federal regulators; drone journalists will learn from experienced operators; entrepreneurs will consult with lawyers and investors.  Because of the wide range of stakeholders present, DARC also presents a unique opportunity to hold informed ethical discussions about drones, automation, and the nature of progress.

If you haven’t yet registered for DARC, please take a moment to sign up right now. (You can use promo code “DARCFRIEND30″ for a limited time—shh!)

The conference kicks off in just over two weeks in New York City. See you there!

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