2018 Drone Summit

Event Date

Join us November 1st for the 2nd University of Idaho Drone Summit! This FREE, all-day event is open to everyone and highlights activities occurring in the local drone community. The event features a keynote address by Jeff Williams, President of the Idaho-based UAV company Empire Unmanned, followed by lightning talks, posters, exhibits, and special topics. If you are interested in drones and their myriad uses, you won't want to miss this event!


8:00 Check-in and Coffee
8:30 Welcome & overview
Jason Karl (UI-CNR)
8:40 U of I priorities in UAS research
Janet Nelson, Vice President of Research
8:45 Keynote Address
Jeff Williams, President of Empire Unmanned
9:30 Drones: past history and future imaginings
Lee Vierling (UI-CNR)
9:45 Drone Lab presentation
Jason Karl (UI-CNR)

Lightning Talks — 8-minute talks on a variety of drone uses

10:00   Chasing wildlife in Africa with fixed-wing drones, C. Pezeshki (WSU)

10:10   Monitoring water flow through lake systems, J. Hinds (UI-NKN), F. Wilhelm (UI-CNR)

10:20   Anadromous fish counts via drone, C. Roth (IDFG)

10:30   What to do when your drone comes down, D. LaHann (UI-ORA)

10:45   BREAK

11:00   Drones in precision agriculture, S. Shafian (UI-CALS)

11:10   Drone-mounted LiDAR for mapping traffic corridors, S. Sourer (UI-CoE)

11:20   Drones for STEM Education, M. Carter, K. Eitel (UI-CNR)

11:30   The Steampunk Catfish, A. Ward, A. Kolok (UI-IWRRI)

11:40   Drones for inventory/monitoring or waterfowl, D. Lachman (UI-CNR)

11:50   Fire mapping with drones, A. Hudak (USFS)

12:00 Lunch — Pizza, Posters & Exhibits
1:30 Drone Policies & Procedures
Dan LaHann (UI-ORA), Chuck Pezeshki (WSU-VCEA)
2:00 Autonomous Flight Planning
Jennifer Hinds, Gina Wilson (UI-NKN)
2:30 Break
3:00 Open-source Image Processing with WebODM
Luke Sheneman, Jennifer Hinds, Gina Wilson (UI-NKN)
3:30 Drone-mounted Sensors
Jason Karl, Lee Vierling (UI-CNR), Jason Kelley, Jae Ryu, Sanaz Shafian (UI-CALS)
4:00 Precision Agriculture
Jason Kelley, Sanaz Shafian (UI-CALS), Dev Shrestha (UI-CoE), Robert Blair (farmer)



Jeff Williams, President, Empire Unmanned

Empire UnmannedJeff Williams is the President of and Senior Pilot for Empire Unmanned, and brings over 10 years of extensive experience in commercial UAS design, development, and flight testing into his role. His professional qualifications include both commercial and military UAS/UAV programs, operations and UAV systems development. 

Jeff is the former CEO of Williams Aerospace, Inc. in Hawaii. Serving both government and commercial clients, Jeff was a UAS Flight Test Coordinator and Mission Commander. He also served as Flight Test Program Manager as part of the Office of Naval Research sponsored UAS development program, and as UAV Mission Commander, Test Pilot and Sensor Operator (EO/IR optical turret), with over 650 hours of flight time in Hawaii, Thailand and the Philippines. He has experience with both Piccolo and Kestrel autopilot systems and GCS. Jeff was responsible for leading flight crew teams during preflight, flight and postflight operations, and wrote for companies the test flight, CRM, safety and mishap plans and UAS flight checklists. He analyzed all flight test data and prepared detailed reports to ONR and other agencies.

He served as a Senior Program Manager in the U.S. military for over 30 years. Jeff's military service includes operational experience in aviation and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission positions in combat situations in Afghanistan and other countries. Jeff is an expert sensor operator, flight test coordinator, imagery analyst with a solid understanding of GIS products, the intelligence network, covert/overt air operations, and advanced sensor system troubleshooting theory. He also possesses specific expertise in Electrical Optical/IR, SAR, ISAR, Acoustics, Hyperspectral, Laser, ELINT, SIGINT and UAV technologies. Experienced in Secure Military Communications Procedures.

Jeff Williams holds a Masters of Aeronautical Science Degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Degree from the University of Phoenix. Jeff has also served as an adjunct college professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the Kaneohe, Hawaii campus.


Alta Science & Engineering, Inc.
Northwest Knowledge Network
Pullman Police Department
WSU Engineering
Coeur d'Alene Tribe
Robert Blair (precision ag)
U of I Engineering Capstone Group
U of I College of Natural Resources
U of I College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

U of I Sponsors

College of Natural Resources
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Northwest Knowledge Network
Office of Research and Economic Development