NASA is facilitating a series of workshops to support development of a national strategy—including goals, opportunities, and research priorities—to enable increasingly autonomous operations in the national airspace.

Enabling Autonomous Flight and Operations in the NAS Workshop 1       with emphasis on enabling medium-size cargo/freighters and reduced crew transport category aircraft operating in all classes of airspace.                   

Date: April 23-24, 2019

Location: NASA Ames Conference Center, Building 3

Agenda: Download PDF agenda and/or view it here.

Reduced Crew Operations for Domestic and International Aircraft

Medium-Size Cargo Freighter


Enabling Autonomous Flight and Operations in the NAS Workshop 2       with emphasis on autonomous small unmanned aircraft systems and increasingly autonomous medium-size air mobility vehicles.

Date: August 6-7, 2019

Location: NASA Ames Conference Center, Building 3

Agenda: Download PDF agenda and/or view it here.



With the emergence of unmanned aircraft systems, an impending pilot shortage, expected growth in aviation, and need for scalability and efficiency, future flights and operations are envisioned to become increasingly autonomous. Many organizations are developing autonomous flight systems based on emerging technological trends, but enabling these operations is very resource intensive.

Many stakeholders have expressed the value of providing input towards a national strategy to support autonomous systems. A national strategy that establishes clear goals for enabling operations, characterizes various maturity levels and increasingly autonomous system options, identifies a path towards acceptance, and pulls resources together to conduct tests to assess maturity will have common benefit.  Given this interest and deemed usefulness, NASA is encouraged to take initiative to facilitate these efforts.

The purpose of this series is to bring together stakeholders to provide input towards a national strategy to enable increasingly autonomous operations.  This will include identifying clear steps and collaboration(s) needed to enable autonomous small-, medium-, and large-size aircraft to operate within a progressively increasing complex airspace. The main expected outcome is initial identification of high priority areas for research, development, testing, operational implementation, and collaboration.

This series is for participants who represent U.S. companies and institutions, including: manufacturers; passenger, cargo, and services delivery operators; venture capitalists; air transportation system experts; communication, surveillance, and navigation service providers; airspace operations experts; airport designers; system designers and integrators; researchers, government organizations; machine learning specialists; and autonomy subject matter experts.

Projected workshop outcomes:

  1. Identity of autonomous flight and operation needs, including research gaps
  2. Steps required to implement increasingly autonomous operations in progressively complex airspace and areas—and in the presence of mixed equipage
  3. Potential opportunities for collaborations, including demonstrations and operational implementation of increasingly autonomous systems in the NAS.

Workshop Organizer: Dr. Parimal Kopardekar, 650.604.2782

Acting Director, NASA Aeronautics Research Institute, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate

Logistics point of contact: Christine Clark, 650.604.5962

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