Get Involved

Speakers and Presentation Topics
Technology Showcase Presenters
Startup Showcase Presenters
Call for Speakers

Speakers and Presentation Topics

LIDAR in drone applications: lessons and insights for automotive system makers
Tom Brady
Co-Founder and CTO

For decades, LIDAR sensing has been at the core of robotics and automation. LIDAR allows for extremely high sensing rates when compared to sound-based methods, while offering drastically reduced computational complexity when compared to vision-based approaches. These two benefits -- high throughput and low computational complexity -- are key advantages for LIDAR in the highly dynamic environments experienced by autonomous vehicles and autonomous drones. We use LIDAR-equipped drones to do autonomous inspections of wind turbines. With our approach, we fuse LIDAR information with GPS, inertial, and other sensory data to construct three-dimensional maps of wind turbines in real time. Our drones use this 3D map to intelligently plan their mission and movement throughout the world. In this talk, we will walk through key learnings when dealing with LIDAR in commercial drone applications, as well as share some insights and suggestions for designing LIDAR sensors into autonomous vehicles. We will also share our perspective on the emerging LIDAR technologies and applications.

Biography: Tom Brady is the CTO and co-founder of SkySpecs, an Ann Arbor-based startup with the mission to completely automate diagnostics and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure. The company currently serves the wind industry with an autonomous blade inspection solution. With the push of a single button, SkySpecs’ drones are deployed to collect pictures that wind turbine owners can use to assess the health of their blades. Since launching their commercial product in 2016, SkySpecs has inspected nearly 15,000 blades across 6 countries and is playing an integral role in the maintenance cycle for some of the world’s top renewable energy companies. Tom has led SkySpecs’ engineering team since 2014, guiding product development and strategy for the company’s autonomous inspection system and web-based analytics platform. Tom holds two degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, is an Endeavor Entrepreneur, and was named one of Forbes "30 Under 30" in 2016.

Technology Showcase Presenters

Wade Appleman
VP Sales and Marketing

Jane Zhang
Surestar Technology

Startup Showcase Presenters

Showcase speakers coming soon.

Call for Speakers

If you’d like to participate as a speaker, please call Jessica Ingram at 360-929-0114 or send a brief email with your proposed presentation topic to All speakers will receive a complimentary pass to the conference.

Workshop and conference scope includes topics related to LIDAR in automotive applications, such as:

  • Expert reviews and analyses of state-of-the-art LIDAR technologies
  • Business trends, market projections, M&A developments, and startup activity
  • LIDAR data fusion with other types of sensors such as radar and camera
  • Impacts of enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence
  • Notable academic research related to LIDAR for automotive applications
  • LIDAR data processing techniques and algorithms
  • Supply chain trends and challenges, government regulations, and mandates
  • Fabrication, packaging, and system assembly techniques
  • Reliability testing methodologies and techniques
  • Technology transfer, ecosystems and research hubs, company formation