A drone flying above the name Elon University and AUVSI.The School of Communications collaborated with the Department of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science – along with numerous community partners – to host the 2022 Elon Drone Day.

The second annual event, held Nov. 18, attracted nearly 140 attendees interested in the technological and professional potential of the expanding drone industry.

As part of the daylong program that consisted of keynote talks, a vendor expo and an afternoon flight demonstration, pilots, educators and officials discussed regulations, safety, job opportunities and trends in the drone industry. Don’t miss the event’s Flickr album at the bottom of the page!

The program featured four educational sessions addressing topics such as “Applying AI to Drone Delivery and Inspection with Quality Data” and “How Drones Fit in the Cinema and News Business.” Additionally, presenters discussed the future of the industry, as well as the role of engineering and robotics in the defense field. Presenters and topics are listed below.

More than 20 companies and agencies were on hand as part of a robust vendor expo. The day’s programming concluded with flight demonstrations on the university’s South Campus. The highlight was undoubtedly the high-speed demo provided by the Raleigh Rotor Racers and Fayetteville Multirotor Racing, two North Carolina-based drone racing organizations.

“The goal of this year’s program was to broaden the focus to include more areas across campus and within the community,” said Senior Lecturer Randy Piland, who organizes the annual event. “Therefore, we provided a connection to computer science, engineering, communication and global community outreach as they relate to UAVs. Beyond the speakers, we brought even more excitement by having drone racing league representatives and a demonstration.”

To read the event’s full news release, click here.

Questions about Elon Drone Day? Contact Senior Lecturer Randy Piland at rpiland@elon.edu or (336) 278-5232.


Vendors, Partners and Supporters

Thank you to those who have helped make this event possible.


2022 Schedule

8:30 – 8:50 AM
Check-In, Coffee & Pastries, Displays, Meet & Greet

8:50 – 8:55 AM
Welcome to Elon

9 – 10 AM
TOPIC: Applying AI to Drone Delivery and Inspection with Quality Data
Jack Emerick / Account Executive / CloudFactory

Announcements and Door Prizes

10:30 – 11:30 AM
TOPIC: How Drones Fit in the Cinema and News Business
Mike Gearin / Creative Director / PHOTOFLIGHT Aerial Media

11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
Lunch is on your own – go early to beat the crowds
McEwen Dining, Pandora Pies, Tangent (tacos), Subway, The Root, Skids

1 – 2 PM
TOPIC: Education, Drones & The Future of The Industry
Austin Brown / Co-Founder / Global Air Drone Academy

Announcements and Door Prizes

2:15 – 3:15 PM
TOPIC: The role of Engineering and Robotics in Defense
Tim Williams / Engineer / Tomahawk Robotics

3:30 – 4:30 PM
Outdoor Demos by NC DOT, BRINC, 910 Drones

A Drone Racing League demonstration will also be held during this time.


Photo of Austin Brown.

Austin Brown

Austin Brown is an FAA-certified drone pilot and educator. In 2015, he co-founded Global Air Media, LLC, a drone services provider, and the Global Air Drone Academy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that bridges the race and gender gap in STEM education and careers. In addition to flying hundreds of missions ranging from industrial inspection to construction site mapping, Brown has led an organization that has taught thousands of students to build drones around the world. He is a graduate of The George Washington University.

Photo of Jack Emerick.

Jack Emerick

Jack Emerick serves as an account executive at CloudFactory, working with drone clients to package custom workforce solutions for providing both training data for ML models and the resources necessary to carry out post-flight data review and processing tasks. For the last two years, Emerick has supported CloudFactory clients in several industries, including drone delivery, drone inspection, and aerial analytic platform solutions. He is a graduate of N.C. State University.

Photo of Mike Gearin.

Mike Gearin

Mike Gearin is vice president of operations at PhotoFlight Aerial Media, which has been using traditional aircraft and UAS/drone technology to offer premium aerial photography services for more than two decades. A lifetime, full-scale aircraft and skilled drone pilot, Gearin is responsible for flight operations, including timely legal compliance, mission planning, pilot and fleet management.

Photo of Tim Williams.

Tim Williams

Tim Williams is a mechanical and systems engineer at Tomahawk Robotics, with experience in both manned and autonomous systems, including drones, ground vehicles, and maritime robots. In his role, he designs robotic controllers for drones and other unmanned systems for defense industry customers across the world. Tomahawk’s controllers are used to operate vehicles ranging from hobby drones to military overwatch fixed-wing drones to ground vehicles. Williams earned a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) degree from the University of Florida.

2022 Drone Day Photos

Elon Drone Day – Fall 2022