The 2023 Emerging Aviation Technologies Thought Leaders’ Summit: what to expect

Not only does the drone industry get the excitement of the Consumer Electronics Show this week, but there’s a mini conference embedded inside the world’s largest trade show: the 2023 Emerging Aviation Technologies Thought Leaders’ Summit.

The 2023 Emerging Aviation Technologies Thought Leaders’ Summit is being put on by the folks at Women and Drones, and brings together leaders within the Uncrewed Aircraft Systems and Advanced Air Mobility industries. Whether you’re planning on attending CES 2023 in-person, or you’re just hanging onto your computer for virtual updates from home (much of the summit will be live-streamed and/or recorded), here’s what you need to know about the upcoming 2023 Emerging Aviation Technologies Thought Leaders’ Summit:

Where and when?

It’s being held at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas, concurrently with CES 2023, which is set for Thursday, Jan. 5 through Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023., also in Las Vegas (this summit is a shorter period, running from Jan. 5 through Jan. 7).

The Westgate Hotel is off the Las Vegas Strip, and is one of the official CES locations, falling under the “Tech East” moniker alongside the Renaissance Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center (LVCC), which is the main show center. (A bunch of other drone vendors are also nearby at the Renaissance).

How to get there: The best, free way to get to the summit at the Westgate is catching any of the complimentary shuttle services, which run from select official CES hotels to and from the LVCC and Venetian Expo. From there, the Westgate is walking distance. See the participating hotels (and their specific shuttle pickup locations) here. Exact shuttle schedules vary, but it’s typically every 20-30 minutes between 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

For travel outside those hours, or for more frequent service, use the Las Vegas Monorail, which connects the LVCC and Westgate to a variety of hotels on the Strip including, Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s/LINQ, MGM Grand and Sahara. Trains arrive every 5-6 minutes. Though, the Monorail has a fee ($5 per ride, or $15 per day).

Here are the monorail hours:

  • Monday: 7 AM–Midnight
  • Tuesday -Thursday: from 7 AM–2 AM
  • Friday to Sunday: 7 AM–3 AM

There’s also Lyft or Uber, but surge pricing will likely apply. Check both apps to find the best price, though I tend to find Lyft has lower prices. Download the app in advance, before you get to Vegas. Use this link to save $10 off your first Lyft ride.

The Las Vegas Monorail is one of the best ways to get to and from the Las Vegas Convention Center. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Who’s going to be at the 2023 Emerging Aviation Technologies Thought Leaders’ Summit?

The lineup of speakers for the 2023 Emerging Aviation Technologies Thought Leaders’ Summit is incredibly impressive, and includes FAA Deputy Executive Director of UAS Integration Abigail Smith, NASA director Parimal Kopardekar, Electric Flying Car Racing Pilot Lexie Janson, Sky Magic COO Hitomi Uematsu and Chula Visa Police drone first responder captain Miriam Foxx.

A snapshot of who you’ll meet at the 2023 summit.

You can see the full lineup of 2023 Emerging Aviation Technologies Thought Leaders’ Summit speakers here.

The summit begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5 with a talk run by MatrixSpace Chief Revenue Officer Lori DeMatteis discussing where we are now, and what the chart for the future is set to look like. Other Thursday discussion topics include BVLOS and a talk on drone sports featuring Electric Flying Car Racing Pilot Lexie Janson and Drone Soccer’s National Engagement Strategy Chair, Dr. Renee Welch.

Friday’s panel schedule is jam-packed, but will include NASA’s Parimal Kopardekar discussing AAM, as well as UAS Engineering Manager for UPS, Jessica Mason, discussing how to attract more women in tech.

The final day of the summit, Saturday, will include a talk from NASA Director of Aeronautics Huy Tran, as well as a talk on emerging technologies featuring Liz Stalford of Swoop Aero and Kimberley Hayes of Valkim Technologies. You’ll also hear from me, discussing the next big thing in drones in a panel moderated by Bill Johnson, alongside Chula Vista Police Department’s Miriam Foxx.

An awards ceremony and celebration

One of the things that Women and Drones is best known for is its annual Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards ceremony. This year is special because it’ll inaugurate its first-ever round of Hall of Fame inductees. I’m so proud and humbled to say that I’m one of them. The award ceremony is set for 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at Las Vegas Convention Center – West Hall Room W218, and is open for anyone with a CES Badge to attend. That’s followed by a reception, though there’s an additional fee and advance tickets are required.

Among those being honored include the inaugural Hall of Fame inductees, the annual Women to Watch winners and the businesses being recognized in the Top Companies for Women awards.

The honorees that were named the best drone companies for female employees were selected for being “in the global emerging aviation industries that has a culture where women can thrive.” This year’s winners are:

Coincidentally, one of the Hall of Fame inductees, Anita Sengupta, will be making two trips to the stage at the awards ceremoy. Her company, Hydroplane, is one of the top companies for women.

Will you be at CES 2023? If you see me anywhere around Vegas, please say hello!

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