Drones Innovation Weekend

Montreal, Canada
9 - 10 November 2019
John Molson School of Business, Concordia University

The Drones Innovation Weekend is a two-day event that brings together innovators, corporate developers, students and aerospace enthusiasts to address challenges related to the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the shared airspace. Teams compete against each other in a unique environment with the objective of developing solutions that are applicable to real-world issues.

The second edition will take place in Montreal, Canada on 09-10 November. During this event participants will have the opportunity to learn from aviation experts, network, and develop solutions that will aim to enable information and data exchange between unmanned and manned aircraft. Establishing such data provisions and exchange protocols are crucial for a unified Traffic Management System that supports an ecosystem of manned and unmanned aircraft.

You can select different challenges to participate in. First place prizes for winners include:

  • CAD 2000.00 Cash Prize
  • A 2-day pass for drone testing at Barcelona Drone Center

Participation in the IATA Drones Innovation Weekend is free but you need to meet the registration requirements indicated in the Terms & Conditions (pdf).

What will we provide?

  • Break-out rooms where teams can work on their solution
  • Relaxation areas for contestants to rest and recharge
  • High speed Wi-Fi internet connection and power outlets
  • cvomplimentary catering (meals, snacks and refreshment beverages) throughout the duration of the event
  • On-site security and storage space for belongings

What will you need to do?

  • Form your team, select a challenge and register for the event
  • Bring your laptop and other electronic devices on the day of the event
  • Arrange transportation to the venue
  • Visa and travel arrangements as applicable
  • Arrange hotel accomodation

The Drones Innovation Weekend competition will take part in two phases:

Phase 1 – Ideation (November 04-08):

The first phase will allow participants in the Drones Innovation Weekend to submit and discuss ideas using an online tool with a panel of experts who will act as virtual mentors. The goal is to allow the participants to adjust their ideas for the Innovation Weekend by receiving feedback from the mentors. Upon completion of registration, the participants will be sent an email with the Challenge contents, supporting documents and information, and access to the tool for the Ideation Phase. The participants will be invited to join an online meeting for the start of the Ideation Phase on 04 Novmeber 2019.

Phase 2 – Drones Innovation Weekend (November 09-10):

The second phase, which will be held from 09-10 November, 2019 in Montreal, will allow participants to further develop and pitch their ideas, designs and solutions. A Jury of experts will assess the participants' solutions and then select the winning teams.

To view the final agenda for the Drones Innovation Weekend, click here (pdf).

​In order to participate in this competition, teams must select one of the challenges below to compete in. Click on the challenges below to view the detailed specifications:

The IATA Drones Innovation Weekend is free to participate and open to all eligible participants who wish to be involved in the competition. If you are a developer, innovator, idea generator, tech designer, data analyst, subject matter expert or enthusiast in the aviation, drones or other related fields with at least three years of experience, you are eligible to register.

By registering for the IATA Drones Innovation Weekend participants explicitly agree with the competition Terms & Conditions (pdf).

Registrations will be open from 17 September - 08 November, 2019.


John Molson School of Business, Concordia Univeristy
1450 Guy St, Montreal, Quebec H3H 0A1
Concordia University is located in the heart of downtown Montreal, Canada. The campus is a unique blend of modern architecture that fosters a perfect environment for networking, innovation and learning.

With its close proximity to the downtown core, ease of accessibility
via public transportation and a 50 minute shuttle from Montreal's
Pierre Eliott Trudeau International Airport, it encapsulates the
cosmopolitan charm of the city and has everything you need on its

Recommended Accomodation

There are several affordable accomodation options located in the downtown area in close vicinity to the venue. For more information or booking assistance, please visit the respective hotel/hostel website:

The first IATA Drones Innovation Weekend took place on March 30-31 in Barcelona and was held at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC).

Teams competed against each other to build proof-of-concept solutions for the safe operation and business impact of drones. On the second day, participants had the opportunity to visit the BCN Drone Center where they observed a test flight in segregated airspace.

The levels of engagement, creativity and competitive spirit on show were unparalleled. Thank you to all participants, partners and sponsors who made this event possible - we hope to see you at the next one!

View photos of the event


The mission of DRONAMICS is to democratize airfreight and lower the cost of shipping in emerging markets. To fulfil this mission, they developed a business model that addresses the applicability of UAS operations for e-Commerce deliveries in Switzerland. The use case that was presented addressed various aspects including the actual drone manufacturing specifications, operational requirements and assessment of infrastructure solutions available today.

Team member(s): Ivet Arabadjieva

Website: https://dronamics.com

Contact: info@dronamics.com

IATA looks forward to welcoming the following industry experts who will be attending the IATA Drone Innovation Weekend.


Andrea Shestopalov - UTM Product Manager, AiRXOS
Andrea is the UTM Product Manager at AiRXOS. Prior to joining AiRXOS, Andrea was Senior Director of Product Management at Exa Corporation, managing Exa's complete product portfolio including their flagship CFD solver PowerFLOW and other visualization, cloud and optimization products. She joined Exa from NASA Ames Research Center where she provided CFD analysis on the Orion Launch Abort Vehicle. Andrea holds a PhD and M.S. from Stanford University in Aeronautics and Astronautics, a B.S. in both Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from University of California, Davis and is an AIAA Senior Member and member of SAE. Andrea resides in Boston, MA and enjoys equestrian riding, crossfit, and spending time with her family.

Barbara Pareglio - Technical Director, Drone Interest Group, GSMA-IoT Programme
Barbara has been leading the GSMA Drone Interest Group for the last four years, to investigate and help the mobile industry to create a trusted solution for commercial unmanned aircraft. Since 2014, she has been the technical lead for the GSMA Internet of Things Programme, working on several aspects of IoT such as the development of the Mobile IoT Technologies (LTE-M, NB-IoT) and the 5G era for IoT. Barbara has over 20 years of experience in the mobile industry. Before joining the GSMA, Barbara worked in R&D in several areas of telecommunications, including Intelligent Networks, IMS, Service Enabling and M2M/IoT. She also participates in, and actively contributed to several standards.

Capt. David Morgan FRAeS - Chief Operational Integrity and Standards Officer, Air New Zealand
David is a member of the Executive team at Air New Zealand and in his role as Chief Operational Integrity and Standards Officer is responsible for Group Flight Operations policy, procedures and standards, Operational Support and Performance (including fuel procurement and use), the Group's Operational Integrity and Safety outcomes, business resilience, security and Emergency Management. He is also a current Boeing 787 Pilot.


Eszter Kovacs - Project Manager, Drone Initiative, GSMA
Eszter is a Project Manager for the GSMA's Drone Initiative, which is supporting the industry in delivering mobile networks as a preferred solution, offering drones superior wide area, high speed and secure connectivity. Leading a team of 46 mobile operators and ecosystem partners, she runs and coordinates the delivery of numerous projects and industry engagement activities within the initiative that are aimed at accelerating the commercial availability of drones, associated services, and growth of the wider ecosystem. Prior to this, Eszter has managed a number of projects both within the Regulatory and Technology teams at different mobile operators such as Elisa and Telenor. She holds a BA in Military and Safety Engineering from the Hungarian National University of Public Services and is a Prince2 and Agile qualified Project Manager.

Lorenzo Mursilli - Manager, Innovation & Digitalization Unit, Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation
Lorenzo Murzilli is a graduated aerospace engineer, innovation manager and specialist in aviation, system safety and drones. Manager of the Innovation and Digitalization Unit with the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, leader of the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) WG-6 and Program Manager of the Swiss U-Space, Lorenzo works relentlessly to improve the perception of unmanned aerial vehicles worldwide. Lorenzo has been amongst the founding fathers of the Global UTM Association (GUTMA) where he is entrusted with the function of Treasurer and member of the executive board of directors. Guest lecturer at the Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), Mentor of Students at the Xihua University in Chengdu (China), previously with Leonardo and Pilatus Aircraft, Lorenzo has developed a striking ability to boost innovation in safety critical environments and enjoys exploring the intersection of safety and disruptive technologies that can advance the human race forward.

Jean-Francois Grout - Assistant Director, ICAO Relations, International Air Transport Association

Mr Jean-Francois Grout is Assistant Director ICAO relations for IATA, and is IATA nominated representative to the ICAO Information Management Panel, an advisor to the ICAO ATM Requirements and Performance Panel and the RPAS Panel. He is also representing IATA in the ICAO Unmanned Aircraft System Advisory Group. He has over 30 years of experience in the aviation industry, particularly in the areas of Air Traffic Management and the development of automation systems in support of en-route and airport systems. Before joining IATA Mr Jean-François Grout was deeply involved in the European SESAR program initially for DSNA then for Thales. He was in particular in charge of the architecture work package that identified SWIM as a key enabler. Before that, he was heading the Cautra (French ATC automation system) System engineering division of DSNA Technical Direction. His responsibilities included the analysis of all en-route user requirements, the design of system architecture solutions to meet those user requirements and the integration/validation of the Cautra system. Before joining the Technical Direction in 1997 to develop a system architecture approach, Jean-François Grout spent 6 years in DSNA R&D centre in charge of ADS and CPDLC studies. He was chairman of the ICAO ADSP now known as the OPDLWG in charge of operational requirements for air –ground data link and ground-ground coordination for several years. From 1989 to 1990 he participated in the definition of the IFPS for Eurocontrol. He started is career in 1984 on the French IFPS. He is an ENAC Engineer (Year 1980)

Capt. David Morgan FRAeS - Chief Operational Integrity and Standards Officer, Air New Zealand
David is a member of the Executive team at Air New Zealand and in his role as Chief Operational Integrity and Standards Officer is responsible for Group Flight Operations policy, procedures and standards, Operational Support and Performance (including fuel procurement and use), the Group's Operational Integrity and Safety outcomes, business resilience, security and Emergency Management. He is also a current Boeing 787 Pilot.

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