Emerging technologies will take center stage when speakers from NASA and Indiana State University address logistics leaders at the 13th annual Indiana Logistics Summit on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the Indiana Convention Center. Unmanned systems, which include drones and robots, will be a primary theme for presentations by Frank Jones, Associate Director for Research Services Directorate at the NASA Langley Research Center and Dr. Richard Baker, director of Indiana State University’s new Center for Unmanned Systems.

During his remarks, NASA’s Frank Jones will recount last month’s first-ever package delivery by an unmanned aerial system. Medical supplies for a rural health clinic in Virginia were first loaded onto NASA’s Cirrus SR22, a single-engine aircraft, that was remotely flown 35 miles to a small airport and then transferred to a small drone for the final leg of the delivery. The medications were successfully delivered in a fraction of the time it would have taken clinicians to retrieve them by car. Dubbed a “Kitty Hawk moment” for drone delivery, the test was hailed as proof that drones can be useful for deliveries, especially in remote areas.

Dr. Baker’s presentation will focus on training minds to work with unmanned systems as he prepares to launch the state’s first ‘drone degree’ this fall. Indiana State University is only the fourth college in the country to offer a degree in this area of study. Baker expects the field to produce 110,000 new jobs in the next 10 years and grow from a $3 billion industry in 2013 to $110 billion by 2025.

“New technology continues to offer more opportunities in supply chain logistics,” said Dr. Baker. “The burgeoning field of unmanned systems reinforces that the future is now and they are already being widely used in agriculture, mining, research and emergency response roles.”

The daylong conference will feature an all-star list of logistics leaders kicking off with a keynote breakfast by Dr. Michael McCloskey, co-founder of Fair Oaks Farms, one of the nation’s largest dairies, and CEO of Select Milk Producers, the fifth largest milk cooperative in the country. Dr. McCloskey’s presentation “From Grass to Glass Logistics” will feature the milk producer’s new Coca-Cola partnership, the reinvention of milk and manure power. Also on the agenda will be presentations from Cummins, Indianapolis Colts, GE Aviation, NCAA, U.S. Congress, IndyCar, Moffatt & Nichol, Transportation Weekly and Harvard Business School.