First Annual Research Symposium for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the Built Environment

Photo of drone on landing pad


We invite you to join us on Friday, April 26 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm for the First Annual Symposium on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the Built Environment at Georgia Tech. The symposium is organized by a team of faculty members from the Schools of Building Construction, Architecture, Civil Engineering, with the participation of faculty from the School of Aerospace Engineering

The symposium will feature current research within Georgia Tech College of Design and the Georgia Tech community, along with presentations from visiting faculty members and industry professionals. 

A primary goal built into the symposium is to define a comprehensive agenda for future research on UAS in the built environment, engage industry partners and formulate collaborative paths forward beyond state of the art. 


Friday, April 26, 2019
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

School of Building Construction
Flex Space, Caddell Building
School of Building Construction
280 Ferst Street, Atlanta, GA 30332

9:00 am - 9:30 am          Check-In & Refreshments
9:30 am - 10:00 am        Call to Order & Welcome | Javier Irizarry and Daniel Castro
10:00 am - 10:30 am      Opening Remarks | K.P. Reddy, Founder, Shadow Ventures
10:30 am - 12:00 pm      Panel Session 1

                                         David Epps | Director of Construction Technology, Winter Construction
                                         “UAS: a contractor’s perspective”
                                         Chaim Van Prooyen | Project Manager, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
                                         “Integrating UAS at ATL”
                                         Bob Maguire | UAS Program Manager, GDOT Aviation
                                         “GDOT Use of UAS Aircraft and Types of Missions flown”
                                         Keith Kaseman | Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology School of Architecture
                                         “UAS Design Operations”
                                         Aldo Sollazzo | Researcher, Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
                                         “Robotic Sensing - towards cognified habitats”
                                         Simon Briceno | Senior Research Engineer and Transformative Aviation Concepts Division Chief
                                         Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology
                                         “UAS and Autonomy as enabler for the future of Air Mobility”

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm        Lunch & Demos
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm          Panel Session 2

                                         Kelly Griendling | Senior Project Manager, Center of Innovation for Aerospace
                                         Georgia Department of Economic Development
                                         “An Overview of UAS Activity in Georgia.”
                                         Masoud Gheisari | Assistant Professor, Rinker School of Construction Management, University of Florida
                                         “Unmanned Aerial Systems for Construction Safety”
                                         Javier Irizarry | Associate Professor, School of Building Construction, Georgia Institute of Technology
                                         “The view from above; drones as agents of good in the built environment”
                                         Tarek Rakha | Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology
                                         “Building Envelope Modeling Futures using Heat Mapping Drones”
                                         Yong Kwon Cho | Associate Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
                                         Georgia Institute of Technology
                                         “UAV-UGV collaborative 3D mapping for construction progress monitoring”

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm          Break
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm          Group Discussion: Exploring the Next in UAS Research in the Built Environment
4:30 pm                           Closing Remarks







KP Reddy

KP Reddy | Founder, Shadow Ventures

Reddy, the founder of Shadow Ventures, effortlessly combines expertise in advanced technologies with critical, in-the-trenches experience as an entrepreneur. He is a globally recognized authority in AEC environments, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, collaborative communication, mobile applications and cloud computing. His passion is in launching game-changing startups, raising substantial investments, and leading organizations to meaningful acquisition and IPO exits. A sought-after speaker and thought leader, Reddy authored BIM for Building Owners and Developers in 2012, a book on the adoption of advanced technology in the infrastructure space. He frequently addresses audiences at universities and technology startup conferences like SXSW and TechCrunch. Reddy has been featured on NBC, The Economist, Fox News, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, US News & World Report, and The Wall Street Journal. A proud Yellow Jacket, Reddy earned his bachelor’s degrees in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.




David Epps profile pic

David Epps | Director of Construction Technology, Winter Construction

David Epps is the Director of Construction Technology at Winter Construction. He graduated with a degree in Construction Management from the University of Florida and brings nearly 20 years of experience in the construction industry, 16 of which have been focused on BIM and leveraging technology to enhance the art and science of construction on over 300 projects on and off the job site totaling over $28 Billion. His focus and passion has always been the integration of BIM and related innovative Construction Technology into the construction process. He has spent the past 15 years refining the BIM coordination process, 10 years implementing Laser Scanning technology on projects and he wrote, submitted, and facilitated the successful acquisition of one of the first FAA Exemptions for Drone/UAV use on construction projects in 2014.

Epps plays an integral role in Winter’s Construction Technology vision, departmental and company training and awareness initiatives, recruiting, R&D, Innovation, and the continual development and refinement of company and industry BIM standards and processes.  He is an active member of several local and national BIM focus and advisory groups, and he has been a highly rated speaker and presenter at Autodesk University, BIMForum, ENR FutureTech, Revit Technology Conference, Hexagon, several colleges, and many more BIM and innovation focused industry groups and advisory committees since 2005.



Chaim VanProoyen Profile Pic

Chaim Van Prooyen | Project Manager, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Chaim Van Prooyen is a project manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) with 15 years of experience in the aviation industry. Since 2012, he has been managing airfield projects through design and construction as well as managing the FAA 7460 Program for the airport.  Most recently, he became the UAS Program Coordinator for all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at the World’s Busiest Airport.  In January 2017, he successfully coordinated the first UAS flight in restricted Class B Airspace, and in March 2017 coordinated the first UAS flight over a runway at a Commercial Service Part 139 airport under the new FAR Part 107.  Since then, Chaim has been working with researchers from both the private sector and the FAA to develop a best use for UAS on-airports and most recently co-authored an SOP for UAS on the airport with the ATL UAS Working Group Committee.  Prior to becoming a Project Manager, Chaim spent seven years in Airport Operations. He also holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Aviation Business Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.



Robert Maguire Profile Pic

Robert "Bob" Maguire A.S.C. | UAS Program Manager, GDOT Aviation

Maguire's career with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) started in 1991. He is currently the UAS Program Manager for GDOT tasked to develop and manage the Department UAS program and pilots. Maguire is a Private pilot, National Safety Council instructor, member of the North American Association of Transportation Safety & Health Officials serving as the treasurer from 2010 to 2015. Maguire also served on the Georgia Stuck by Alliance Committee.  







Keith Kaseman Profile Pic

Keith Kaseman | Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology School of Architecture

Keith Kaseman is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Georgia Tech where he coordinates the Master of Science in Architecture | Advanced Production, leads design and research studios and also directs the interdisciplinary Spatial Futures Lab (launched 2019). His research focuses on incorporating AR, VR, MR, UAS, robotics and other digital fabrication practices into multisystem design-production workflows and experimental spatial systems. Before joining Georgia Tech, Keith held simultaneous academic posts at University of Pennsylvania PennDesign (2004 - 2013) and Columbia University GSAPP (2005 - 2014) and University of Tennessee Knoxville (2014 - 2016). Keith is also a partner of KBAS, a design practice launched in 2002 with Julie Beckman upon having their competition entry selected for the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, VA (2002-2008), and has since led the firm through a diverse array of work utilizing customized design and advanced digital fabrication protocols. Prior to launching KBAS, Keith was a designer and project manager at SHoP Architects from 2000 to 2003.



Aldo Sollazzo Headshot

Aldo Sollazzo | Researcher, Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

Aldo Sollazzo is an architect and researcher, an expert in computational design and digital fabrication. He received his Master in Architectonic Design in 2007, Master in Advanced Architecture at IAAC in 2012, Fab Academy diploma in 2014 in the Fab Lab Barcelona, Sollazzo is currently involved in several projects running in parallel. Since 2011, he is the manager of Noumena, a firm embracing data-driven design, investigating between the boundaries of new digital paradigms and design strategies applied to architecture, robotics and fabrication, through a hands-on and experimental approach.

Sollazzo is also the founder of Fab Lab Frosinone and Director of Reshape, a digital platform promoting interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, towards the definition of new cutting-edge practices and disruptive ideas in the field of wearable tech and fashion design. Since 2015 he is faculty at IAAC, covering the positions of Director of IAAC Global Summer School, co-Director of the new Master of Robotics and Advanced Construction, and instructor of digital tools.



Simon Briceno, Ph.D. | Senior Research Engineer and Transformative Aviation Concepts Division Chief, Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Simon Briceno is a senior research engineer and the Transformative Aviation Concepts Division Chief in the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory at Georgia Tech. He leads research in aircraft systems design, air mobility operations concepts design, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) design, and aviation safety and certification. He specializes in the development of advanced design methods to assess electric vehicle technologies in emerging aviation markets such as urban air mobility (UAM). Dr. Briceno's UAS research focuses on developing methods for autonomous path planning, inventory tracking, and aerial imaging. He has been the PI/Co-PI in over 20 different projects amounting to over $7M in sponsored research funding. He is the Georgia Tech deputy site director for the FAA Center of Excellence - PEGASAS (Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility, and Sustainability). Dr. Briceno is a senior member of AIAA and serves as AIAA Technical Chair on the Transformational Flight IOC and General Aviation Technical Committees. He is also an active commercial instrument-rated pilot.



Masoud Gheisari Profile PicMasoud Gheisari, Ph.D.| Assistant Professor, Rinker School of Construction Management, University of Florida

Dr. Masoud Gheisari is an assistant professor in the Rinker School of Construction Management at the University of Florida where he is leading Human-Centered Technology in Construction (HCTC) research group. He received his Ph.D. in Building Construction from Georgia Tech and considers himself an educator and a researcher focusing on the theoretical and experimental investigation of human-computer/robot systems in construction. Dr. Gheisari’s research interests are in the areas of human-computer/robot interaction, unmanned aerial systems/vehicles (UAS/UAVs), real/virtual humans in mixed reality environments, and human-technology interaction in educational settings. Dr. Gheisari also teaches various courses in the area of building information modeling and technology applications in construction.




Javier IrizarryJavier Irizarry, Ph.D., P.E. | Associate Professor, School of Building Construction, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Javier Irizarry P.E. is an associate professor in the School of Building Construction at Georgia Tech. He is the director of the CONECTech Lab whose mission is to establish the framework for developing next-generation technology-enhanced solutions to construction environment problems by incorporating the cognitive processes of the human component of construction operations. Dr. Irizarry’s research interests include construction safety, HCI issues in mobile applications for AEC information access, Situation Awareness driven information system design, interactive visualization systems for AEC education, role-based decision support systems, and Unmanned Aerial Systems applications in AEC.





Tarek Rakha

Tarek Rakha, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology 

Dr. Tarek Rakha is an architect, building scientist, and educator. He is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Georgia Tech and faculty at the High-Performance Building (HPB) Lab. His scholarship focuses on building envelope diagnostics and energy modeling using ‘on the fly’ heat mapping and computer-vision drones. His research collaborations were previously funded by government, industry and academic partners such as the NSF, ARPA-E, and NYSERDA. Prior to joining Tech, Dr. Rakha taught at Syracuse University, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and MIT, where he completed his Ph.D. in building technology as part of the developing team for the Urban Modeling Interface (umi) and simulation platform.





Yong Kwon Cho

Yong Kwon Cho, Ph.D. | Associate Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr.  Yong K. Cho is an associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the director of the Robotics and Intelligent Construction Automation Lab (RICAL) at Georgia Tech. His main research and teaching interests include construction robotics and field automation. He is leading the development of a new paradigm in these research areas by challenging the current understanding of science/engineering technologies in real-world robotic field operations. Among the challenges he is investigating are robotizing and automating several critical field tasks for disaster relief, construction management, infrastructure maintenance, and worker’s safety and productivity improvement.





Kelly Griendling Kelly Griendling, Ph.D. | Senior Project Manager, Georgia’s Center of Innovation for Aerospace

Dr. Kelly Griendling is the Senior Project Manager at Georgia’s Center of Innovation for Aerospace where she provides technical support to Georgia’s aerospace companies.  Previously, she was the Chief of the Advanced Systems Engineering Division for the Georgia Tech Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, where she managed over $4M in research specializing in the development of advanced methodologies to tackle complex, multi-disciplinary, large-scale challenges in aerospace, defense, logistics, unmanned systems, and smart cities. Dr. Griendling is passionate about education and providing meaningful student experiences. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses at Georgia Tech, she founded the STEP program creating engineering internships for Georgia high school students.  She was the outreach coordinator for the MENTOR program, orchestrating efforts between colleges, technical colleges, and high schools to improve manufacturing education.  She earned her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech, and was a Sam Nunn Security Fellow.



Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have rapidly permeated Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Facility Management practices over the past several years and projections indicate continued growth of their use within these fields beyond the foreseeable future. 

According to statistics compiled by the UAS mapping software company DroneDeploy, there was a 239% increase in adoption of UAS technology from 2017 to 2018 in the use of UAS in construction alone. 

Given the significant increase in the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in professions and industries associated with the built environment, research on many topics related to this disruptive technology has also naturally increased. Many operational protocols have been well established for use case applications such as site mapping and modeling through photogrammetry, and building analysis and documentation of construction progress.

The field of Unmanned Aerial Systems in the Built Environment is currently in nascent stages of development with respect to the full capacity that this technology has to potentially alter future standards of practice on numerous fronts. As processes of design, engineering, construction and facility management continue to evolve into increasingly elaborate forms of multisystem collaboration and workflows reliant upon real-time sharing of information and data, it appears that the development of ever more intricate use applications of UAS in the Built Environment will continue to both expand and diversify. The question at hand is, what’s next?


UAS Symposium Organizing Committee
Chair: Javier Irizarry, P.E., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Director, CONECTech Lab @ Georgia Tech
School of Building Construction
College of Design
Georgia Institute of Technology

Co-Chair: Keith Kaseman
Assistant Professor
Coordinator, MS Arch | Advanced Productions
Georgia Institute of Technology
School of Architecture

Co-Chair: Yong K. Cho, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor
The School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

Event Organization Manager: 
Tia Jewell
Graduate Recruitment, Marketing and Events
School of Building Construction
College of Design
Georgia Institute of Technology

Javier Irizarry, P.E., Ph.D.