Aviation & Robotics Summit 14-16 May 2024, Pittsburgh, The Robotics Capital of the world


Tuesday 14th May 2024

Tuesday 14th May 10:00 - 15:00

FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub and FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group meetings (open to members only)

Location: Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport

Ahead of the start of the Summit, Corporate Partners of the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub and Members of the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group will have exclusive access to members-only meetings. Attendees can expect tech and innovation-focused presentations, interactive discussions, startup pitches, and plenty of opportunities to network with fellow members. The FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub meeting will take place at 10:00-12:00, and the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group meeting will be at 13:00-15:00. Members of both groups will also be invited to join a joint networking lunch at 12:00-13:00.

Tuesday 14th May 11:00 - 15:00

xBridge Project Demos and Summit Sponsor Demos at PIT

Location: Pittsburgh International Airport

All Aviation & Robotics Summit participants are invited to experience live demos by the following trailblazing companies:

xBridge Project Demos

See full details >>

12:00 - 13:00

Networking lunch (open to FTE Hub and FTE BIWG members only)

An opportunity for members of our FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group and FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub communities to come together, network and exchange ideas in a relaxed environment over lunch.

Tuesday 14th May 17:00 - 21:00

FTE Aviation & Robotics Summit Kickoff Event

Location: Heinz History Center

Kicking-off three days of innovation, guests are invited to Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center; featuring six floors of interactive exhibitions, including the museum’s flagship exhibit, Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation. From the rise of the steel, glass and steamboat industries to modern advances in medicine, robotics and technology, the exhibit unravels the process and products of innovators that have shaped the region’s unique history. As well as providing an incredible networking opportunity, the kickoff event will feature an inspiring keynote by Alaska Airlines’ Director of Innovation, who will help to light the fuse of innovation that will permeate the three-day Summit.

17:00 – 18:00

Doors open, arrivals, networking, open bar, and hors d’oeuvres

18:30 – 19:30

Welcome Addresses and Inspirational Keynote

Daniel Coleman

Founder & CEO

Future Travel Experience

Matt Smith

Chief Growth Officer

Allegheny Conference on Community Development

Sara Innamorato

County Executive

Allegheny County

Andrew E. Masich

PhD, President and CEO

Senator John Heinz History Center


Revolutionising the Travel Experience

Christina Cassotis


Pittsburgh International Airport

19:30 – 21:00

Continued networking, open bar, and hors d’oeuvres

Wednesday 15th May 2024

Wednesday 15th May 08:00 - 09:00

Networking Breakfast at CMU

Breakfast sponsor

Wednesday 15th May 09:00 - 09:10

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Location: Simmons Auditorium at Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business

Daniel Coleman

Founder & CEO

Future Travel Experience

Christina Cassotis


Pittsburgh International Airport

Farnham Jahanian


Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday 15th May 09:10 - 09:40

Insights from the first-movers: Robotics and AI opportunities and challenges for airports, airlines and their partners

Ryan Ghee

Chief Operating Officer

Future Travel Experience


Each panellist will speak from their seat for five minutes to share the work they are doing with AI and robotics, before participating in an interactive panel discussion.

Zahra Merchant

Chapter Lead Robotics

Royal Schiphol Group

Kevin Kleist

Senior Emerging Trends Advisor

Southwest Airlines

Lars Mehrtens

Deputy Head of Department – Aviation Logistics

Fraunhofer IML

Topics to discuss
  • How are each of the organisations tapping into robotics and AI today?
  • What are the biggest lessons that have been learned to date?
  • Where is the most potential for robotics and AI technologies in aviation?
  • What are the biggest challenges that must overcome in order for robotics and AI technologies to reach their full potential in the aviation industry?
  • How can we ensure that robotics and AI complements the human workforce in the most effective manner?
  • How important is it that all stakeholders embrace collaboration?
Wednesday 15th May 09:40 - 10:15

Where the rubber meets the runway: Navigating expectations, requirements, implementation, and outcomes when testing and deploying technology through partnership


Short presentation from each partner, followed by an interactive panel discussion.

Siri Betts-Sonstegard
Siri Betts-Sonstegard

SVP, Experience & Design

Pittsburgh International Airport

Naashom Marx

Director of Strategic Innovation - Advanced Mobility

CVG Airport

Thomas Cannell

SVP Airports Futures

IAG Airports

Fernando Bosch
Fernando Bosch

Director of Operational Decision Support

British Airways

Dana Borschewski

Regional VP Americas


Wednesday 15th May 10:15 - 11:00

Networking coffee break

Coffee break sponsor

Wednesday 15th May 11:00 - 12:30

Innovation Insights from Aviation, Robotics and AI leaders


Quick-fire presentations from across and outside of the aviation industry.

Carmel Majidi

Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Carnegie Mellon University

An insight into United Airlines’ robotics strategy – future opportunities and challenges

Kristen Berndt

Senior Manager, Baggage Strategy & Innovation

United Airlines

About to Adopt AI? Start with the Right Data and the Right People

Rebecca Nugent

Head, Department of Statistics & Data Science

Carnegie Mellon University

How Avinor is embracing robotics and automation to create a next-generation baggage handling system

Idar Sørgjerd

Department Manager, BHS, Tech & Op. Excellence


Planning for automation technology commercialization

Gabriel Goldman
Gabriel Goldman

Senior Commercialization Specialist

National Robotics Engineering Center

12:30 - 13:30

Networking lunch

Wednesday 15th May 13:30 - 16:30

Robotics Innovation Tours

Attendees will have a truly unique opportunity to go behind the scenes at some of the most pioneering robotics companies headquartered in Pittsburgh, which has gained a reputation as the “Robotics Capital of the World”.

Confirmed stops include
Wednesday 15th May 17:00 - 18:30

Happy Hour at Cinderlands Warehouse

Happy Hour at Cinderlands Warehouse

The FTE Aviation & Robotics Summit Happy Hour will take place at the Cinderlands Warehouse, a unique craft brewery in Pittsburgh’s famous Strip District. The Happy Hour will provide a perfect opportunity to relax and network in a vibrant environment after a busy day of panels at CMU and robotics innovation tours across Pittsburgh.

Thursday 16th May 2024

Thursday 16th May 08:00 - 08:30

Networking Breakfast at CMU

Breakfast sponsor

Thursday 16th May 08:30 - 14:30

Interactive Workshops – Solving Aviation Industry Challenges With Robotics Solutions

Location: Simmons Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business

Interactive Workshops – Solving Aviation Industry Challenges With Robotics Solutions
Facilitated by
Mike Formica

Serial Entrepreneur and Founder

Formica Advanced Prototyping

Aaron Morris

Innovation Principal


On the final day of the Summit, all attendees – including innovators from airlines, airports, OEMs, government agencies, vendors and robotics industry leaders – will roll up their sleeves and play an active role in the interactive workshops hosted at Carnegie Mellon University, a global leader in robotics and computer science research and education.

Areas of focus will include: baggage handling, airside asset management, aircraft servicing, workforce support & enhancement, passenger services, and airport terminal operations.

12:00 - 13:00

Working Lunch

Thursday 16th May 14:30 - 15:00

Summit Finale: Closing, next steps and call to action

Following a morning of intensive interactive workshops, in the afternoon each working group will share a short summary to shed light on the challenge they have been tackling, the progress they have made in solving this challenge with robotics and AI solutions, and the all-important next steps. The presentations and the key takeaways will also be fed into Future Travel Experience’s Robotics & Autonomous Vehicles Think Tank, which will be unveiled at FTE Global in October.

Friday 17th May 2024

Friday 17th May 09:00 - 17:00

Optional Bonus Day

Pittsburgh International Airport is working with its local partners to offer bonus content for those who plan to extend their stay in the “Robotics Capital of the World”. For instance, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance is offering an ecosystem tour of its robotics, AI and advanced manufacturing assets in the region on Friday, May 17. Further details will be made available to registered Summit attendees.

Register to attend or express your interest in the FTE Aviation & Robotics Summit 2024

Register / express your interest