Aviation & Robotics Summit Brings Innovators Back to Pittsburgh

Three-day event returns for second year at PIT this week

By gmastrangelo

Published May 13, 2024

Read Time: 3 mins


Many of the world’s top minds in aviation innovation will gather at Pittsburgh International Airport this week at the second annual Aviation & Robotics Summit May 14-16.

Hosted by Future Travel Experience – an organization leading change in the industry – and PIT, the summit melds aviation, robotics and tech together during a three-day event where industry professionals are invited to view the world of aviation through a new lens and work to overcome major challenges.

Last year, the inaugural summit brought some of the most intelligent and innovative minds in the industry to Pittsburgh for a two-day event that sparked breakthroughs in the industry. This year, the summit will expand for one more day, and those bright minds will come back to continue making progress. The summit will be held at the airport, Heinz History Center and Carnegie Mellon University, one of the world’s ‘s leading robotics research institutions.

Why Pittsburgh?

Recognized as the robotics capital of the world, Pittsburgh is a hub for innovation, and its airport reflects that identity.

“We have all the right ingredients,” PIT CEO Christina Cassotis said. “We have a city and a community that has been innovating since its founding. We have an airport and a team that has been dogged about pushing the industry forward. What we want people to understand is that this is exactly where you can test. This is exactly where you can discover what’s possible.”

One of Cassotis’ top priorities since becoming CEO has been weaving innovation into the fabric of the airport.

For example, PIT’s xBridge program helps drive innovation by providing a chance for companies to test new technologies in a real-world environment.

“By bringing together the global aviation industry with this incredible technology that we have here in Pittsburgh, we’re finding a way to short-cut the development of technologies, the identification of needs, the creation of solutions to benefit the industry as a whole,” said Cole Wolfson, director of xBridge at PIT.

xBridge in action

In fact, xBridge will play a prominent role throughout the three-day summit. On the first day of the conference, guests will be able to see 13 xBridge projects in action, witnessing tech applicable not just to aviation but to other industries as well.

They’ll see Ecotone Renewables’ digestor that turns food waste into sustainable fertilizer and Mapless AI’s remote-controlled cars, in addition to products that will transform the future of the industry, including Synaptic Aviation’s AI platform.

In addition to Wolfson, Allegheny County Airport Authority leaders – including Chief Information Officer Deepak Nayyar; Vice President of Infrastructure & Energy David Kellner; and SVP of Experience & Design Siri Betts-Sonstegard – will join industry leaders to speak about innovation at the airport.

Brainstorming solutions and building partnerships

Like last year’s event, the Aviation & Robotics Summit provides a platform for innovators from across the world to develop ideas and presents an opportunity for them to collaborate and build professional relationships that span beyond the three-day event.

Creating these partnerships opens the aviation industry to a new world of innovation, building a future for air travel rife with solutions to better the passenger and airport experience.

“The one thing I want people to walk away thinking is, ‘This is the place that I can figure out what’s next, and this is the place to test it and Pittsburgh as a community and an airport – these are the partners we want,’” Cassotis said.

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