Autonomy & Opportunity

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2:00 pm – 2:45 pm

In areas where automation and robotics technology are now being applied, one overarching trend is the gradual increase in the levels of autonomy, the capacity for systems to move or perform tasks, responding to both environmental and internal stimuli, without human intervention. It is this ability that is truly transformational. The addition of autonomous capabilities is a key means of increasing system functionality, delivering greater business value, reducing costs and deriving other benefits.

It is important for developers of robotics and automation technology to understand the various forms by which autonomy can be manifested, and what currently is technically possible or soon will be. For understanding is the necessary first step before autonomous capabilities can be exploited to address technology and business challenges, as well as uncover new opportunities. Panel topics include:

  • Task and Mission Autonomy
  • Power Autonomy
  • Failure Autonomy
  • Guidance and Navigation Autonomy


Jason Derenick, Vice President of Technology, Exyn Technologies

Dr. Jason Derenick is Vice President of Technology at Exyn Technologies, Inc. A spin-off of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, and founded by world-renowned robotics expert Professor Vijay Kumar. Exyn is commercializing technologies to enable safe, reliable and scalable autonomous flight in complex commercial environments. A defining aspect of Exyn’s aerial robots (or smart drones) is that they are truly “self-contained” and do not require access to infrastructure such as GPS or wireless communications in order to carry out their missions. Dr. Derenick brought nearly 15 years of direct experience in autonomous vehicle systems when he joined Exyn as its first technical employee in 2015. He is responsible for defining and driving its strategic technical agenda and building its core technologies. Prior to joining Exyn, Dr. Derenick was employed by United Technologies Corporation (2011-2015) where he helped pioneer the software behind Matrix Technology – Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation’s autonomous system brand. For his contributions, he was recipient of UTC’s 2013 George Mead Medallion which is the corporations highest recognition bestowed upon an individual for achievement in science and/or engineering. He currently holds three patents with an additional eight pending in the area of autonomous vertical take-off, and landing aircraft and has been published in a variety IEEE forums. Among other notable achievements, he is a veteran of the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge and was a member of the only Track B team to successfully complete the final event. Dr. Derenick was a post-doctoral fellow under MAST-CTA (2009-2011) in the GRASP Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, and he holds a Ph.D. (2009) and M.S. (2005) from Lehigh University.

Tim Rowland, CEO, Badger Technologies

Tim Rowland is CEO of Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil. In this role, he is responsible for driving sales, development, delivery and service for the organization’s suite of retail automation solutions. Rowland brings more than 38 years of engineering, manufacturing test, sales and strategy experience to the position. Previously, Rowland served in various engineering roles at Lexmark, where he drove the development of innovative retail automation offerings. He also spent a decade at IBM in a variety of manufacturing test engineering, development and research roles. Rowland has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Jason Walker, Co-founder, CEO, Waypoint Robotics

Jason Walker is the CEO and co-founder of Waypoint Robotics (formerly Stanley Robotics). Waypoint is focused on making autonomous mobile robots accessible to more people and companies. Prior to founding Waypoint, Mr. Walker was the cofounder and Director of Operations at CyPhy Works. Mr. Walker also served as Lead Roboticist and Principal Investigator for CyPhy Works’ contracts with agencies such as DARPA, NIST, and the National Science Foundation. Mr. Walker has 17+ years of experience in product and business development, including B2B, consumer, and government markets. Prior to co-founding CyPhy Works he was the quality, reliability, and testing manager for the Roomba vacuuming robot at iRobot. Walker received a BSEE with a concentration in Robotics and Control Systems from Kansas State University and is a lifelong entrepreneur.