1st Autonomous Systems Community of Interest (ASCI) Conference

  • 13 - 14 November 2024
  • Brussels Belgium
  • 13 November (08:30-17:30) - 14 November (09:00 -16:30)


“The European Defence Agency (EDA) is organizing the 1st Autonomous Systems Community of Interest (ASCI) Conference, which will be held on 13/14 November at the Royal Higher Institute for Defence (RHID), in Brussels, Belgium. 

The EDA’s Action Plan on Autonomous Systems (APAS)

The EDA’s Action Plan on Autonomous Systems (APAS) was approved on 11 January 2024 to support the Member States (MS) to speed up the development of highly effective, efficient, and reliable autonomous systems (AS) for land, air, maritime, and cross-domain operations. Embracing a holistic approach to the development of AS, the plan addresses various challenges encompassing technology discovery, development, and integration, to enhance AS abilities and non-technological aspects such as concept development, taxonomy, test, validation & verification, certification, standardization, and regulation.

The APAS proposes a synergistic and complementary trajectory, fostering collaboration among EU programmes and entities, notably the EDA and the European Commission. This collaborative strategy acknowledges the unique features and priorities of each entity, and contributes to enhance efficiency in investments, optimization of results, and to accelerate technology identification, development and transition to military capabilities, beyond research and innovation activities and in line with EU Capability Development Priorities. Moreover, it is also intended to stimulate the spin in of EU civil-driven research and innovation.

The Autonomous Systems Community of Interest (ASCI)

A key feature of the APAS is the establishment of an Autonomous Systems Community of Interest (ASCI). This community will ensure the contribution from diverse governmental and non-governmental experts, employing a cross-functional and cross-Directorate approach. The objective is to facilitate cooperation, promote the exchange of perspectives, experiences, and knowledge, thereby maximizing EU efforts on AS and expediting their development in a unified and coordinated manner. The establishment of this community is without prejudice to, and will not duplicate, the ongoing and future activities on autonomous air, land and maritime systems carried out by the existing EDA communities, project teams or working groups.

The ASCI will be granted visibility into key AS activities through a dedicated EDA webpage – currently under development. Additionally, it will actively participate in and co-organise thematic events such as conferences, seminars, workshops, where sectoral topics, emerging challenges, opportunities, critical factors, and potential solutions will be discussed. Moreover, the ASCI will be offered the opportunity to provide insights for future reviews of the APAS.

The events with ASCI involvement will be tailored on an ad hoc basis to best support the implementation of the APAS and discuss specific aspects of future AS. These events will reach diverse audiences, with varying levels of expertise and responsibility. Anticipated topics for these events encompass all elements of the APAS, namely:

  • Technology for AS (Land, Air, Maritime, cross-domain, enablers);
  • Concept of use (CONUSE), concept of operations (CONOPS), operational requirements and training;
  • Test, Validation and Verification;
  • Certification;
  • Standardisation and taxonomy;
  • Regulatory and ethical considerations.

Registration as an ASCI member is open to Governmental and non-Governmental experts from EU Member States, industries, universities, or Research & Technology Organizations (RTO), and can be done at:

The 1st ASCI Conference

The 1st ASCI Conference aims to foster interaction among ASCI members and discuss a broad range of relevant topics, including technological and non-technological challenges, lessons from the Ukraine war, emerging trends, critical factors, and new opportunities. Additionally, the event will facilitate the widespread dissemination of the APAS.

The objectives of the Conference are as follows:

  • Fostering discussions within a heterogenous group of high- and low-level governmental and non-governmental experts, including decision-makers, planners, military personnel, and technical experts. This will be facilitated through a cross-functional approach to ensure comprehensiveness and promote the exchange of experiences and knowledge, to maximize EU efforts on AS and expedite their development in a coherent and coordinated manner.
  • Amplifying and reinforcing priority topics of the APAS to speed up the development of autonomous systems for Land, Air, Maritime, and cross-domain operations.
  • Analysing the alignment between lessons learned from the Ukraine war and the technologies and capabilities under development in Europe.
  • Addressing the ongoing efforts of synchronization between EDA activities on AS and those of other relevant EU entities, such as the European Commission, the European Defence Technology and Industrial Base (EDTIB), and NATO.
  • Discussing solutions to increase the efficiency of investments and effectiveness of results, while reducing duplication risks and encouraging the use of civil industry research achievements and civil-driven innovation in EU defence projects to boost cross-fertilization between civil and defence industries.

The Conference will be aligned with the APAS implementation, following a cross-domain approach, and executed in full respect to the European Parliament resolutions, MS’s legislation and normative guidelines, European values, and fundamental rules and principles of international humanitarian law, including those related to Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS).

EDA anticipates an audience of approximately 300 participants and over 30 speakers and panellists from MS, Ukraine, EDA, European Commission, EU Military Staff (EUMS), NATO, the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), and the EDTIB, organized as follows:

Day 1 (13 November)

  • Welcome addresses by EDA and RHID’s top managers.
  • Keynote speeches from two MS on “MS perspectives on military AS”.
  • Presentation of the EDA´s APAS.
  • Session 1 – Operational view of Autonomous Systems
  • Keynote speech on “Framing the right scenarios for Autonomous Systems”.
  • Pannel on “Autonomous Systems in the future battlespace – Operational challenges and roadmaps”.

  • Session 2 – Technology for Autonomous Systems
  • Keynote speech on “Framing the technological environment”.
  • Pannel on “Technological challenges and solutions” (Land, Air, Maritime, cross-domain).

  • Networking reception.

Day 2 (14 November)

  • Session 3 – Reflections on Autonomous Systems from the Ukraine war
  • Keynote speech on “The impact and need of Autonomous Systems in the Ukraine war”.
  • Pannel on “The industry’s efforts on Autonomous Systems v/s the lessons from the Ukraine war” (Land, Air, Maritime, cross-domain).

  • Session 4 – Taxonomy, Standards and Regulation for Autonomous Systems
  • Keynote speech on “Framing the regulation and taxonomy challenges and needs”.
  • Pannel on “Taxonomy, Standards and Regulation on Autonomous Systems”.

  • Session 5 – The ASCI’s voice
  • An interactive session to discuss questions and reflections presented by the ASCI members on multiple AS-related topics.
  • Conclusions and way ahead (by EDA’s Research, Technology and Innovation – RTI Director).

Closer to the event, participants will receive a detailed agenda with the names of the speakers, moderators, and panellists.

The conference will be open only for ASCI members.”