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David B Laning

  • Affiliate Professor


Dr Laning is a Licensed Professional Electrical Engineer, Computer Software Engineer and Business Data Analyst. He has over 40 years of hands-on technology venture, innovation and business experience.  

For the 15 years prior to working with UW as an Affiliate Professor, Dr Laning was Principal Engineer and Solution Architect and then Business Data Analyst supporting Executive Leadership at Insitu (a Boeing Company).  Dr Laning was responsible for and participated in the development, test and commercialization of products and services in the UAV industry.  His primary engineering focus at Insitu was in the areas of large-scale image and video processing, data analytics, computer vision application development, artificial intelligence, telescopic camera systems, and robotic aerial vehicle radiotelemetry and control.  His primary data analytics work leveraged Salesforce CRM and other cloud systems to help drive the success of business operations at Insitu.  He was the ranking engineer on the first flights of UAVs in the U.S. National Airspace on Sept 12, 2013 in support of ConocoPhillips oil drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska.  The historic vehicle that he worked on for those flights has been donated to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and is now on permanent display in Washington DC.

Prior to his work at Insitu, Dr Laning ran his own business and provided engineering and software services to clients such as Lockheed Missiles and Space and Boeing Space Systems.  Dr. Laning has worked in the computer software industry for over 40 years, including management and engineering positions at Microsoft, Xerox, Draper Laboratory, PeopleSoft (now Oracle) and Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International).  In these positions, he has led the development and release of products and services that have generated over 2 billion US dollars of revenue.  He has a doctorate in engineering from MIT where his thesis research was in the engineering optimization of computerized axial tomography medical imaging systems.  In addition, Dr Laning has an MBA in Technology Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Education and Licenses

PE, Professional Engineer, Electrical Engineering, Washington State License, WA52222 (Active)

MBA, Technology Management, 1983, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management

PhD, Nuclear Engineering and Applied Physics, 1980, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MS, Nuclear Engineering and Applied Physics, 1978, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

BS, Engineering Physics and Applied Mathematics, 1975, University of Wisconsin – Madison


IEEE Senior Life Member 

ACM Member

AAAI Member

AUVSI – Board Member – Cascade region (Current)

University of Portland, Portland, OR – Capstone Advisor Shiley School of Engineering, Electrical Engineering from 2014 to 2023

Clark College, Vancouver, WA – Aero/Astro Program Advisory Board since 2021


Large-scale image and video processing

Data analytics (Tableau, Salesforce, R, Pandas, etc)

Database systems 

Computer vision application development

Artificial intelligence

Telescopic camera systems

Robotic aerial vehicle radiotelemetry and control

Ortho-mosaic image processing and reconstruction

Computerized Axial Tomography 

Medical Imaging and processing

FCC Radio Operator, Amateur Extra License, K6DBL (Active)

FAA Part 107 UAV Remote Pilot License, (Active)