Francis grew up in a small town called Houma, Louisiana, sixty miles south of New Orleans. He started his career as a Space Communications Specialist in the US Air Force, and after getting out of the service and finishing college at Texas State University, he worked at NASA as one of the lead engineers on the International Space Station. Other notable positions have included Director of the TASC Advanced Simulation Laboratory, Head of Flight Simulation for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and inventor of the Decision Support Center for SGI. Francis has an extensive background in robotics and unmanned vehicles, as the Deputy Chief Engineer for Unmanned Ground Vehicles for the US Armyâ€™s Future Combat Systems, a participant in the first DARPA Grand Challenge race, a part of the DARPA EATR team, and as Chief Engineer for Elbit Systems of America. He is the designer of over 20 unmanned vehicles â€“ land, sea, and air. He is a commercial rated pilot, and was on the Board of Directors of the National Space Society. Today, Francis Govers is the Special Missions Manager for Airship Ventures, the operators of the Zeppelin Airship â€œEurekaâ€. He is on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Unmanned Systems Engineering, and on the Board of Advisers for the North Texas Entrepreneurs Center. He is a facualty member of the Unmanned Vehicle University, and one of the authors of the book "Introduction to Unmanned Land, Sea, and Air Vehicles". He is working on a new book, called "Don't Fear the Robots", about the myth of the robot apocalypse. He is a regular contributor to Robot Magazine.
Areas of Expertise
robotics - all things robotics, Self-driving cars, autonomous vehicles, Artifical Intelligence, Simulation & modeling, Aviation and Space Science, Guidance, Navigation and Control, Systems Engineering, Project Management , Airships
An idea worth spreading
Self-Driving Cars. What would it be worth to save 30,000 deaths a year (just in the US) and save $7B a year in health care costs? What would it be worth to end drunk driving, driving while texting, and drowsy driving? What would you give to be able to watch TV, read a book, or play a video game while commuting to work? This is the future of the autonomous vehicle, the self-driving car.
Airship Renaissance: Is the future of air travel the return of Airships? Can airships provide transportation to otherwise inaccessible places? Now is the time to bring back- the airship.
I'm passionate about
Robotics, Unmanned Vehicles, Airships, Aviation, Art, Decision Support Systems, Simulation, 3D design, additive manufacturing, Self-Driving Cars, Writing, Music
Talk to me about
Self-Driving Cars. Airships, Singularity. Life extension. downloading your personality into a robot. Robotic prosthetics. Nanotechnology. Additive manufacturing. Artificial intelligence
People don't know I'm good at
Accomplished 3D artist with at least 1 magazine cover to my credit. Fair guitar player. Love to build stuff.
My TED story
I listened to Dean Kayman's talk about the "Luke Arm" - prosthetic robot arm. Tears came down my face as I heard the emotion of the impact of this invention on amputees. I laughed at the stories, and cried at the wonder. Dean gave a great talk, about a great work. It filled me with resolve, and made be proud to be in the same industry.