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All the Reasons We’re Excited for AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2020—Diverse Educational Tracks, DRONERESPONDERS Global Summit, and the XCELLENCE Awards

BY Zacc Dukowitz
4 September 2020


AUVSI’s annual XPONENTIAL conference is one of the biggest events in the drone industry, and it’s right around the corner.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year the conference was pushed back and moved to a virtual format. But now the event is almost upon us—the conference will be taking place in just one month, starting on Monday, October 5 and running through Wednesday, October 7.

[Visit the  XPONENTIAL website to register for the conference now.]

From what we’ve seen, XPONENTIAL 2020 is stacking up to be one of the best so far.

The educational tracks are diverse and exciting, the keynote lineup is impressive, and the exhibition hall is going to be packed (virtually, of course—the conference will be hosting virtual technology pavilions this year).

We’re also looking forward to the DRONERESPONDERS Global Summit as a forum for advancing best practices for drones in public safety and pushing forward the dialogue about how drones can best support first responders working in the field.

One of our favorite parts of XPONENTIAL is the AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards, which are given out every year in three categories—Technology & Innovation, Humanitarian, and Public Safety. This year’s lineup in the Humanitarian category is especially exciting, with each one of the six finalists showcasing the good work drones are doing to help people throughout the world.

AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2020: Find Your Connections

Educational Tracks

Instead of creating tracks focused on the different commercial sectors that use drones, AUVSI has taken a cross-pollination approach to how it’s arranging its educational tracks this year.

Given that drones are essentially a tool that can be used for a wide variety of jobs, this approach makes sense.

Cross-pollination is a key factor in the growth of the drone industry, with drone users and manufacturers in different sectors often looking at how drones are being used elsewhere to inform the kind of work they might be able to do. For example, the inspection work conducted by drone in a pressure vessel used for Oil & Gas is sure to have a lot of overlap with pressure vessel inspections conducted by drone in other industries.

XPONENTIAL 2020 is the place to break down industry silos. From defense and energy to construction and undersea exploration, our community depends on engineers, scientists and visionaries to solve problems and generate ideas as quickly as possible.

Here are the five different educational tracks featured at XPONENTIAL 2020:


These sessions will bring you face to face with your counterparts from all corners of the unmanned universe sharing advances in technology that transcend the limitations of market and domain. Learn from these experts how specific problems have been solved and how they may apply to your specific challenges, taking you outside of your day-to-day mindset to spark creative solutions to your unique needs.

Who should attend:

  • Job Role: Corporate executives, strategists, program managers, business development and marketing professionals, engineers, technologists, developers, researchers, and academics
  • Organization Type: Platform manufacturers, service providers, software companies, IT/data/cloud services providers, defense and government organizations, commercial/enterprise users, academic organizations


While the drone industry and regulation continue to evolve, real-world problems are already being solved by unmanned systems. This track is both educational and promotional, with the emphasis placed on learning from case studies. Expect to see how specific issues were overcome with an innovative unmanned system, how that user integrated with their operations, and the insights and benefits that resulted. 

Who should attend:

  • All professionals interested in or seeking a solution in unmanned or autonomous systems.


Hear directly from the leaders shaping unmanned systems regulations and policies for unmanned aircraft, automated vehicles, and maritime systems. Gain up-to-date insights on how current policies will affect your business, drive the conversation on future needs to enable accelerated deployment, and share your perspective on how to stimulate public demand for unmanned solutions.

Who should attend:

  • Job Role: Policy professionals, legal professionals, corporate executives, UAS operators, public safety personnel, prosumers
  • Organization Type: Platform manufacturers, service providers, software companies, IT/data/cloud services providers, defense and government organizations, Commercial/enterprise users


The technology track has been specifically developed to feature highly technical speakers and cross-industry/domain topics. Attendees will drive next-gen capabilities in a highly collaborative setting regardless of your market or domain. We will have fresh presentations on Autonomy, Energy, Propulsion, Sensors, Materials Science, Cyber, Data, Counter-UxS, Platform/Vehicle Design, Swarming, and much more.

Who should attend:

  • Job Role: Engineers, technologists, computer scientists, data scientists, mathematicians, R&D professionals, program managers, developers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and academics
  • Organization Type: Platform manufacturers, sensor and component manufacturers, service providers, software companies, IT/data/cloud services providers, defense and government organizations, academic organizations


Commercial and enterprise users will learn to integrate and deploy unmanned technology safely, efficiently, and effectively. These sessions are tailored to attendees who are looking for opportunities to increase their operational knowledge while learning about new tools to improve training, increase safety, and maximize ROI.

Who should attend:

  • Job Role: Operators and/or program managers as well as users/pilots/stakeholders interested in learning about the latest technologies and solutions for data processing, operations management, and expanded operations.
  • Organization Type: Commercial/enterprise users, service providers, public safety organizations, academic organizations

[Visit the XPONENTIAL website to register for the conference now.]

Bonus DRONERESPONDERS Global Public Safety Summit

The DRONERESPONDERS Global Public Safety Summit will unite first responders and emergency services professionals using drones for good.


In addition to getting access to keynotes and the educational tracks listed above, all XPONENTIAL 2020 attendees also get free access to the DRONERESPONDERS Global Public Safety Summit for free this year.

The Summit will feature thought leaders presenting on the latest research findings and data surrounding public safety uses of drones and will allow attendees to participate in a set of immersive learning workshops.

The workshops will provide virtual interactive opportunities with UAS program leaders and operators representing the gamut of public safety disciplines, and let you connect directly with the speakers and the DRONERESPONDERS team to grow your network and share your experiences.

[Related reading: A Drone Pilot’s Guide to Tactical BVLOS Waivers for Public Safety Agencies]



The AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards are given out every year in three categories: Technology & Innovation, Humanitarian, and Public Safety.

We especially love the Humanitarian and Public Safety categories, since they highlight all the ways drones are being used for good in the world. And the Technology & Innovation category showcases some of the most impressive new technology being developed in the drone industry, highlighting all the work being done around the world to push the industry forward.

[Related reading: Drones for Good—A Look at the 6 Finalists for AUVSI’s Xponential Xcellence Humanitarian Award]

With so many high-quality finalists in each category, we’re looking forward to watching the announcements and seeing who they choose.

Watch this video to learn more about the work being done with medical drone delivery in the Dominican Republic by the Centro de Innovación de Drones and DR FlyingLabs, one of the six finalists in the Humanitarian category:

DJI - Delivering the Future of Healthcare

Planning to attend XPONENTIAL 2020? Chime in on this thread in the UAV Coach community forum to let us know.

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