News from Commercial UAV Expo 2023—Major Releases, Talks, and Pitch the Press Winners
BY Zacc Dukowitz13 September 2023
Commercial UAV Expo’s annual conference happened last week in Las Vegas, and the UAV Coach team was there.
At the show we saw some big releases, heard about breaking news in the drone industry, and attended insightful, in-depth talks from regulatory and private industry leaders.
Keep reading to get all our highlights from the event.
Releases and News from the Exhibition Hall
Here are some of the major releases and breaking news from the exhibition hall this week at Commercial UAV Expo.
FAA Extends Remote ID Deadline by 6 Months
One of the biggest topics on everyone’s mind going into Commercial UAV Expo was the upcoming Remote ID requirement deadline of September 16. But at the conference the FAA announced that they were considering extending the deadline. At a panel David Boulter, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, said “You’re going to get relief, it’s just a matter of what that relief looks like.” That relief has now come in the form of a six month extension—the new deadline for Remote ID is now March 16, 2024.
Sony Launches the ILX-LR1 Camera for Commercial Drone Operations
Showing just how serious it is about the drone industry, Sony launched its new ILX-LR1 camera made just for professional drone ops at the conference. The ILX-LR1 is a super small, full-frame camera with a 61 MP sensor that makes it capable of shooting at extremely high resolutions.
Autel’s A-Mesh System
During a live demo at the conference, Autel showed off its A-Mesh technology, using it with two of its EVO Max 4Ts (shown above). According to Autel, its A-Mesh system is the industry’s first Mesh Networking capability designed for enterprise collaboration, enabling automated drone-to-drone communication and connection.
ANRA Technologies Unveils Mission Manager X Fleet Management Platform
ANRA, known for its UTM solutions, rolled out a new fleet management platform at the conference called Mission Manager X. The new software integrates ANRA’s tools for UTM, fleet management, and mission management into a single system, providing a robust solution for professional drone ops. The new platform is hardware agnostic, and can work with almost any type of drone, as well as most drone docks.
Outdoor Flying Demonstrations
Despite the Las Vegas heat, over 300 people got up at 6:30 AM to see live drone demonstrations, and they were not disappointed. Eight different drone companies participated in the demos, showcasing their latest drone technology.
The DJI Matrice 30 with the DJI Dock | Credit: Commercial UAV Expo
The companies that participated were:
- Autel with its EVO MAX 4T (individually and two in tandem)
- Event 38 Unmanned Systems with its E400 Drone with a Nextvision Nighthawk2V Payload
- Frontier Precision Unmanned with the Censys Sentaero 5 and the Matrice 30 with the DJI Dock using its BVLOS platform
- ideaForge with its NETRA V4 UAV
- Skyfish with its M4 and M6 drones
Pitch the Press Winners
As part of the conference, Commercial UAV Expo hosts a competition every year called Pitch the Press that invites exhibitors to pitch their products to a group of editors and reporters.
In the event, new companies get two minutes to pitch their company’s product to a panel of journalists. Companies only get to use one slide and can answer only two questions.
17 pitches were heard this year, and three were selected as the winners. According to Commercial UAV News editors, the three winners stood out for their impact on the environment, on human problems, and on the drone industry.
The energy and activity that we saw leading up to and at Pitch the Press was truly unprecedented. This year’s winners reflect the importance of the practical implications of drone technology. It is inspiring to see how these solutions can make sense for operators and organizations in the present and future.
– Carla Lauter, Moderator for Pitch the Press 2023 and Content Manager for Geo Week News
Aerial Vehicle Safety Systems (AVSS)
AVSS is a Canadian aerospace company commercializing safety technologies for Urban Air Mobility. AVSS offers customers Parachute Recovery Systems and Flight Termination Systems for commercial drones.
The judges were impressed by AVSS’ Guided Delivery System, which enables drones and other aircraft to deliver supplies to difficult, austere locations. AVSS’s presentation explained how the Guided Delivery System has been adopted by customers for when a delivery location cannot reliably and safely be reached by traditional methods. Commenting on AVSS’s presentation, Dronlife’s Miriam McNabb said, “they presented practical use cases, and they showed that there is already a market for the system.”
ANRA Technologies is an international provider of end-to-end solutions for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operators and airspace managers.
ANRA was recognized for its Mission Manager X (MMX), which enables end-to-end drone mission management, covering every aspect of drone operations from pre-flight planning to post-flight analytics. The MMX is a complete enterprise drone operations management solution that is drone agnostic and can integrate 90% of commercially available systems, including drone in a box solutions. According to Brett Davis, the MMX demonstrates how ANRA “is leading the market in what’s happening in traffic management in the US and in Europe.”
FlytBase enables a single remote operator to monitor multiple drones and sensor feeds simultaneously without being present on-site, resulting in reduction of dependence on humans.
FlytBase was chosen for its enterprise-grade drone autonomy software platform. Designed to fully automate aerial data collection workflows, the platform allows users to conduct scheduled and repeatable BVLOS drone flights using docking stations, all controlled from their remote command centers. Commenting on FlytBase’s selection as one of the three winners, Jason San Souci said, “FlytBase has done a very good job of creating an agnostic, open, and scalable platform.”