Drone Conference Roundup—A Look at All the Upcoming Drone Industry Events in North America for 2021

BY Zacc Dukowitz
2 June 2021

With the rollout of vaccines in the U.S. and the corresponding drop in COVID-19 cases, several major drone conferences are returning to their customary in-person format this year. There are also some great virtual offerings coming up, and of course many conferences have gone hybrid, offering both virtual and in-person formats to attendees.

In this post, we’re going to cover all the upcoming drone events in North America—virtual, in-person, and hybrid—so you can get an overview of everything drone-related coming your way between now and the end of the year.

Let’s dive in.

Note: The events and conferences in this post are arranged in chronological order.

FAA UAS Symposium


The FAA recently announced dates for the next two episodes of the virtual FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Symposium–Remotely Piloted Edition. This year’s theme is “Above and Beyond,” an allusion to the FAA’s BEYOND program, and has a list of presentations related to the new rules the FAA just rolled out about night-time operations, flying over people, remote ID, and safety.

The Symposium launched last year, with two episodes devoted to the theme “Drones. Here for Good.”

Event Details

  • Format: Virtual
  • Location: N/A
  • Dates: June 9-10 (Episode III) and September 14-15 (Episode IV)

Learn more



InterDrone is one of the leading international drone conferences and expositions in the industry. It’s a great place to meet and hear from industry leaders, and the exhibition hall never fails to impress.

The conference has roots in the hobbyist drone space but has since branched out into commercial applications, with a big emphasis on the work being done by public safety agencies.

Event Details

  • Format: In-person
  • Location: The Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas
  • Dates: August 10-12

Planning to attend? Use code UAVCoach15 to get 15% off full conference passes.

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The IEEE International Conference on Autonomous Systems (IEEE ICAS 2021) is a premier international forum for presenting the technological advances and research results in the fields of theoretical, experimental, and applied Autonomous Systems (AS). This year the conference will take place as a Virtual Conference.

Event Details

  • Format: Virtual
  • Location: Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Dates: August 11-13

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AUVSI Xponential


Xponential has long established itself as the preeminent event for all things unmanned. While it has roots in the military space, commercial drones have become a much larger portion of their exhibition floor over the years.

 Powered by the global reach of AUVSI, XPONENTIAL is the only gathering for unmanned systems leaders and end users in every industry to share use cases, experience new technologies, strike up new partnerships, and solve real problems.

Event Details

  • Format: In-person
  • Location: Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Dates: August 16-19

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commecial-uav-expo-2021Commercial UAV Expo has set itself apart through its dedication to bringing together a big swath of end users—that is, those who benefit from commercial drone operations.

While other drone conferences bring in a diverse group of people from the drone industry, Commercial UAV Expo stands out as a place where new, cutting edge drone applications are showcased by those actually using those applications.

Event Details

  • Format: In-person
  • Location: The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Dates: September 7-9

Planning to attend? Use code SAVE100 to get a $100 discount.

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The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) annual conference showcases various aspects of entertainment, media, and tech, and commonly has a fairly deep segment of drone-focused content.

Event Details

  • Format: In-person
  • Location: Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Dates: October 9-13

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UAS Summit & Expo


The UAS Summit & Expo is produced by UAS Magazine and is the upper Midwest’s premier unmanned aircraft systems event.

This year will be the 15th time the conference has been put on. As North Dakota pushes forward the creation of its statewide BVLOS network, this conference will be more and more important as a place where other states can learn from those on the forefront of implementing BVLOS drone operations.

Event Details

  • Format: In-person
  • Location: The Alerus Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Dates: October 13-14

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The Energy Drone & Robotics Summit is the largest global summit of the Energy Drone & Robotics Coalition. The event series is unique in that it focuses exclusively on the business and technology of unmanned systems, automation, and data/AI in energy operations.

Event Details

  • Format: Hybrid
  • Location: Houston, Texas + Digital
  • Dates: October 25-27

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Each year, USC-STC presents a dynamic list of local, regional and national events to help inform and educate both our members and the larger community of remotely-piloted/unmanned vehicle experts, as well as Canadians who are interested in learning more about opportunities in the aerial, ground and marine unmanned systems sector.

This includes our premiere event, Unmanned Canada, Canada’s own Unmanned Industry Conference and Exhibition, our student competitions, our Industry webinars as well as local events.

Event Details

  • Format: In-person
  • Location: TBD
  • Dates: November 2-4

Learn more

Planning to attend any of these conferences? Share your plans in this thread on the UAV Coach community forum.

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