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11 Reasons to Attend AUVSI XPONENTIAL This Year

BY Zacc Dukowitz
11 April 2018

In case you haven’t heard about it, AUVSI XPONENTIAL is one of the biggest conferences for UAS—and unmanned systems in general—in the entire world.

Get Ready for XPONENTIAL 2018

AUVSI stands for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, and they’re a nonprofit devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. XPONENTIAL is AUVSI’s annual conference, and it draws over 8,000 attendees from all over the world.

The conference is being held in Denver, CO from April 30 to May 3, and we wanted to take a moment to round up all the reasons you might want to attend this year.


[Already know you want to attend? Use code UAVCOACH18 to save $50 off the XPO Hall Pass, $100 off the Full Conference, or $150 off a VIP Pass. Tickets can be purchased here.]

Without further ado, here are our 11 reasons to attend AUVSI XPONENTIAL this year.

1. It’s One of the Biggest Unmanned Events in the World

AUVSI XPONENTIAL is massive—this year, they expect 8,500 people to attend, including unmanned technology industry leaders and forward-thinking users from the defense and commercial sectors.

By attending, you’ll be joining other people interested in unmanned systems from all over the world, all working to push things forward.

Sound exciting to you? It sure does to us.

Image source

2. Ground Breaking Technology

Because XPONENTIAL is one of the biggest unmanned systems events in the world, the technology displayed there promises to be pretty mind blowing.

At last year’s conference in Dallas, Intel released the next generation of their Shooting Star light show drone in a dramatic indoor presentation, Gryphon Sensors launched their UTM system Mobile Skylight, and many other companies issued big releases, too.

A quick clip of Intel’s indoor light show at XPONENTIAL 2017

This year promises to impress as well, and we’re sure to see some of the newest, coolest tech out there be announced in a few weeks at XPONENTIAL 2018.

3. Cutting Edge Drone Applications

Not only will you get to see some of the coolest, sexiest new tech in the drone space at XPONENTIAL, you’ll also get to hear about the newest applications for that technology.

It seems like every time we turn around someone is using a drone in a fresh, innovative way, and we can’t wait to see what new applications and use cases we come across for UAS while at the conference.

4. STEM Studies

AUVSI is committed to supporting the future of robotics, and you can see that by how much emphasis they’re putting on STEM studies (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in this year’s conference.

Take a look at all the STEM events taking place at XPONENTIAL this year:

  • Women and Diversity in Robotics. Attendees of this session will meet in small groups to engage on emerging and impactful topics in the unmanned systems and robotics communities.
  • XBuild. This buildathon/hackathon tasks participants with developing solutions to address challenges facing unmanned systems. Teams will use critical thinking to conceive, design and build their inventions during a timed competition. XBuild will take place prior to XPONENTIAL.
  • Growing the Industry Hub. This dedicated area in the XPONENTIAL exhibit hall is part of AUVSI’s mission to “grow and groom the future unmanned systems workforce.” It will be a place where students can learn about the STEM programs available at the conference, as well as what AUVSI is doing beyond the scope of the conference itself to foster and cultivate the next generation of innovators and leaders.
  • RoboNation. This is a series of student robotics competitions organized by the AUVSI Foundation as an investment in the development of aspiring engineers. During XPONENTIAL, an area of the show floor will be dedicated to showcasing the winners of these competitions—we’re excited to see what students come up with, and to see their ingenuity on display.
  • RoboTour. AUVSI will be welcoming middle and high school students from the Denver area to tour the AUVSI XPONENTIAL exhibit hall. The RoboTour will help this future generation of scientists and engineers learn about unmanned systems and introduce them to emerging technologies and trends.
  • Young Professionals Reception. This is a networking session for professionals who are new to unmanned systems, where they can learn from the experience and guidance of seasoned leaders, and also get a chance to meet and mentor younger students who are interested in joining the industry.

5. The XCELLENCE Humanitarian Awards

This year AUVSI partnered with DJI to launch the XCELLENCE Humanitarian Awards, which will recognize five organizations or individuals using unmanned systems to improve the human condition.

Winners in the Humanitarian category, as well as the categories of Technology & Innovation, Training & Education, and Operations & Safety, will all be announced at the conference on Thursday, May 3, 2018

6. The Keynotes

This year’s keynote lineup looks pretty incredible.

Check it out:

Day 1

  • Brian Wynne, President and CEO, AUVSI
  • Deputy Secretary Jeffrey A. Rosen, U. S. Department of Transportation
  • Dr. David Autor, Department of Economics, MIT
  • Michael Chasen, CEO of PrecisionHawk
  • Dallas Brooks, Director of the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory at Mississippi State University

Day 2

  • Dr. Zeynep Tufekci, Associate Professor of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina
  • Eduardo Martinez, President of the UPS Foundation
  • Stephanie Hill, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Lockheed Martin

Day 3

  • Chris Hernandez, Sector Vice President of Research, Technology & Engineering at Northrop Grumman
  • John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado

Did you see that? They even got the governor! Now that is pretty impressive.

7. The Sessions

This year there are four primary session tracks for attendees, featuring over 200 sessions total, where you can learn about the latest innovations, policies, and unmanned use cases so you’re fully informed and ready to capitalize on new opportunities.

Want to learn more about the session tracks? Here you go:

  • Policy. During these sessions, leaders shaping unmanned systems regulation and policy will relay the information that matters to attendees and their business. View the sessions in the Policy track.
  • Technology. These curated sessions will allow attendees to stay up-to-date on the latest technology trends and advancements impacting unmanned systems and robotics including artificial intelligence, machine learning, payload advancements as well as software and hardware developments. View the sessions in the Technology track.
  • Business Solutions. During these sessions attendees will hear directly from enterprise, commercial, defense and government users of unmanned systems. Learn best practices, explore potential applications and study real-world use cases to deepen your understanding of integrating drones, robotics and maritime systems into business operations. View the sessions in the Business Solutions track.
  • Trending Topics. Looking for content addressing the industry’s fastest growing markets or top technology trends? These sessions have you covered. From the latest research and updates on BVLOS drone options to state-of-the-art developments in AI, you’ll hear from leaders who are pushing the envelope by tackling the industry’s most difficult challenges and addressing near-term opportunities. View the sessions in the Trending Topics track.

8. The Exhibit Hall

—is going to be AWESOME, of course.

Just think about it—the top companies in the drone industry, and in unmanned systems in general, will all be gathered under one roof, showing off their latest and greatest tech.

This year XPONENTIAL will have over 725 companies in more than 370,000 square feet of exhibit space, where you can see the latest emerging technology, connect directly with suppliers, and establish relationships to move things forward for your business or organization.

What could be better?

9. There Are 20+ Industries Represented

XPONENTIAL will feature representatives from over 20 industries related to unmanned systems this year, allowing attendees to see the big picture and hear directly from customers, enterprise users, and technology leaders discussing the integration of unmanned systems across a variety of industries and applications.

Even though our heart is with the drone industry, it’s pretty amazing that we’ll also get to learn about what’s going on in so many other interconnected industries.

10. UAV Coach is an AUVSI XPONENTIAL Media Partner

We’re honored to be an ongoing media partner for AUVSI XPONENTIAL, and we’re really thrilled to be attending the conference as a team for the first time this year.

We don’t enter into partnerships like this lightly. If we decide to partner with an organization it means that we believe in their mission, and think that what they’re doing is important and of high quality—and that’s how we feel about XPONENTIAL.

11. Denver!

As if all the amazing tech isn’t enough, Denver is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S.

Check out this guide AUVSI put together that shows you all the different things you can do while in Denver.



Use code UAVCOACH18 to save $50 off the XPO Hall Pass, $100 off the Full Conference, or $150 off a VIP Pass. Tickets can be purchased here.

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