News from AUVSI XPONENTIAL This Week—XCELLENECE Award Winners, Product Launches, and More

BY Zacc Dukowitz
27 April 2022

This week, AUVSI’s 2022 XPONENTIAL has been happening in Orlando, Florida and there have been lots of releases and announcements made from the conference.

In addition to vendor news, the 2022 XCELLENCE award winners were just announced, which is a series of awards given out at the conference every year to recognize accomplishments in four different categories—innovation, operations, technology, and mission.

The last category encompasses UAV work related to drones for good, encompassing efforts to use drones for public safety and for humanitarian projects.

We’re also covering the FAA Drone Symposium, which is happening at the conference this year in partnership with AUVSI.


Here are some of the major releases and news from the exhibition hall this week at XPONENTIAL 2022.

AUVSI Celebrates 50 Years


This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International. According to Brian Wynn, the CEO of AUVSI, “enabling working autonomy for all is top of mind for the organization in year 50, just as it was in year 1.”

AVSS and NUAIR Complete Testing of Parachute Recovery System for DJI Matrice 300 RTK

Credit: AVSS

AVSS has announced the successful completion of testing for its parachute recovery system on the DJI Matrice 300 RTK. The testing was done in partnership with NUAIR (New York UAS Test Site), and was in compliance with the ASTM F3322-18 International standard.

Draper’s Tiny Self-Guided Reports for Operation in High Risk Environments

Credit: Draper

Draper has announced plans to develop a small climbing robot whose design is based on the movement of insects. The project is funded by DARPA, and the end robot will be about the size of an insect itself.

Florida Power and Light’s Goal to Put a Drone into Every Substation

Credit: Percepto

FPL is the only utility in the country to use drone-in-a-box technology. At XPONENTIAL, Eric Schwartz of FPL talked about how it’s using the autonomous capabilities of Percepto’s drones to monitor its utility infrastructure, stating that its ultimate goal was to “put a drone into every substation” for ongoing data collection.

Remote Flying with Red Cat Holdings


At the Red Cat Holdings booth, you were able to fly a drone located in Italy—while standing at a booth in Orlando, Florida.

Teledyne FLIR’s New Dual Thermal-Visible Camera for Unmanned Systems

Credit: Teledyne FLIR

Teledyne FLIR launched the Hadron 640R combined radiometric thermal and visible dual camera module at XPONENTIAL this week. The Hadron 640R design is optimized for integration into unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), robotic platforms, and emerging AI-ready applications where battery life and run time are mission critical. It’s also quite small, as you can see in the image above—and it looks likely that it will be available on several Blue UAS before too long. (Another theme you may have noticed at XPONENTIAL—using a quarter to show the size of your tech.)


Every year at XPONENTIAL, leaders in the drone industry are recognized in the AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards.

These awards were created to honor innovators with a demonstrated commitment to advancing autonomy, leading, and promoting safe adoption of unmanned systems and developing programs that use these technologies to save lives and improve the human condition.

During AUVSI’s 50th anniversary year, we are celebrating the accomplishments of the uncrewed systems industry within the last half-century, reflecting on lessons learned, and looking ahead to our vision for the future. The 2022 XCELLENCE award winners represent some of the leading innovations and organizations that will help us reach our shared vision of assured autonomy.

– Brian Wynne, President and CEO of AUVSI

Here are the 2022 winners.

XCELLENCE in Mission

Five winners were recognized this year for their mission, with three winners under the Public Safety category and two under the Humanitarian category. The five winners will equally divide a $5,000 prize for their ground-breaking humanitarian and public safety efforts.

Humanitarian Project/Program


  • Andrones—for the mapping and treatment of Aedes Aegypti Mosquito breeding sites with drones (vector of Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya diseases)
  • TEKEVER—for its TEKEVER AR5 Lifesaver

Public Safety Project/Program

Credit: FDNY Robotics

  • Black Swift Technologies—for its pathfinding BVLOS mission for advancing volcano activity monitoring and early warning
  • New York City Fire Department—for FDNY Robotics
  • Story County Sheriff’s Office—for the Story County Sheriff’s Office UAS Team

XCELLENCE in Innovation

Credit: Drone Delivery Canada Corp.

1st Place—Drone Delivery Canada Corp., Integrating Cargo Drones into Controlled Airspace at a Major International Airport
2nd Place—Wing, Store-to-Door Delivery by Wing
3rd Place—TuSimple, TuSimple’s Autonomous Freight Network

XCELLENCE in Operations

Credit: Percepto

1st Place—Florida Power & Light Company, FPLAir Blue Sky Operations
2nd Place—PABLO AIR Co., Ltd., Integrated UAM Management System with PAMNet
3rd Place—Percepto, Dronifying Critical Infrastructure

XCELLENCE in Technology

Enabling Components & Peripherals

Credit: Honeywell

  • 1st Place— CENTUM Research & Technology, Lifeseeker Mini Light Version
  • 2nd Place—Amprius Technologies, 450+ Wh/kg Li-Ion Batteries with Silicon Nanowire™Technology
  • 3rd Place—Honeywell, Honeywell BVLOS Suite

Hardware & Systems Design

Credit: AgEagle

  • 1st Place—Easy Aerial, Inc., Easy Aerial Raptor Smart Aerial Monitoring System
  • 2nd Place—Stratom, Rapid™ Autonomous Refueling
  • 3rd Place—AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc., eBee TAC

Software Design & Coding

Credit: Auterion

  • 1st Place—Percepto, Percepto AIM: Automated Visual Inspection, End-to-End
  • 2nd Place—Verizon Robotics, Skyward Drone Software Platform
  • 3rd Place— Auterion, Auterion Suite, The Centerpiece of your Drone Operation

FAA Drone Symposium


This year the FAA presented its annual Drone Symposium at XPONENTIAL.

The symposium takes place on Thursday, April 28—here’s the schedule:

  • 10:30 AM | Opening Remarks & Keynote
  • 10:50 AM | Going Global: Take Your Drone Operations Around the World
  • 11:35 AM | Supply and Demand: Innovation in the Drone Service Supplier Industry
  • 12:20 PM | Lunch
  • 1:20 PM | Messages & Learnings from the BVLOS ARC
  • 2:20 PM | Drone Integration: Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going
  • 3:05 PM | An Airspace Integration Perspective: Challenges and Opportunities
  • 3:40 PM | Closing Keynote

Learn more about the 2022 FAA Drone Symposium.

Join a global community of


drone enthusiasts.