Big News and Major Launches from AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2023

BY Zacc Dukowitz
16 May 2023

AUVSI’s annual XPONENTIAL conference just wrapped up in Denver, Colorado last week. As always, the event had a bevy of announcements, releases, and engaging talks from thought leaders in the drone industry and in the robotics space in general.

One of our favorite parts of XPONENTIAL every year is the announcement of the XCELLENCE award winners. These awards recognize leaders in the uncrewed space, including those who make software and hardware, as well as those doing important work on the humanitarian front and in public safety.

Let’s take a look at all the big news, major launches, and award winners from last week at XPONENTIAL.

Major Releases and News

Here are some of the major releases and new stories from XPONENTIAL 2023.

Microdrones’ New EasyOne LiDAR/Photogrammetry Drone


Microdrones unveiled a new drone called the EasyOne at the conference that “will provide the lifting power to carry Microdrones LiDAR and photogrammetry surveying equipment and fits in a case that’s about 2.5 feet long, and 1.5 feet wide and deep.”

Percepto’s Shielded BVLOS Waiver

Credit: Percepto

Percepto had big news to share on the waiver front at the conference, announcing that it had received a waiver to scale “shielded BVLOS commercial UAS operations”—that is, the right to fly BVLOS close to structures without ground-based systems.

Dronetag’s Basic Solution for Remote ID

Credit: Dronetag

Dronetag launched the Dronetag Basic Solution (BS) at the conference, a new drone device that is believed to be the most affordable Remote ID solution that complies with new FAA Remote ID standards. The new device comes out just four months before the Remote ID rule is scheduled to go into effect, which will happen on September 16 this year.

DJI Not Allowed to Exhibit

Credit: DJI

One big story from the conference had to do with a company that wasn’t present—that’s DJI, which was prohibited from exhibiting at XPONENTIAL this year. The cause? AUVSI has blocked companies that are on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Entity List from exhibiting. Nonetheless, DJI drones were on display via the company’s reseller, DSLR Pros. (DJI was also banned from exhibiting at CES 2023 earlier this year for alleged human rights violations).

AUVSI’s New Trusted Cyber Program


AUVSI highlighted the organization’s Trusted Cyber Program at the conference. Here is a description of the program from AUVSI:

The AUVSI Trusted Cyber Program, designed through collaboration between AUVSI, its members, and Fortress Information Security, is an enterprise cybersecurity program built on a suite of voluntary industry standards, regulations, and best practices that addresses cyber risks specific to uncrewed and autonomous systems and components across all operational domains: air, ground and maritime. 

XCELLENCE Award Winners

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

The awards were given in six different categories: operations, innovation, workforce development, mission, academic research, and technology. The mission category encompasses UAV work related to drones for good, encompassing efforts to use drones for public safety and for humanitarian projects.

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.

– Brian Wynne, President and CEO of AUVSI

Here are the 2023 winners.

XCELLENCE in Operations

Credit: JobsOhio

  • 1st Place: JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Transportation—Propelling AAM in Ohio
  • 2nd Place: Advanced Navigation—Cloud Ground Control
  • 3rd Place: City of Pendleton—Pendleton UAS Range

XCELLENCE in Innovation

Credit: Skydio

  • 1st Place: Skydio—Skydio Dock, Automated Inspections of Sites with Autonomous, Remote Drone Operations
  • 2nd Place: Plus—PlusDrive, An Industry-defining Driver-in, Highly Automated Driving (HAD) Solution
  • 3rd Place: Sentera—Eliminating Stitching with the Sentera DGR System

XCELLENCE in Workforce Development

Credit: Laurel Ridge Community College

  • 1st Place: Laurel Ridge Community College—Laurels Take Flight
  • 2nd Place: DroneUp, with partner, Richard Bland College—Established the First Commercial Drone Workforce Training Program for College Credit
  • 3rd Place: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide and Warren College—Better Together: Producing Effective Educational Opportunities for the UAS Workforce

XCELLENCE in Mission

As we noted above, the mission awards are given in two categories—Humanitarian Project/Program and Public Safety. For each category three awards were given, which are all first place winners (that is, there is no 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place awards for the mission awards).

Each awards category recognizes organizations that have made a significant impact using uncrewed systems to serve in humanitarian or public safety efforts. The winning six organizations will equally divide a $6,000 prize for their humanitarian and public safety efforts.

Humanitarian Project/Program

Credit: Arrotech

  • 1st Place: ArroTech—Dr. Stephen Dunnivant
  • 1st Place: MissionGO, Inc.—Operation Healing Eagle Feather
  • 1st Place: The David McAntony Gibson Foundation (GlobalMedic)—GlobalMedic RescUAV Response to La Soufrière Volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Public Safety


  • 1st Place: DRONERESPONDERS—DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance
  • 1st Place: Texas Department of Public Safety—Texas Department of Public Safety
  • 1st Place: United States Forest Service—Testing and Scaling New Technologies for Operations and Safer Mixed Airspace Ops

Awards were also given for Academic Research and Operations. Visit the AUVSI website for more information.

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