The largest organization representing unmanned vehicles – AUVSI – has announced a “hybrid” XPONENTIAL gathering for 2021. Part of it will take place virtually in May, with the balance of a real, live event in August. Let’s hope.
Yes, the pandemic has thrown our lives into disarray. And one of the areas it hit hard was conventions. Right around the world, these events were cancelled and turned into virtual gatherings. It was, obviously, safer that way. And while online convention organizers have done their best, it’s simply not the same as an in-person gathering. Seeing products and presentations in person, networking – those things have value.
And so, for 2021, AUVSI is trying to split the difference.
Virtual and in-person
If you attend drone conventions/conferences in North America, AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL is a “must” on the list. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International is the big one. It has a massive floor area, exhibits from nearly all major drone manufacturers on the planet – and a really high-level educational stream. In short, it’s an awesome conference and a highlight of the convention calendar.
Last year, of course, it became a virtual event. And this year, AUVSI is going to try a hybrid.
May and August
In a news release, AUVSI has announced that this year’s XPONENTIAL will be divided between an online and in-person experience. The educational portion will take place via a virtual event in May, with an exhibition/trade show taking place in August:
The series will begin May 4-6 with an immersive virtual conference, featuring live keynotes and education, interactive roundtable discussions and networking sessions, and exhibits from leading technology companies and service providers. All sessions will be recorded and made available on-demand to attendees for 90 days following the event. On August 16-19, the series will reconvene in-person in Atlanta for a new program of keynote speakers and educational sessions, safely facilitated networking opportunities, and an expanded XPO Hall to experience the latest technology innovations and solutions. Registrants for the in-person event will also receive access to the virtual event.AUVSI News Release
Of course, this does make the assumption that COVID-19 is pretty much under control by that point. Hopefully, vaccinations at a global level will have reached a level where an event like this can be safely carried out.
The convention theme?
Glad someone asked. It’s Assured Autonomy, which refers to “the process, methodology and guiding principles for ensuring unmanned and autonomous systems will be safe and practical options, able to repeatedly perform the operations they are designed for and be seamlessly integrated into society at scale. This theme supports the event’s legacy of convening experts across markets and domains to advance the market for all things unmanned.”
You can find more information on XPONENTIAL here.