The Xponential 2022 event on April 25-28 in Orlando, FL, was a significant success. Each year it presents the opportunity to work across many markets and domains. The event represents the entire uncrewed industry, from maritime systems to autonomous trucks that don’t have a cab and robot dogs. Keely Griffith, the Director of Industry Education at the Association of Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), said that planning these events starts years before. Some of the operational contracts have been in place for many years prior. “The education component… starts about 18 months ahead of time,” said Griffth. That includes the program’s themes, presentations, and recruiting thought leaders.
The 2022 event was bookended with the FAA Drone Symposium. It was an advantage for those involved in regulations to handle the technology. Significant themes of Xponential 2022 included an “Intersection with data. Our industry relies heavily on systems and what they can collect,” said Griffith. She anticipates that the data component will be repeated in future events.
Scaling uncrewed systems into the mainstream requires education. Many leaders believe that drone deliveries are going to scale operations. During the lockdown of covid, people were introduced to more drone delivery technology. It helped develop trust.
Innovative companies are working together with communities to address any concerns during the design process. Integration like this will help people realize that uncrewed technology will evolve and that it’s here to stay. It also shows how uncrewed technology can be used for good. Much technology adoption research shows advantages to introducing technology early in life. “If an individual has been introduced to a technology by the seventh grade, then there’s a natural inclination to accept,” explained Griffith. According to the Geriatric Journal of Medicine research, “older adults as a group are on the negative side of the digital divide.”
The call for 2023 Xponential presentations opened on June 13. AUVSI is working to refine the breakout sessions. The theme is Blueprints for Autonomy and how the community can set the vision and draw up plans to integrate this technology into society,” said Griffith. The collaboration of the event hopes that everyone working on design, development, and integration has a shared goal.