Commercial UAV Expo 2021 Reconvenes In-Person, Exceeds Expectations

The full power of the drone industry was on display as nearly 2,000 commercial drone professionals gathered in-person

Commercial drone exhibitors and attendees gathered last week for Commercial UAV Expo Americas 2021, held September 7-9, 2021 at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The seventh annual event had 130 exhibitors and 1,955 professionals in the commercial drone industry, cementing its place as the largest and most important commercial UAS-focused event in North America.


"The turnout was tremendous," said Lee Corkhill, Group Director at Diversified Communications, which produces the event. "After two years apart, it was clear that the industry was ready to connect again in person. We surpassed every expectation this year and are thrilled to be back supporting our customers and helping to advance the commercial drone industry."

The event kicked off Tuesday September 7th with extensive pre-conference programming including live outdoor flying demonstrations put on in cooperation with Sundance Media Group and participating vendors Adorama, AEE, Autel Robotics, Commaris, Doosan, Skydio and Skyfront, all showcasing brand new cutting-edge commercial drone solutions in front of a live audience.

The buzz and excitement on the exhibit hall floor was palpable. Attendees' first look at the expansive exhibit floor was during the Tuesday evening Welcome Happy Hour sponsored by Commaris who unveiled their new Seeker drone. Best-in-class solutions from the most influential companies were on display, allowing attendees to network and source the latest drone innovations. At least a dozen new products were introduced at Commercial UAV Expo Americas this year, including making it a true hub for innovation.

Attendees heard Tuesday morning from keynoters including FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, who addressed the crowd, saying, "This is one of the most important events that I felt it was necessary for the FAA to have direct participation with this year. Over the last 18 months, a lot of these have had to go virtual, but our work to move forward together to safely scale and integrate routine drone operations into the NAS has continued at a rapid pace. It's why I think this is the most exciting period in aviation history."

Additional keynotes included Brandon Torres Declet, CEO, AgEagle; Conor French, General Counsel, Zipline; Mike Burnside, Policy Analyst, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM); Ted Kalnas, UAS Pilot & UAS Training Officer, Los Angeles City Fire Department; Roxana Kennedy, Chief of Police, Chula Vista Police Department; Rachel Griffin, Director, Last Mile - AVs, EVs, Drones, Bots, Walmart; Tom Walker, Chief Executive Officer, DroneUp; Kofi Asante, Vice President, Elroy Air; and Robin Grace, MassDOT Aeronautics Drone Pilot Program Senior Program Manager. All of the keynote presentations are accessible online.

The themes of collaboration and action were prevalent in all the keynotes. Torres Declet urged attendees to take action, saying "My call to action is, let's not wait. There's no need to wait anymore to make real investments in drone technology and deploying it at scale. I think we have proven the value, time and time again, and we've done the math and can show the cost savings and value so now's the time to step up and really make those investments."

French echoed the calls for quick movement within the industry, saying: "I really want to emphasize in the short term that we can't really afford to wait years for new rules to take effect. The technology is there. And similar to our own operations, our overall future safety is improved by getting us flying sooner so that we can learn and inform rules and standards based on actual operational experience."

Walker called on attendees to collaborate, saying, "We are all part of a rapidly emerging industry. No "one" company will make it successful. It will require all of us. BVLOS, long-range delivery, AAM, and what we have yet to imagine. It can all be achieved efficiently through industry collaboration."

Commercial UAV Expo Americas also had a robust conference program with carefully curated topics that addressed the pressing issues facing commercial drone professionals, including regulations, ROI, scaling, security, UTM, and more. These topics were in addition to the vertical industry sessions, which included Construction; Energy & Utilities; Forestry & Agriculture; Infrastructure & Transportation; Mining & Aggregates; Public Safety & Emergency Services; Security; and Surveying & Mapping.

Special features of the 2021 event included numerous networking functions, industry-specific roundtable discussions, vendor-delivered product previews, and the DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Summit with two full days of programming for drone operators and program managers across law enforcement, fire, search & rescue, and other emergency services for strategic discussions and workshops surrounding the evolving use of unmanned aircraft systems. New this year, the AAM Summit, organized in partnership Amsterdam Drone Week, was a platform for knowledge sharing related to Advanced Air Mobility.

Commercial UAV Expo Americas was supported by 256 publications, portals, associations, user groups, analysts, cooperating events, government agencies, non-profits and others. "We are grateful to the partners who chose to back and promote this event. Their engagement is so important, and we look forward to continuing to provide value to one another in the coming years," said Corkhill.

Lisa Ellman, Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance, was an integral contributor to the content program. "Lisa Ellman and the Commercial Drone Alliance were critical in securing top-notch speakers and keynotes for the conference program. Year after year, their connections and introductions prove invaluable, and we are so grateful for their ongoing support and partnership," said Corkhill.

In her remarks, Ellman said, "2021 is the year of enabling Beyond Visual Line of Sight. We're bringing our industry together here at Commercial UAV Expo. I encourage all of you to get to know each other, especially given that we're finally able to all be here in person, and you're really the cream of the crop and industry. Our goal each year is to bring together the smartest and brightest and most innovative in the industry and to curate and promote conversations that move our industry forward. We want to hear from you."

"By convening the most influential companies and thought leaders to share their expertise and solutions, we gave everyone involved in the commercial drone market the opportunity to learn from the best. We cannot wait to see the turnout next year," said Corkhill.

About Commercial UAV Expo Americas

Commercial UAV Expo Americas, presented by Commercial UAV News, is an international conference and expo exclusively focused on commercial UAS integration and operation covering industries including Construction; Energy & Utilities; Forestry & Agriculture; Infrastructure & Transportation; Mining & Aggregates; Public Safety & Emergency Services; Security; and Surveying & Mapping. The next edition will take place September 6-8, 2022 at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas. Its European sister event takes place at the RAI Amsterdam.

For more information, visit http://www.expouav.com/europe and http://www.expouav.com.

Commercial UAV Expo Americas is produced by Diversified Communications' technology portfolio which also includes Commercial UAV Expo Europe; Commercial UAV News; Geo Week comprised of the International Lidar Mapping Forum, SPAR 3D Expo & Conference, AEC Next Technology Expo & Conference; Geo Week ENewsletter, SPAR 3D ENewsletter, AEC Next ENewsletter. For more information about exhibiting at Commercial UAV Expo, visit Exhibiting Information or contact Katherine Dow, Sales Manager, at kdow@divcom.com or +1.207-842-5497. For attending information, visit http://www.expouav.com or email info@expouav.com.

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