DroneUp & Richard Bland College Announced as Finalists for AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards

Awards ceremony to be held at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2023 in Denver, CO.

DroneUp and partner, Richard Bland College (RBC) have been named as a finalist in the Workforce Development category of the XCELLENCE Awards by the Association for Uncrewed Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI). DroneUp and Richard Bland College were selected from a pool of accomplished applicants as one of several finalists. Winners will be announced at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2023 on May 8-11 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO.

DroneUp and Richard Bland College (RBC) have partnered to develop the DroneUp Flight Academy, a commercial drone training program designed to give pilots real, hands-on experience operating drones. The four week program offers a blended curriculum that is presented through online, in-classroom, and hands-on instruction preparing trainees for DroneUp's commercial operations. Program participants earn 12 undergraduate credits that can be applied to an associate's degree. As RBC offers online learning students can be gainfully employed with DroneUp while completing their degree anywhere in the U.S.

"This year, XPONENTIAL is all about designing a shared plan for the future of autonomy," said Brian Wynne, President and CEO of AUVSI. "There's no better place to announce the 2023 XCELLENCE award finalists. Together, they're redefining what's possible with uncrewed and robotic technology."

The AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards honor individuals and organizations that are innovators in the uncrewed systems industry, with a demonstrated commitment to advancing autonomy, leading and promoting safe adoption of uncrewed systems, and developing programs that use these technologies to save lives and improve society. Winners will be announced at XPONENTIAL, which offers a broad-based and balanced educational program brimming with cutting-edge content and inspirational insights, ranging from policy implications and technical challenges to use cases and best practices across vertical markets and everything in between.

"With the drone industry continuing to grow and more applications becoming apparent, properly trained pilots will be the backbone to supporting this growth," said Kris Cravey, CPO of DroneUp. "This flight academy is really unique because it not only provides operators the knowledge they need for DroneUp's commercial drone services, but it also opens up a career path in a new and growing industry with the added benefit of college credits to be applied to an associate's degree. It's really a win-win for everyone involved and we're proud of the several hundred graduates that have already gone through the academy."

For media registration for XPONENTIAL, click here or contact Chelsie Jeppson at cjeppson@auvsi.org. For more information about XPONENTIAL and the XCELLENCE Awards, visit xponential.org.

About DroneUp

DroneUp is an American technology company that combines airspace solutions, software applications, analytics platforms, and a trusted team of industry leaders to help companies operate at scale with drone innovation. DroneUp was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia.


The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of uncrewed systems and robotics — represents corporations and professionals from more than 60 countries involved in industry, government, and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets. For more information, visit AUVSI.org.


AUVSI XPONENTIAL is the largest, most significant event for the uncrewed systems industry. The 2023 exhibit hall will showcase hundreds of cutting-edge companies from around the world and the conference will feature educational programming by uncrewed systems experts, providing information about the future of policy, technology and business solutions and trending topics.

Featured Product

Piab’s Kenos KCS Gripper

Piab's Kenos KCS Gripper

Piab's Kenos KCS gripper enables a collaborative robot to handle just about anything at any time. Combining Piab's proprietary air-driven COAX vacuum technology with an easily replaceable technical foam that molds itself around any surface or shape, the gripper can be used to safely grip, lift and handle any object. Standard interface (ISO) adapters enable the whole unit to be attached to any cobot type on the market with a body made in a lightweight 3D printed material. Approved by Universal Robots as a UR+ end effector.