Updated: Jul 26
Coordinators for the Commercial UAV Expo Americas must have had good reasons for holding this year’s conference at The (super extra) Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, I imagine. But it certainly wasn’t for a lack of distractions. A little more about the expo in their own words:
“Commercial UAV Expo Americas, presented by Commercial UAV News, is an international conference and expo exclusively focused on commercial UAS integration and operation.”
The event ran from September 7-9, when the automatic mist setting outside of the hotel was crucial for mitigating mass heat exhaustion. Shockingly, the event itself was free of charge, despite being an invaluable source for potential leads, employers, partners, and opportunities to network with members of the press- that is not to mention- exposure to the biggest players, most revolutionary tech, and latest news in the industry.
When we arrived for the Welcome Happy Hour sponsored by Commaris (https://commaris.com), it was relatively identical to any other trade exposition. Name-tagged and armed with social lubricants, we decided to make the most of our networking time.
David and Anne at Commercial UAV Expo America’s 2021 - The Mirage Hotel - Las Vegas, NV
Among the exhibitors were some of the most obvious: DJI (https://www.dji.com), Skydio (https://www.skydio.com), Autel (https://auteldrones.com), droneUp (https://www.droneup.com), etc. Men dressed in polo shirts and cargo pants made up the majority of this crowd, talking about their company’s new body design, sensor and payload capabilities, innovative software (or a combination of those) for the benefit of fascinated onlookers.
Many of those already involved in UAV industry are familiar with what the companies listed *(above are developing to usher in the what they believe is the future of drone technology. Setting aside the dominant players in the game, however, we found these five relatively new businesses to best capture our imagination regarding the future of the unmanned systems industry:
*BRINC DRONES : Defined Niched Product
Brinc specializes in drones that are manufactured specifically for first responders and public safety operations at a small scale. The LEMUR S is basically the next generation of SWAT teams with two-way communications, lidar based autonomy, a “perched” security setting, and a glass breaker! Say WHAT? You can check out some of Brinc’s work at their website: https://brincdrones.com or connect with them on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/brinc-drones.
VELARY: Attractive Design Qualities
Velary is another lesser-known company that, in our professional opinion, engineers some of the most eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing drones around. We were particularly impressed with the Lift 25, a hybridized drone designed with highly specialized BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) operations with the industrial and public safety sector in mind. They have even developed a VTOL (vertical take off and landing) drone taxi that flies autonomously. For more information on Velary’s products, click here: https://www.velary.com or here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/velary/
VOLATUS: All-Service Drone Solutions
Based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Volatus Aerospace Corp. employs a large network of well-trained pilots throughout North and South America to deliver a full suite of solutions to both enterprise and industrial clients. Among their offerings: training, equipment sales, inspection services, design, manufacturing, and research & development. Find out more about Volatus Aerospace by clicking here: https://www.volatusaerospace.com or connect with them on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/volatus-aerospace/
*VHIVE: Data Systems Management
Customers in the enterprise sector utilize vHive software to develop perfectly digitized renderings of their assets. vHive utilizes “multi-drone technology”, artificial intelligence, and algorithms to collect, process, and transfer data. In other words, they use swarming technology to expedite capturing of field information. You can find out more about vHive’s work here, on their website: https://www.vhive.ai or look them up on LinkedIn to connect: https://www.linkedin.com/company/vhive/
AIRDATA: UAV Flight Intelligence Platform
Last but certainly not least, we have one of our favorites for flying in real time: AirData. It’s a small company based out of El Dorado Hills, California, yet its platform has become an invaluable asset to UAV pilots on a global scale. With settings that provide flight and aircraft analysis, maintenance solutions, customized reporting, and alerting mechanisms, their free subscription plan is definitely worth a look for new and seasoned pilots: https://airdata.com
BRINC and vHive were two of the five companies that won the Pitch the Press at this year’s Commercial UAV Expo Americas for the most ingenious, effective, and useful new products for the future of the UAV industry overall. (https://www.expouav.com/event-news/commercial-uav-2021-pitch-the-press-winners/)
The 2022 conference date is already set for September 6-8, this time at Caesar’s Forum. We can’t wait to attend next year and hope to see leaps and bounds in UAV technology that will reinvent the industry. Come to next year’s expo, let us know what your ideas are, we would love to discuss the future of drones with you.