Exploring Xponential 2016
This year AUVSI was held under the new name of Xponential for the first time and although we all had our travel issues the Quill team all made it to New Orleans eventually.
While the likes of General Atomics have decided to pull out of the show due to its commercialisation the military side of the industry was still represented with Lockheed Martin rolling out Sikorsky optionally piloted Black Hawks and Prox Dynamics introducing the new nano drone for armed forces to the market.
Despite this there is no doubt that the show now leans heavily on the side of the commercial market.
It begs the question as to how many of the small companies with their drones will be here again next year. With little regulation before you can bring a UAV to market a lot of start-ups are attending the event with only a proportion of them likely to make it to the 2017 Xponential in Dallas.
Considering the influx of UAVs to the market the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), along with industry, still seems to be at a bit of a loss as to how best to regulate such aircraft.
Having said this 300,000 UAV operators did register within the first month of the FAA opening up registration for small drones, under 2.5kg.
Other than that though the unmanned industry still appears to be in a kind-of no-mans-land when it comes to regulation.
The story is likely to be much the same next year as no firm plans have been put in place. Initiatives and guidelines have been published but unlike the rest of the aviation market unmanned systems remain in uncharted territory.
For all the Xponential news check out the Shephard Media show news site.