The Association for Unmanned Vehicle System International's Unmanned Systems North America 2008 will take place at the San Diego Convention Center, June 10-12, 2008. 60% of the exhibit hall has been pre-booked by exhibitors from AUVSI's 2007 show, which came to a close last Thursday after hosting the largest number of attendees and exhibitors in the Association's 35 year history. More than 4,000 people were present for the four-day event, which included 14 air and 10 ground demonstrations, and 30 static displays at Webster Field in St. Inigoes Maryland; 60 Technical Sessions, 60 Poster Sessions, and 292 exhibitors displaying the largest collection of unmanned systems hardware in the world.
Increasing international attention to unmanned systems brought delegates and exhibitors from more than 25 countries to Washington, DC, to join fellow industry leaders for the only show focused specifically on the unmanned systems marketplace. Air, ground and maritime vehicles, robots, and component technologies were showcased in the exhibit hall and included full-size models, some of which were demonstrated at various companies' booths within the 230,000 square feet (70,000 sq. meters) of exhibit space. In 2008 the exhibit hall size will increase to 276,000 square feet (84,000 sq. meters) to accommodate the continued growth of the show.
Plenary Sessions last Tuesday and Wednesday cut across military services and international borders while also offering perspective on how unmanned systems can be used to protect the public. Some of the most talked about topics during the show, by plenary speakers and others, included law enforcement, homeland security, global access to airspace and the increased international interest in UAVs.
On Thursday, August 9, the AUVSI Foundation hosted two special events including its new Youth Education Program and its Annual Awards Luncheon. The former program invited middle and high school students into the exhibit hall for guided tours where they were able to learn about unmanned systems and experience hands-on demonstrations of some of the technologies. The latter event honored the 2007 AUVSI Foundation Award winners including: Eduardo Yakin, Al Aube Outstanding Contributor Award; Joe Brannan, Member of the Year Award; Allen Nease, Pioneer Award; and James Harris, Operations Award. Both events will take place again in San Diego next year.