The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International () has named five startup companies as finalists in the Innovation Challenge at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems – Defense. Protection. Security. conference taking place at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 20 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT.
The competition identifies small, start-up and early stage companies operating in the commercial, defense and non-traditional unmanned systems or autonomous systems sectors. The companies will present their technology to government and industry representatives at USDPS.
The five finalists that will participate in the competition are:
- , a company that makes power tether systems, compatible with most commercial grade drones up to 10 kilograms, that can keep drones in the air for an unlimited flight duration.
- a New York-based company that works across different industries to reshape the surface layer of materials.
- ., a veteran-owned, small business that has developed patents to provide a unique combination of attributes of both a fixed wing aircraft and an LTA craft to allow for indefinite mission durations, low energy station keeping, and the ability to dash at relatively high velocities.
- , a Remote ID UAS Service Supplier (RID-USS) focused on practical and robust integration of Remote ID services into the UAS ecosystem The company has developed Flight Portal ID, which provides a secure authentication system for remote ID for both civilian and military applications.
- , an Ohio-based company that is localizing the world through custody-chain logistics and autonomous systems.
Each participating company will have the opportunity to pitch their technology to a panel of government officials and an audience of defense experts. The grand prize winner will receive a prize package valued at more than $35,000.
During the Innovation Challenge, five finalists will present their technology to the USDPS audience and Advisory Panel. Following a six-minute pitch, each finalist will have four minutes to answer questions from the Advisory Panel. The panel will provide feedback and guidance, but the winner will be selected by the USDPS audience.
These are the industry leaders comprising the advisory panel:
- Moderator: Bill Thomasmeyer, Consultant, National Advanced Mobility Consortium
- Chris O’Donnell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Platform and Weapon Portfolio Management, OUSD A&S
- Reid F. McAllister, Director, Integrated Unmanned Maritime Mobility Systems, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division and Co-Lead, NAVSEA WFC Unmanned Vehicles and Autonomous Systems Working Group
- Helen Greiner, Army HQE Robotics, Autonomous Systems, and AI, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology)
- Paul Decker, Deputy Chief Roboticist, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Ground Vehicle Systems Center
- Kristen R. Hajduk, National Capital Regional Director, NSIN – National Security Innovation Network, Department of Defense
Registration to attend USDPS is complimentary for military and government personnel. For more information about USDPS, please visit