Innovation Challenge

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What is the Innovation Challenge?

The Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for small, start-up and early stage companies operating in the commercial, defense, and non-traditional unmanned systems or autonomous systems spheres to present their technology to government and industry representatives at Unmanned Systems — Defense. Protection. Security. (USDPS).

During the Innovation Challenge, on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 five finalists will pitch their technology to the USDPS audience and the esteemed Advisory Panel.

Each finalist will have six minutes to pitch their technology and four minutes to answer questions from the Innovation Challenge Advisory Panel. The panel will provide feedback and guidance, but the final choice will be left to the USDPS audience.

AUVSI is no longer accepting proposals for the Innovation Challenge.

Meet 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
  • 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

Meet the Finalists

Competing in the Innovation Challenge offers startups the chance to present their ideas to the community and establish themselves as a premier innovator!


The mission of FLITE Material Sciences is to bring emerging techniques in surface engineering to commercial applications at industrial scale. These exciting techniques modify industrial surfaces without coatings, aiming to solve global critical problems such as ice, rust, corrosion, infectious biofilms and marine fouling.


Pierce Aerospace is a Remote ID UAS Service Supplier (RID-USS) focused on practical and robust integration of Remote ID services into the UAS ecosystem. As an industry leader, Pierce Aerospace serves on the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team, ASTM F38 UAS Remote ID Committee, and the FAA's Drone Advisory Committee Task Groups for Remote ID and Waivers. Funds from the US Air Force and the State of Indiana support the development of Pierce Aerospace's Flight Portal ID suite of Remote ID technologies. Flight Portal ID was nominated as Indiana's Innovation of the Year by Techpoint and was awarded first place in Remote ID technology by AUVSI's Xcellence's Awards. Pierce Aerospace is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, The Crossroads of America.


HyALTA Aeronautics, Inc. is a small, veteran owned business with concept development, program management and product development expertise. Partnerships with three major Universities (UCF, USF, CU and UVA) combines our agile development skills with the academic power and technical savvy of major University systems.


Blue Vigil makes power tether systems that can keep drones in the air for an unlimited flight duration. Our system is compatible with most commercial grade drones up to 10kg.


VyrtX is localizing the world through custody-chain logistics and autonomous systems. Our company's strategic intent is to use an AI-driven operations platform to introduce a computerized system where one does not exist; presenting smarter logistical solutions with mixed-fleet application for cargo delivery requiring transportation in under 12 hours or less.

The Winning Company Will Receive:

Grand Prize Package — $35,000+ value