By the end of the Vietnam War, the potential for Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) technology began gaining momentum and in 1972, the National Association of Remotely Piloted Vehicles (NARPV) was created to promote and advance this rapidly growing industry.

By the late 1970's, RPV's became known as Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), but the newly recognized term "unmanned" encompassed more than just air vehicles. Growing developments in the ground, maritime and space arenas caused the organization to broaden its reach and in 1978, the NARPV expanded its focus and services to create a community that included all unmanned systems disciplines. The community became known as the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems (AUVS).

Through the 80s and 90s, AUVS mirrored the fast pace of growth of the unmanned systems industry, and the demand for the organization's services began to reach globally. In 1996, AUVS adopted an international focus and became the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

AUVSI continues as the hub of the global unmanned systems and robotics community. Through communication, education, advocacy, awareness and leadership, the organization continues to promote and support the unmanned systems and robotics industry.