Strategic Plan

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) seeks to create a future in which remotely operated and autonomous transportation technologies are fully accepted, valued and used to move people, things and data safely and efficiently. This will provide broad and lasting economic and social benefit.

To move the world toward this vision, AUVSI serves as the industry focal point to connect, convene, communicate and collaborate with the creators, users and regulators of this technology to build solutions, regulate their use appropriately and articulate their utility and value.

It’s vitally important that AUVSI’s strategic execution be guided and informed by industry intelligence from the full community. The Association took a data-driven approach to this 2020-2022 strategic plan, surveying a broad swath of industry professionals and creating a Strategic Planning Taskforce, which provided guidance and feedback on the survey and data analysis.

Takeaways from the survey included that 95% of respondents expect the industry to grow in the near future; indeed, this is already occurring. Constituents are increasingly providing solutions in more than one domain and a very high percentage agree all domains must work together. There was strong agreement that AUVSI should promote a positive industry image, educate the industry on trends, technology and other issues, hold forums for sharing knowledge and networking and advocate for the industry.

Rather than suggesting an entirely new strategic direction, the accumulated data and input indicate some refinement of AUVSI activity targets and goals. To meet that need, AUVSI will:

  • Advocate for the establishment of laws and regulations that enable the development and expanded operation of unmanned systems
  • Educate citizens, elected officials, regulators and the media on the benefits and safety of unmanned and autonomous systems
  • Provide enhanced business tools to the industry by becoming a source for business intelligence
  • Connect the industry by providing events and resources to facilitate collaboration and an active market place
  • Generate financial resources to provide sustainable revenue and investment for a broader reach of activities

These will form our strategic goals, to ensure that unmanned and autonomous systems are widely embraced for the value they create

 

INTRODUCTION

As the embodiment of the unmanned systems industry, it was vitally important to AUVSI that its strategic planning process be guided and informed by industry intelligence from the full community. Accordingly, AUVSI took a data driven approach to the 2020–2022 strategic plan — surveying a broad swath of industry professionals including members, non-members and representatives across all technology domains.

A total of 456 people responded to the survey, constituting a diverse and representative sample of the unmanned systems industry. Their responses provided AUVSI with a comprehensive look at perceptions of the industry, critical “up at night” issues and areas of greatest need to advance the market.

Several key takeaways included:

  • 95% expect the industry to grow in the next five years
  • 74% agree all domains must work together to grow unmanned systems demand
  • There was strong agreement on the importance of key activities and the priority in which they should be undertaken by AUVSI; the following are the top priorities:
    • Promoting a positive industry image – 83%
    • Educating the industry on trends, technology and other issues – 80%
    • Hosting forums to share knowledge/networking with all domains and supply chain segments – 78%
    • Advocacy – 70%

This data validated AUVSI’s mission, direction and existing strategic goals, and provided clear guidance on ways to refine those goals to meet the industry’s evolving needs.

 

VISION + MISSION

VISION

To create a future in which remotely operated and autonomous transportation technologies are fully accepted, valued and utilized to move people, things and data safely and efficiently, providing broad and lasting economic and social benefit.

MISSION

To move the world toward this vision, the Association serves as the industry’s focal point to connect, convene, communicate and collaborate.

  • We connect thinkers, designers, makers, operators and users to share insights and ideas, to turn questions into answers, and to learn from each other.
  • We convene buyers and sellers to create market opportunities and commercial capacity.
  • We communicate the value and benefits of unmanned systems technology to the public and stakeholders.
  • We collaborate with policy makers to implement effective and appropriate legislation and regulations to fully and safely maximize the benefits of the technology.

AUVSI exists to stimulate the growth of its members and the industry through advocacy, education and networking. AUVSI members drive advancement in unmanned systems and autonomous technologies to help shape the future.

AUVSI is committed to fostering the growth, long-term viability and stability of the unmanned systems industry, and works to unify the industry across domains to advance how the world embraces unmanned and autonomous systems technologies.

The future from AUVSI’s perspective starts with a world where:

While the community and organization change over time, AUVSI’s core values remain constant. These values are:

  • EDUCATION
    Create and promote shared learning and know-how across air, land and sea.
  • SAFETY AND SECURITY
    Ensure a culture of safety and security by enabling designers, makers, sellers, and buyers to create safe, effective products.
  • INTEGRITY
    Icorporate ethical decision-making in unmanned and autonomous systems technologies.
  • INNOVATION
    Foster member innovation by removing market barriers and providing networks, resources, and insights

 

STRATEGIC GOALS

AUVSI has established a strong foundation of member service to advance its current strategic priorities to Advocate, Educate and foster Market Growth.

Building upon that work, AUVSI will enhance its focus through the following strategic goals:

  • Advocate
  • Educate the Public
  • Educate the Industry
  • Connect the Industry
  • Generate Financial Growth

The core of AUVSI’s mission is to build, grow and foster a viable and sustainable unmanned and autonomous systems industry. Critical to achieving that goal is establishing policy which enables the development and expanded operation of unmanned systems. Currently, insufficient policy for advanced unmanned operations and inconsistent laws and regulations remain the biggest barriers to widespread adoption.

To overcome these hurdles, AUVSI will continue to collaborate with policymakers to establish laws and regulations that allow and encourage the deployment of unmanned and autonomous systems to better serve business and society.

AUVSI will engage in core activities such as:

  • Building upon its strong relationships with regulatory agencies to advise them on technological developments that will inform the establishment of rules to increase the integration of unmanned systems into public airspace, roadways and seaways.
  • Addressing proposed laws and regulations which may restrict innovation and deployment of unmanned and autonomous systems — this may include partnering with key vertical industries to ensure their ability to maximize the potential uses of these technologies.
  • Maintaining advocacy working groups for all three domains.
  • Hosting events and meetings that provide AUVSI members the opportunity for valuable facetime with lawmakers and government officials.
  • Creating communications tools to enable and empower chapter members to more effectively engage in state and local advocacy efforts.
  • Participating in and facilitating international forums to track regulatory developments and share best practices that enable global operations.

Success will be measured through the implementation of rules that enable advanced operations, laws that permit industry expansion and administrative actions that support the further development of unmanned and autonomous systems technologies.

To realize maximum success in advocacy, the industry must gain higher public acceptance. The majority of industry survey respondents agrees that promoting a positive industry image (83%) and addressing safety concerns (72%) are key to achieving market growth. Success in advocacy is directly tied to widespread public acceptance

To address this need, AUVSI will further its efforts to educate citizens, elected officials, regulators and the media on the benefits and safety of unmanned and autonomous systems. Creating a better understanding and appreciation for these technologies will generate public demand for products and services and provide pressure for passage of enabling laws and regulations.

AUVSI will engage in core activities such as:

  • Partnering with an influential professional services firm to publish a new study on the impact of unmanned systems on increasing the public’s safety, growing the economy and improving productivity. Widely distributing the new study through AUVSI platforms, media and association partners and via interviews and meetings with key media in the United States.
  • Expanding its use of social media and content platforms (e.g., Unmanned Systems magazine, eBrief, website, etc.) to share examples of unmanned and autonomous systems being used to better the human condition.
  • Analyzing existing messaging and conducting in-depth interviews with subject matter experts to build a thoughtful and comprehensive set of communications based on clear insights to encourage public acceptance.
  • Exploring a partnership with a polling company to survey the public and establish a baseline for the public’s understanding and acceptance of unmanned and autonomous systems.

Metrics for success may include the quantity and quality of media coverage of the new impact study and the result of public opinion polls in 2021 and 2022 as compared to the baseline established in 2020.

Until recently, the use and integration of unmanned and autonomous systems was very limited, and data was not readily available to gauge their impact. Now, as the industry is maturing, there is a need for actionable business intelligence.

To meet this demand, AUVSI will focus resources on helping the unmanned and autonomous systems industry make informed investment decisions through business intelligence and insights.

Aggregating industry data and sharing meaningful analysis will help industry members forecast demand for unmanned and autonomous products and services and yield higher success in the development of new technologies and services. Having this insight can also help determine research and development investments needed to produce technology for future opportunities.

AUVSI will engage in core activities such as:

  • Exploring the opportunity to collaborate with industry members to aggregate existing sales and operational data across all domains, through a trusted third party, so that reliable data on trends, safety and technological developments may be generated and shared.
  • Providing guidelines for safety and operational standards and deliver a certification program that sets the benchmark for remote pilots in safety, knowledge, experience and reliability.
  • Evolving ongoing efforts to distribute leading industry analysis and content on technology and use cases through existing print and digital platforms.

The success and value of these programs can be measured through the level of member engagement in data sharing, revenue generated from the sale of analytics, an increase in those seeking AUVSI certification and increased subscribers to AUVSI content.

Central to building, growing and fostering a viable and sustainable unmanned and autonomous systems industry is connecting buyers and sellers, of all domains and organization sizes, to grow topline revenue.

Doing this ensures long-term viability, increases company growth, improves unmanned systems products, solutions and services and creates more brand/company exposure and awareness beyond our industry.

AUVSI will engage in core activities such as:

  • Leveraging its events and platforms to bring key audiences together.
  • Creating fresh, curated and facilitated social opportunities at AUVSI events to enable networking and information sharing across all domains and organization sizes.
  • Working with leading associations, media organizations and event producers within key markets to attract new buyers to AUVSI events and platforms through cross-promotion, content sharing and custom education opportunities.
  • Exploring the use of technology platforms to enable matchmaking and buyer/seller connections.

 

Success in this strategic goal may be measured through growth in overall participation and topline revenue, successful recruitment of members and increased enrollment of chapter members and other volunteers at AUVSI events.

Alignment of annual program plans to available resources, sound budget planning and diligent execution help ensure that sought-after programming is delivered to members and constituents, while allowing a financial reserve to grow for future investment.

Financial capacity and growth of the association will be realized through:

  • Developing an annual operating plan and budget incorporating a disciplined revenue forecasting process, supported by extensive data analytics.
  • Setting challenging yet achievable revenue goals, with the top line steadily increasing each year.
  • Managing spending and seeking opportunities for savings and efficiencies, to keep costs in line with realized revenue, with capacity to adjust expenses to remain within budget targets.

Metrics will include a continued pattern of steady year-over-year top-line growth, balanced or surplus budgets, growth of the reserve fund, and continued movement away from the tradeshow surplus and toward member dues, sponsorships, and other funding tied directly to programmatic needs

 

CONCLUSION

As we begin our journey into the next decade, AUVSI will continue to build upon the strong foundation we have constructed with greater strength and capacity than ever before, thanks to the increasing engagement and investment of our members. Over the last several years, AUVSI has focused its resources on activities to smooth the migration path of unmanned systems technology into the market and now we must broaden our approach to continue to realize maximum success.

The next several years will challenge us to engage with and empower our members and the entire unmanned systems and autonomous community to be the leading voice in the industry, positively educating the public and influencing lawmakers. We must also challenge ourselves to be a strong collective force for improving the human experience with technology. Additionally, we will strive to continue to provide our members with opportunities to learn and to build viable businesses that thrive in both the short and long term. Lastly, the association will commit to maintaining a solid financial foundation to continue facilitating growth within the industry and to ensure its enduring success.