After having been held online in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 15th annual UAS Summit & Expo is coming back to Grand Forks.

The unmanned aerial systems expo will again be held at the Alerus Center, from Oct. 13-14, and will feature industry and military leaders, drone manufacturers, payload providers, designers and commercial operators, who will give insights into the UAS sector. The expo is the upper Midwest region’s premier UAS event, and is produced by UAS Magazine.

“This year’s UAS Summit will demonstrate the outstanding job North Dakota has done to become a leader in the UAS industry,” said John Nelson, vice president of operations, marketing, and sales at UAS Magazine. “It will also demonstrate the continued efforts that are being made by North Dakota and the companies and organizations involved, to keep North Dakota and the region at the forefront of the industry, through research, new technology and commercialization.”

The two-day event will feature keynote speakers and panel discussions to explore issues facing the industry, and discuss new technology, among other topics.

North Dakota’s U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer will give keynote addresses on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Cramer will be joined by Rear Admiral Lorin Selby, chief of naval research, at the Office of Naval Research.

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UND President Andrew Armacost will join a “Sunrise and Space Talk Breakfast” roundtable on Thursday morning, then give and moderate presentations later throughout the day.

Military and commercial presentations will take place on both days of the expo, and more than 20 commercial exhibitors will showcase their products on the ballroom floor of the Alerus Center.

According to a release from UAS Magazine, the event is held annually in North Dakota because of the concentration of UAS activity in the state and region.

“The summit, taking place in what many have called the ‘Silicon Valley of Drones,’ offers the most open airspace in the country, vast tracts of farmland, infrastructure to test on and the nation’s first unmanned aircraft degree program,” reads a portion of the release.

Attendance is not free, though military attendees are able to do so, provided they are in uniform and present valid identification. People can register for the expo at theuassummit.com.