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2018 Energy Drone Coalition Summit & Expo Doubles in Size

2018 Energy Drone Coalition Summit & Expo Doubles in Size

Posted By: Sara Marchionda Pettit .

Reflecting on a Successful Second Annual Event as the Industry Looks Forward to 2019

Houston, Texas, June 28, 2018 – The Energy Drone Coalition, powered by InnovateEnergy, is pleased to announce the success of the 2nd annual Energy Drone Coalition Summit & Expo, which took place June 20 – 21 (with workshops on June 19) in Houston, TX at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

The 2018 event doubled in size from its inaugural year, both in physical space and in participation by exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and attendees. Spanning throughout two sold-out expo halls, 89 exhibitors, sponsors and partners were featured, displaying and demonstrating their drones and robots, as well as their latest solutions, hardware and software for unmanned systems in the energy industry. Additionally, between the two halls, an “Innovation Alley” showcased the latest from startup companies. Through the workshops, Summit sessions and Use Case presentations, 65 industry leaders shared their insights and 711 of the the most active UAV and robotics experts were in attendance, representing all facets of the energy industry.

A short list of who was in attendance is available here.

This year’s event was co-located with the inaugural Energy Robotics & AI Network, which showcased content focused on ground/surface & subsea robots, in addition to aerial, and featured insight on the integration of AI to manage the large influx of data being gathered by these robots. Just a few of of these sessions included keynotes from:

  • VP & GM, Drone Group, at Intel, Anil Nanduri, on how drones and AI are leading the digital transformation in energy
  • David Truch, Technology Director within the Digital Innovation Organization at BP, on driving business decisions and results with actionable unmanned data
  • and Sudhir Pai, Managing Director at Schlumberger, on utilizing technology and data to advance energy assets from reactive to predictive repair

Another hot topic from the Summit was scaling the use of drones and robots in energy operations. An exclusive Energy Asset Owners UAV Roundtable brought together leaders from Duke EnergyBPShell and Cheniere Energy to share their unique perspectives on how they are working to build and scale successful programs in their operations. This was just one panel that addressed this topic and one of many sessions that featured rare perspectives from energy end users.

As Christopher Korody, EDC Advisory Board member and author of Dronin’ On, wrote in his detailed overview of the event (available here), “There is no question that the energy sector – which includes everything from exploration to pipelines and tankers, generation (coal, nuclear, gas and hydro) and transmission (tens of thousands of substations and unknown miles of high voltage lines), along with solar and wind has enthusiastically embraced UAS.”

The rapid growth and enthusiastic response from this year’s event were evidence to his statement.

Mitch Droz, Co-Owner, VP of Operations and Customer Experience at Wolf UAS, LLC, EDC Advisory Board Member and Speaker, said, “This energy industry specific conference did not disappoint. I heard many participants state they got the value and collaborative discussions they hoped for. The result of having industry leaders together, focused on industry issues, delivered some excellent panels and networking.”

Mitch authored a blog on the WorkshopsSummit Day One and Summit Day Two.

In addition to these overviews, excellent feedback was received by both attendees and exhibitors.

“This was great exposure for the Seek Ops drone and gas detection solution set; an optimal oil and gas target audience was assembled at Energy Drone Coalition Summit,” said Seek Ops, who exhibited at the event. They also shared that they plan on returning for year three.

Mike Blades, Research Director, North America, with Frost & Sullivan, who spoke at the C-UAS & Security Forum and provided a keynote on the Commercial Drone Ecosystem said, “Thanks to the Energy Drone Coalition for allowing me to present at their summit. It is my opinion that industry-focused events like these will drive commercial drone growth because educating is key & each industry has unique requirements that require unique solutions.”

Early education about the technology showcased at the Summit was also a focus. Dyan Gibbens, Trumbull Unmanned; Dave Truch and the BP team; and API worked with the Energy Drone Coalition to facilitate a STEM event for students from several local schools.

“The six Sablatura Middle School Drone club members had a great time and a valuable learning experience at the Energy Drone Summit today,” stated JP Jewell, a representative of the Sablatura Middle School Drone Club. “…We were really excited seeing all the drones and the technology.”

For the 2019 event, the Energy Drone Coalition and Energy Robotics & AI Network plans to expand the education program for students from primary and secondary school, as well as at a collegiate-level.

As the largest, and continually growing, community and events specifically focused on the business and technology of UAVs/Robotics (aerial, ground/surface & subsea) in energy operations, the team is already planning for the 2019 Summit & Expo.

The 2019 event will take place June 12-13 at the Woodland Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center (again with additional workshops on June 11).

Exhibit spaces and sponsorships are already selling quickly for next year. Please contact Ray Kyle,, for additional information.

For inquiries about the Summit or working with the Energy Drone Coalition, please contact Sean Guerre,

Further details about the Energy Drone Coalition Summit & Expo are available