The rescheduled 2021 AUVSI XPONENTIAL unmanned vehicles and robotics technology trade show got underway today in Atlanta, Georgia’s World Congress Center, and all things considered, it was a success. A little weird, perhaps, but a success nonetheless.

Because of the pandemic and related travel restrictions, some exhibitors chose not to come this year, although not as many as I’d expected. The aisles are noticeably wider to allow for social distancing and they are not carpeted, which raises the background noise level considerably. That, combined with mask protocols, made communication challenging at times.

Attendance appeared to be down this year, which is no surprise, but again, not as much as I’d anticipated. And the people who came seemed eager to interact with exhibitors and touch and feel the technology, which they haven’t been able to do during a year-and-a-half of virtual trade shows.

According to exhibitors I spoke with, if attendance was down, it was mostly the “sightseers” who were missing. Attendees who took the time and effort to get to the show were there to do business, and from an exhibitor’s perspective, that’s what makes for a successful trade show.

Learn more about the show at AUVSI.org .