AUVSI gender-neutral rebrand

AUVSI gender-neutral rebrand ditches ‘unmanned’

AUVSI is still AUVSI, but the acronym is a bit different these days. Formerly short for “Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International,” the autonomous robotics industry association is getting a slight rename. In the AUVSI gender-neutral rebrand — which was announced at the end of February 2022 — the word ‘unmanned’ has been replaced with ‘uncrewed.’

Under this AUVSI gender-neutral renaming, the acronym is the same, but it now stands for the ‘Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International.’ AUVSI acknowledged that its name change was intended ‘to reflect ongoing efforts to promote gender inclusivity,’ according to a prepared statement.

Expect to see AUVSI drop the word “unmanned” and other gender-specific terms in its name, governing documents, and association language.

“As the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the uncrewed systems industry, AUVSI represents diverse membership across domains; across the defense, civil and commercial markets; and across industry, government and academia,” said Dr. Virginia (Suzy) Young, Chair of the Board of Directors in a prepared statement. “We are committed to creating a welcoming and inspiring environment for all of our members as we identify and tackle common challenges, goals and opportunities.” 

The AUVSI gender-neutral name change isn’t particularly surprising, given recent conversations that have been happening in the broader aviation industry. In June 2021, the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) met to discuss gender-neutral language. That group, which includes representatives from organizations including Google sister company Wing, Amazon Prime Air and Skydio, approved four recommendations to adopt gender-neutral language for the drone community including removing terms like “man-made” with “manufactured” or “fabricated” from FAA documentation. For example, the term “cockpit” would be replaced with “flight deck” in the official FAA lexicon.

AUVSI is a giant global trade association for the autonomy, robotics, and automated air, ground and maritime vehicle industries, including flying drones. It represents entrepreneurs, engineers, and companies big and small throughout the area of robotics.

Both robotics and aviation have struggled with female representation. Only an estimated 6.7 percent of currently registered FAA drone pilots are women, while a slightly higher 8 percent of traditional FAA pilots are women. And American drone maker Skydio put out a report earlier this year stating that just 5% of Skydio 2 drones were purchased by women.

Along with the name change, AUVSI also announced the creation of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Advisory Group. The group is being chaired by Mignonne Hollis, who also serves as the executive director of the Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation and is the founder of Aerospace Arizona.

“In this groundbreaking industry, we know that inclusivity accelerates innovation,” she said. “We urge all stakeholders to follow the leadership of AUVSI in adopting gender-inclusive language that invites all to participate and help drive the discussions that will shape our collective future.”


  • Jill R. Simmons says:

    What was the vote count? Personally, as a woman (and a AUVSI member) I could not have cared less about a name change and voted against it. After 48 years in law enforcement (a traditionally male dominated occupation) I found that if you do the job and expect no differential treatment because of your sex, you will be far more respected than if you insist on “inclusion, etc). I am tired of this foolishness. Do your job. That’s all.

  • Ray Morgan says:

    When I started in this business, we called them RPV’s (remotely piloted vehicles) – which they were….. and still are.

  • Rod Julian says:

    Thank you you for sharing what many of us are thinking, Jill R. Simmons I appreciate you. Division through the DE&I Agenda is irreversible due to its segregation of the Human Race. Unmanned, Mankind, there is no gender to aircraft. Get over yourself and unite around this amazing technology, stop the division.

  • Jessika F says:

    No one actually believes that unmanned was offensive to women right? As a woman, this feels condescending to say that if we just change this one word, all the women will finally come. This doesn’t solve the problem why more women aren’t flying drones. Gendered language has really nothing to do with the gender of people, its an entirely separate concept.

    I don’t care they changed the name. But I do care that they think the name change helps this problem. Because it doesn’t.

  • Joseph D Roth says:

    …however, Drone Girl is ok…?
    why did the Boy scouts have to change to “Scout”, but the Girl Scouts still remain the same…AND WE HAVE COOKIES THAT MAKE THEM SOUND LIKE THEY ARE KITCHEN BOUND WOMEN>>!!!
    I’m done with your organization…
    Thank you.

  • Joseph D Roth says:

    The name “Drone Girl” is offensive….please change this.

  • Jack says:

    It’s great that we all think about that issue the same way. To be honest this whole name-changing makes me sick. We have war, we have a pandemic, we have hunger in countries, global warming and so on and our biggest problem as first world nation is the name change of “useless” things. There are talks about changing names which doesnt even have anything to do with the actual male gender like country names Germany, What are we going to do about Manhattan? Than there are some terms wo are somewhat related to the male gender like unmanned. But what are we than if we are not human or mankind? Should we burn all books, texts and everything, including historic one of kind pieces, to have gender neutrality everywhere? I am sure there are people thinking like that but as many of you mentioned, it doesn’t solve the problem. By the way, there is also a “man” in woman and a male in female. what are we doing about that to be gender neutral? *facepalm*

    I think we should spend all that energy and money elsewhere and more effective so that actually everyone (all genders and non-genders) can profit from it. Fight global warming, get green energy and so on. Yes, I am male, but I have no problem seeing more female drone pilots or more females in male dominated jobs. Does anyone advocate to have more man in female dominated jobs? Like nurses and other female dominated jobs? Yes, there was a time were women had less rights than man. These times are over, at least in the US and many countries around the world. There are still lots of countries where women have less rights or no rights at all. Why not use all that to fix these issues instead of “meaningless” name changes.

    Also as long as we talk about it, it will be always a problem. Yes, I am male, but i am also pro for equal rights. Sorry, I had to vent. 😉 I am also not sure if the name change fixes the issue here. Some people probably dont even know what the letters stand for. Anyway, happy flying and stay safe.

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