December 18, 2015      

It seems every preview about CES 2016 includes drones as a technology that will dominate Las Vegas in early January 2016. And rightfully so. According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a record 27 exhibitors, up from 16 in 2015, will showcase the latest technologies that are revolutionizing the drone industry.

The Unmanned Systems Marketplace, located in South Hall 2 of the Las Vegas Convention Center, will cover more than 25,000 net square feet of exhibit space, a 200 percent increase over the 2015 show. Exhibitors including DJI, Yuneec, Hobbico Inc. and Squadrone System will showcase drone and unmanned technologies and initiatives that deliver innovations related to sports, travel, real estate, search and rescue, law enforcement and disaster relief.

“Drones have taken off in the marketplace and now represent one of the fastest growing tech categories – globally and on the CES show floor,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “This is truly life-changing technology that will create new jobs, improve lives and transform the way we do business.”

CTA market research expects this to be a defining year for drones, with 400,000 units sold this holiday season and U.S. market revenue reaching nearly $105 million in 2015 – a 52 percent increase over 2014. And given the right regulatory environment, CTA sees the United States reaching one million unmanned aircraft systems flights per day within the next 20 years.

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In addition to exhibits on the show floor, CES 2016 will feature four conference sessions focused on the accomplishments, trends and challenges of UAV technology, including:

Defining Drones: From Backyard Hobby to Hollywood Flyover
January 6, 2:15-3:15 PM | LVCC, North Hall, Room N253
While Drones present intriguing and exciting possibilities, their role is still evolving. Panelists explore the most promising consumer applications and predict what will drive opportunities for the budding industry.

Rules for Drones – Best Policies and Practices
January 7, 1-2 PM | LVCC, North Hall, Room N256
Rules for drones are needed so that entrepreneurs, businesses and governments can realize the tremendous benefits of unmanned aircraft systems, but what rules are best? What policies and initiatives will support safety and innovation, with benefits to consumers and commerce?

Managing Low-Altitude Airspace for Safety and Privacy
January 7, 2:15-3:15 PM | LVCC, North Hall, Room N256
Innovators, companies, researchers and regulators have visions for how best to manage the airspace for drones. How are they accounting for safety, security and privacy? Learn how the public and private sectors are tackling the challenge of air space management.

Use Cases: Amazing Drone Benefits
January 7, 3:30-4:30 PM | LVCC, North Hall, Room N256
Drones can create tremendous societal benefits. A future where drones deliver packages, aid in search and rescue missions and improve agriculture already exists. What kinds of professions and businesses are using unmanned aircraft systems today, and are they meeting expectations?

Some of the early buzz about drones at CES includes Intelligent Energy’s hydrogen-powered drones that can fly for several hours. Intelligent Energy will be demoing the prototype in the Venetian in Suite 31-318.

“Even with advanced batteries their value is limited. For commercial use, they need to offer better flight times and range,” said Julian Hughes, Group Business Development director and acting managing director for Intelligent Energy’s Consumer Electronics Division. “That will all become possible with the release of our range extender platform.”