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Commercial drone expo attracts thousands

Flashing lights and flying drones could be seen inside Caesars Forum on Wednesday at the annual Commercial UAV Expo, which ends Thursday.

Billed as one of the largest drone industry events, the expo covers all things related to the unmanned aerial vehicle industry. In its eighth year, the convention features more than 230 exhibitors with more than 4,000 registrations, according to Carl Berndtson, managing director for Confex Partners.

The exhibits showed the variety in the drone industry with some drones flying through pipes, showcasing land-surveying technology, and others showing how they can deliver cargo.

Brett Kanda, vice president of sales and marketing at Brinc Drones, said the expo is a chance for the drone industry to showcase its products and new technology.

“This is the best commercial drone show there is since it’s a combination of us seeing what’s going on in the market, and a lot of our customers are here,” Kanda said.

Globally, the industry is projected to grow from $8.15 billion in 2022 to $47.38 billion by 2029, according to data from Fortune Business Insights.

The drone market and the Commercial UAV Expo has matured over the past eight years, according to Jeremiah Karpowicz, editorial director of Commercial UAV News.

“In the early days of drones, there was a lot of hype but not a lot of reality,” Karpowicz said. “Now the industry is reality driven where companies can see here what is possible with (drone) technology.”

Maturing technology

Las Vegas-based Sundance Media Group was on site conducting drone flight displays. The company has been participating in the convention since it debuted and has seen the industry evolve.

“Eight years ago, nobody really understood the benefits of drone technology. It was just this cool toy,” said Jennifer Pidgen, chief operating officer at Sundance Media. “Now we have started to mature into the technology itself and what benefits are coming from it.”

Kanda said public safety is the biggest use for drone technology, giving law enforcement the ability to quickly see and hear what is happening in potentially dangerous situations.

Brinc, which has offices in Las Vegas and Seattle, launched shortly after the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the final night of the Route 91 Harvest music festival in 2017.

“Because basically that night, think about the mission, they didn’t know where he was shooting from, over 2,000 rooms, over 30 floors that they had to clear,” Kanda said. “And they sent humans in that night.”

Brinc is currently focusing on building its customer base through law enforcement agencies and has 250 agencies across the globe using its technology, according to Kanda.

Vik Chaudhry, co-founder and chief operating officer of Buzz Solutions, said his company uses artificial intelligence and footage from drones to inspect an electric utility’s infrastructure and equipment.

The combination of improved battery life, camera quality and tools gleaned from artificial intelligence is pushing the drone industry further, according to Chaudhry. He thinks the future of the industry is autonomous drones that won’t require a person to control them.

“I think autonomous flight will help even more seamless and faster inspections around infrastructure, whether it’s, power lines or wind turbines or solar panels,” Chaudhry said.

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on Twitter.

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