Business & Economy

LA drone expo hosts races, with 1,500 drone enthusiasts expected to attend

File: Chinese brand DJI Technology Co. is a leading supplier in the commercial drone market. The Phantom 2 Vision+ drone is pictured.
File: Chinese brand DJI Technology Co. is a leading supplier in the commercial drone market. The Phantom 2 Vision+ drone is pictured.
Kin Cheung/AP

A fleet of 60 drones takes flight at this weekend's third annual International Drone Expo and Business Conference.

Sarah Oneal, host of "That Drone Show," told KPCC that pilots began competing in heats Friday afternoon. The expo's races and conference take place Friday and Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

"If you're new to the world of drones or you've just seen them flying and you're brave enough to get involved, it's a great opportunity for that," Oneal said.

According to its website, the convention is the largest gathering of the global commercial drone community. Oneal said she expects about 1,500 drone owners, operators and investors to attend.

It's big business — in a report published in May 2016, consulting group PricewaterhouseCoopers valued the global market for commercial drones at $127 billion. 

On Friday, attendees were tweeting from the drone expo's race. This photo shows the various hoops and obstacles pilots must navigate their machines around.

https://twitter.com/scottskysmith/status/807318339492028416

The winner of the expo's race wins a huge trophy, along with some drone goodies provided by sponsors, Oneal said.

The convention will host executives from all aspects of the drone industry, Oneal said. Visitors should expect booths and demonstrations from companies in agriculture, cinematography, environment, search and rescue, construction, architecture, real estate, mining, oil and gas, financing, venture capital and goods delivery.

The convention is open to the public between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The price of admission starts at $30. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

Watch a clip from "That Drone Show" below:

That Drone Show clip