CES 2023

CES 2023: 5 things to look forward to most in drones

The Consumer Electronics Show is set to arrive in Las Vegas next week. And this edition of the CES 2023 is set to be one of the biggest yet after COVID-19 kept last year’s crowds light. There’s tons to look forward to from the world of drones at CES 2023. And this year’s uber-tech conference is set to be especially exciting because it’s my first-ever time attending in person.

Given its mass appeal in the world of trade shows, CES has been known to be the site of many major product launches. At CES 2022, we got the highly-anticipated Sony Airpeak S1 drone and the Skydio 2+, to name a few. While most electronics makers keep their best products under wraps to be revealed on the first day of the show, we do have some ideas of what’s ahead.

This year’s show takes place throughout Las Vegas and is open to people who work in the consumer technology industry. It runs between Thursday, Jan. 5 through Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.

So with that, here’s essentially a run-down of the top 5 things I’m hoping to check out next week (or am just generally looking forward to) — because I love drones just as much as you do. Hopefully you’ll find my CES 2023 guide to be of some use, whether you’re attending Las Vegas too, or simply tuning in from home.

Here’s a glimpse of crowds at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show. 2022 attendance was light, but expect it to return closer to normal levels for CES 2023. Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images

1. A far bigger show than last year

Last year was admittedly small given the pandemic, but this year CES is booming back. Expect to see roughly 3,100 exhibitors. CES says all those exhibitors mean the show-floor size is 70% larger than it was in 2022 (that’s more than two million square feet of exhibit space!. And of those 3,100 exhibitors, 1000 are new to CES, meaning all those repeat visitors still have plenty of new stuff to see.

2. Dozens of drone exhibitors at CES 2023

Speaking of those 3,100 exhibitors, they span fields including cryptocurrency, space, sports, travel, wellness and more. But of course, plenty of them have to do with drones. I won’t name them all, but among the drone companies I’m most looking forward to seeing on the show floor include:

Autel (Tech East, LVCC, Central Hall, booth 18315): This drone maker is seen as one of the top DJI competitors, with drones including the Autel EVO Lite+ drone.

DroMii (Tech West, Venetian Expo, Level 1, Hall G and Meeting Rooms, booth 63417): CfSM (Car-free Street Mapping) uses drones and AI software to create detailed road maps. After capturing 4k aerial photos, CfSM’s software detects and removes moving objects from the road to provide a clear picture of road conditions for local governments and navigation systems.

Marine Drone Tech (Tech West, Venetian Expo, Level 1, Hall G and Meeting Rooms, booth 60633): This is a South Korea-based drone delivery platform, focusing on the maritime last mile logistics by delivering ship supplies by air.

Narma (Tech West, Venetian Expo, Level 1, Hall G and Meeting Rooms, booth 60633): Sharing a booth is Narma, a spin-off company of Korea Aerospace Research Institute. It’s building tilt rotor delivery drones, enabling both vertical take-off and landing, and cruise flight.

Skydio (Tech East, Renaissance, Hospitality Suites, Ren 16, Ren 5): One of the most beloved American camera drone makers, Skydio, is set to demo at CES. Skydio is famous for its consumer-friendly, follow-me drones.

3. The Women and Drones awards, and the accompanying Leaders’ Summit

Between Jan. 5 and Jan. 7, the folks at Women and Drones are running their own little mini-conference within CES 2023.

The mini conference is dubbed the 2023 Emerging Aviation Technologies Thought Leaders’ Summit, and it features speakers including FAA Deputy Executive Director of UAS Integration Abigail Smith, NASA director Parimal Kopardekar, Electric Flying Car Racing Pilot Lexie Janson, Sky Magic COO Hitomi Uematsu and Chula Visa Police drone first responder captain Miriam Foxx. Most of it is being held at the Westgate Hotel Hospitality Suite #2991, and is open to all CES pass holders.

But then, a bit selfishly, I’m seriously looking forward to the annual Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards ceremony. This year is special because it’ll inaugurate its first-ever round of Hall of Fame inductees. I’m so proud and humbled to say that I’m one of them. The award ceremony is set for Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, and will include the inaugural Hall of Fame ceremony, the Women to Watch, and the Top Companies for Women awards.

4. The answers to why we don’t have widespread delivery today

One of the top panels I’m looking forward to listening in on is dubbed “Drones: So Why Don’t We Have Widespread Drone Delivery Today?” A stellar lineup of industry experts including Abigail Smith (Deputy Executive Director FAA, UAS Integration Office), Phillip Wallace (Director of Federal Government Affairs, Walmart) and Harrison Wolf (Director of Global Aviation Policy, Zipline) are set to tackle the question.

It’s all being moderated by CTA VP Doug Johnson, and it will be held on Friday, Jan. 6 at 10 a.m. at LVCC West Level 2, W219.

5. The CES 2023 Innovation Awards winners and honorees

The CES Innovation Awards is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products. The 2023 winners have already been announced, and they include some of the biggest development drones, such as:

  • DROW 4D Lapse: This web-based application allows any drone to take photos of objects or buildings for 3D mapping, facility management, or inspection. Instead of manually setting waypoints, the drone’s flight path is automated using AI and a 3D point cloud of the object.
  • Skydio Scout: This tech from California-based drone maker Skydio allows the operator to fly at a set distance and height from either the Skydio Enterprise Controller or the Skydio Beacon while on the move — all without having to manually operate the drone.
  • SkySafe Cloud: This could be a game changer in understanding where drones are flying. SkySafe Cloud uses city-wide sensor networks to provide organizations with the data to detect, identify, track and analyze the drones in their airspace, without the need to acquire, install, or maintain expensive hardware.

What are you looking to seeing most at CES 2023 this year? Finally, I’m looking forward to seeing you! If you happen to spot me out and about in Las Vegas next week, come say hi!

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