IDE A Guide To The International Drone Expo

By Kathleen Hickey

IDE: The Basics

International Drone Expo (IDE) will take place on December 11th, and 12th at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In its second year, IDE has expanded to a two day event. With over 100,000 sq. ft. of floor space, and over 80 exhibitors, it's sure to be an amazing experience. Exhibitors include DJI, Dronefly, Pix4D, AirVuz, and Yuneec, just to name a few. 

Registration for IDE is still open. There are four types of registration options.

  • Expo Only Access: For $30 you have admission for both days. There is also access to exhibit hall demonstrations, as well as select seminar presentations.
  • Conference Registration: For $325, have access to all conference sessions, luncheons, coffee breaks, exhibits, Keynote presentations, networking events, and demonstrations in the exhibit halls.
  • Student Conference Registration: For $150 get all of the benefits of the Conference Registration. 
  • Media Pass: If you are a member of the media, there is special contact information provided.

So, why should you attend a drone expo? There are many benefits, and IDE has made it very affordable for the general public to attend the event. Many drone expos and shows are trade only. To attend, you would have to show proof that you are in the UAV industry. If you have the Expo Only Access, you can walk the floor and speak face to face with manufacturers, educators, and other members of the drone industry. It's also a way to see demonstrations and see various drones side by side. Being able to see, feel, and try on products is very helpful in finding what works best for your needs, before you actually make a purchase, can save time, and hassle. Attending an expo can also be a fun social activity. Having people join you is a great way to get friends and family involved in your hobby. 


Attending conferences at any expo is a way to hear about what's going on in the world of drones from industry leaders. Some are Keynotes, which are usually on a specific topic, from one key speaker. Panels consist of multiple experts that will take questions on topics lead by a moderator, or Panel Chair. To get the most out of your experience at IDE, take a look at the topics that are most beneficial, or of the most interest for you. Some talks will take place on both days, so you may decide to pick one over the other on a specific day if one is offered on another. Here is my planned schedule, of speakers I'm excited to see: 

Day 1 Friday December 11th:

  • 8:40am - Keynote - Brendan Schulman - VP Of Policy & Legal Affairs, DJI

  • 10:15am

    The Future Of Education And Jobs In SUAS

    The mantra of the modern world is education for the future and advanced manufacturing along with all the technology that fuels it. What jobs are there for our young, and what training with they need? As we transition from a machine assisted labor force to an autonomously assisted one, who will take care of the software and hardware? These and many other questions are more than most algorithms can predict.

  • 11:40am

    Media Coverage And Drones

    News coverage and the creation of information Media are being disrupted by commercial drones. Disasters, Protests, Marches, Riots, you name it. If it's newsworthy, the reporters of the news want to be able to report it to you immediately. Aerial Robotics is changing the way we see the world and how it is being brought to us, get the whole story at 5. 

  • 1:00pm

    Aerial Sensors And Big Data

    By now we have all heard the term “Flying Smartphone”. This is not only true of commercial drones, but with the “Internet of Things” that fly creating an endless future of possibilities for Aerial sensors, application development, and adoption. Software and hardware creators alike have what is the hottest and arguably the fastest paced technology movement man has ever seen.

  • 2:00pm

    Keynote: Parimal Kopardekar

    Drones And The Future Of Aerospace - NASA UAS Airspace Integration & Operations/Logistics Unmanned Air Traffic Management (UTM) & NextGen NASA: Ames Research Center

    One might ponder the fact that we literally have two drones that have left our Solar System and are happily reporting data back to Earth. We have one on Mars, and we are designing one to study the corona of the Sun. With the explosion of technology in the past 150 years mankind has advanced but at a cost to our planet. As we turn our attention back to how we can create sustainability here on Earth we see that Drones and Aerospace are one of the keys to creating and aiding this agenda.

  • 4:30pm

    Room B - FAA And Commercial Drones

    Everyone know the issues that have faced the integration of sUAS in the NAS and the FAA is the main legislating body set with the task of creating the first layer of legislation that will set the groundwork for the future of commercial drone operations in the United States for generations to come. Just as we face at the advent of manned aircraft, the challenges that face us are many and the voices that must be heard are just as great. Hear firsthand from the FAA's author if the NPRM for sUAS in a healthy debate with the community and its creators where we are headed and when.

There are many more to choose from, and a full list of conferences and speakers is available on the IDE website. 

After the Show is the After Party

One of the best things about Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), are the food and drink options. If you're coming for IDE, and want to try a new restaurant, here are my picks!

  • Bottega Louie: Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Bottega Louie has pasta, salads, pizza, steaks, and a great wine list. They also have an amazing shop full of sweet treats and gifts to take home.
  • Eggslut: Breakfast, brunch, and of course....eggs. 
  • Kendall's Brasserie: Delicious French food. Part of the Patina group, Kendall's offers an Oyster Bar, extensive wine list, and a warm atmosphere. I recommend the salmon, and braised beef short rib. 

LA Live is right next to the convention center. If you don't want to drive at all, there are some great food and drink options there as well. 

  • The Farm of Beverly Hills: A Los Angeles twist on comfort food. The Farm has great drinks, a wine and beer menu, as well as cheese plates and burgers. I mainly visit for the cocktails, but the food is delicious as well. 
  • Rock'N Fish: Surf and turf at its best. Lots of great drink options as well. 
  • Yard House: 160 Beers on tap. That should be enough to get you there.....


I hope you are able to find this guide to IDE helpful. I'm so excited to attend. If you are not able to make it, I'll be tweeting throughout. Look for pictures on my Adventures Page. I'm always available to help, so please reach out to me with any questions! 

Happy Flying!