First ever small business expo for unmanned systems brings experts to San Francisco


Unmanned aircraft used to be the exclusive domain of large military contractors, until cheap electronics and the DIY movement changed the rules. Now anyone with a little electronics skills, a little ingenuity, and about $1,000 can cobble together a small unmanned aircraft system in their basement.

This disruption has opened a door for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses to fill a variety of needs: agriculture, research, city planning, civil engineering, architecture, disaster response, transportation, journalism, environmental stewardship, and more. It's estimated the economic impact of this new marketplace could reach into the billions annually, and employ tens of thousands of people.

Despite all this potential, there's been no conferences yet which cater to small businesses in the unmanned systems sector.

The Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition, organized by, plans to fill that void. On July 25 and 26 at the Golden Gate Club in the San Francisco Presidio, experts in this dynamic new marketplace will meet and discuss prospects, technology, legislation, and more.

Among the 24 scheduled speakers for the two-day expo include Chris Anderson, former editor in chief of Wired magazine, who left that position to run his startup, 3D Robotics, full-time. Additional speakers include AUVSI Executive Vice President Gretchen West, California Unmanned Aircraft Systems Portal (Cal UAS) team leader Eileen Shibley, Joerg Lamprecht of AIBOTIX, and Jerry LeMieux of Unmanned Vehicle University.

I'll also be speaking about prospects for UAS in research, STEM education, public outreach, and journalism. When I'm not speaking, I'll be tweeting (@sUASNewsExpo) and writing about the proceedings on the expo website.

The sUSBExpo website is updated with the current schedule (please note it may change without notice).
Posted on July 22, 2013 .