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A consumer drone capturing dramatic images of a fire in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood.
A consumer drone capturing dramatic images of a fire in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.

LAS VEGAS — If the recent holiday season seemed like a big one for drones, brace yourself, because it’s just the beginning. The global market for drones will climb to at least $1 billion by 2018, according to the latest numbers from the Consumer Electronics Association.

Shawn DuBravac, Consumer Electronics Association chief economist,.

That’s up from a global market forecast of $130 million for 2015, up 50 percent, with sales of about 425,000 units. That’s according to a presentation by Shawn DuBravac, the CEA chief economist, during a wide-ranging briefing on the state of the electronics industry today in advance of the International CES technology show here this afternoon.

DuBravac says we could easily see more than 100 different types of drones shown at the event this week.

Already the spread of consumer-grade drones has caused issues such as the aerial photograph that appears to have violated FAA regulations by flying above Seattle’s Space Needle.

The soaring market for consumer drones comes amid an uncertain regulatory environment for commercial drones in the U.S., as the Federal Aviation Administration considers draft rules that would severely limit the options for commercial drones in the country.

Amazon’s Prime Air drone package delivery initiative is one of the services awaiting the FAA’s rules before launching in the country.

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