AP National Writer

Santa Cruz, Calif. (AP) _ Surfers catching waves and mountain bikers pedaling through forests are used to the occasional low-flying pelican or diving hawk, but these days outdoor recreationalists can find what’s up in the air isn’t a bird at all, it’s a drone.

This week top drone-makers, along with investors, regulators and inventors, are gathering in one of the most popular regions for outdoor activity in the U.S., California’s Central Coast, to show off their devices, hear about new uses for airborne robots, and hit the waves and trails.

Drones Data X Conference Santa Cruz, from May 1 to 3, will also feature experts explaining how unmanned-aerial vehicles can map remote areas or rescue hikers or swimmers.

Federal regulators, who are still sorting out drone rules, will be on hand with updates on regulations.