The 3rd Commercial UAV Show (19-20 October) found itself sandwiched between three industry-leading events (INTERGEO’s InterAerial Solutions in Hamburg, the 4th UAV Show in Bordeaux, and the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas).
Perhaps because of the close proximity of these events, some household names were conspicious by their absence, with new product launches and developments limited in number. Even so, 70 international exhibitors made the trip to the ExCeL exhibition centre in London Docklands to promote a range of airframes, sensors, control systems and components, as well as training, insurance and other industry-specific services to some 2,000 visitors.
A new, albeit low key feature of this year’s event, staged by Terrapinn, was a GeoConnect Show held in parallel and supported by half a dozen organisations including Ordnance Survey, MapMechanics and Landmark Information Group.
As always, the show’s Demo Zone pulled in the crowds. This safe netted area on the exhibition floor hosted 30-minute flying sessions in which exhibitors put their UAV offerings through their paces. First introduced in 2015, this year’s Demo Zone had a significantly extended - if at times noisy! - programme.
Another popular feature of the show was its User & University Pavilion in which individuals could share ideas, meet innovators, and find out how new technologies are being used in imaginative ways.
A first for 2016 was a poster zone, open to researchers, academics, and individuals who have a particular project or research area that they’d like to share with the industry. Backing this up was a Start-Up Zone – a range of small pods for those whose new businesses had been registered after 1 January 2014
With aerial photography and videography a key market for UAV operators, a special section of the show was devoted to a gallery celebrating the work of those who capture nature and civilization from a UAV perspective. This was supported by a training workshop in which attendees learned how to use UAVs effectively, safely, and legally, and discover a new way of seeing.
A parallel conference and floor-mounted theatres focussed on specific themes: regulation, Insurance & training; blue light & emergency services; mapping, surveying & GIS, and utilities and Infrastructure.
The conference, with some 200 attendees and more than 80 industry speakers, was opened by keynote speaker Andy Cox, Chief Engineer of Facebook’s Aviation Team, who explored how a network of drones could connect the unconnected world to the internet, not least in remote locations. As well as reviewing the design challenge for high altitude UAVs intended for this purpose, he outlined the innovation that was being made possible thanks to UK-US collaboration.
The next Commercial UAV Show is scheduled to be held in London, 15-16 November 2017 and see the inauguration of a series of awards for those at the forefront of UAV development and deployment.
More on the event at http://www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/the-commercial-uav-show/index.stm
All photos: © GEOconnexion unless otherwise stated
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