Urgent research wanted for commercial drones

New Zealand’s newest drone research company believes the first regular commercial drone service will launch in New Zealand in the next two years, but says urgent research must happen first to ensure the public’s safety.

With the burgeoning drone market expected to grow to $US100 billion by 2020, the demand for drones is moving away from marketing stunts and into areas of real opportunity, says Incredible Skies CEO Robyn Kamira.

“New Zealand companies have a hunger to innovate and while the country is well-positioned to lead the world, the sector needs urgent investment by government to enable it to move fast and grow fast,” says Kamira. For her, that means targeted research that opens up the opportunities to serve real-world needs.

Auckland Council’s head of innovation Matt Montgomery supports this and says the council’s Smarter Cities programme is exploring several drone use cases that solve real problems.

Kamira expects to see drones being used to drive new services and products across multiple industries including energy, agritech, telcos, farms, health, city services and civil defence. “But we have to approach these markets rationally and with solid data, which is where we come in.”

Incredible Skies’ dedicated team of innovators and engineers is designing technologies that can deliver important cargo such as medicines to isolated rural communities and has been working with the Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Health for regulatory advice.

The company is building advanced systems that keep other valuable payloads safe and secure while in flight, and that will help commercial drone operators ensure that their machines are flying where they should be, while keeping away from other air traffic.

Airways’ head of strategy Trent Fulcher says it is essential we develop processes to allow drones to safely interact with manned aircraft. This is a critical focus of his organisation and should lead to the successful integration of drones with other air traffic.

Kamira is addressing the local government information management conference this month to talk with councils about their role in providing the regulatory permissions needed for drone services in their cities and regions.

Incredible Skies is calling for drone companies, engineers, technologists and investors to connect by visiting the website: https://www.incredibleskies.nz/

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