By @SimonCocking, we caught up with Ian Kiely founding member Drone Expo Ireland [email protected], IAA registered drone pilot and works permit, to find out more about this year’s event.

When & where is it on?

Friday 10th – Sunday 12th March, RDS, Day 1 is B2B with the public welcome over the weekend.

How many years has it been going?

This is the Expo’s second year; the drone industry has developed and large entities are recognising the potential gain by adopting drones into business. We have doubled our floor space this year so there should be plenty for everyone.

What was the inspiration to start it?

We were a start-up company looking promote our business, make contacts and expand our customer base. I attended the UAAI inaugural meeting, there was lots of interest from the public and other new operators appeared to be in the same position. We took a bit of a punt and there were a few sleepless nights but it all came together, with lots of help! The only other offering on the market was very expensive and beyond the reach of most fledgling businesses.

What exciting things can people look forward to for the 2017 version?

There are droves of FPV racers across the country, we have more than doubled the track size this year with competitive races taking place courtesy of FPV Leinster. We have also introduced a large indoor demo area in addition to the outside flying space. Samsung will be bringing some new IoT connected devices, we will have electric skateboards to try out and lots of VR experiences.

(FPV, First Person View, the pilot flies a small drone from the perspective of the craft on a defined 3D course)

The Irish Armed Forces tell me they have a few surprises in store and have requested a sizeable area, recently they have been developing techniques with new technologies so we expect something good. Dublin Fire Brigade will be with us on day 1, they have recently adopted thermal imaging and invested time into training.

Give us a taste of who will be speaking? Who else can we expect to see in attendance?

We have an expanding list of speakers with Dave McQuillan of Azimap speaking about GIS, Vernon Kerswell from Extreme Flyers, Oisin McGrath From DroneSAR will be presenting on new search and rescue APP, Bart Zondag will be giving us insights into Lidar mapping solutions, Gearoid O Briain from FlyRyte will be instructing on how to get licenced.

Copter Shop Ireland will have a full range of DJI, The Camera Centre always have a great selection with Yuneec products being available also. iFly Technology, Cover Drone, Colas Ireland, Smart Finance and GPS2Find with lots more.

What is your own background and your interests?

I come from an event and Project Management background, if you had told me a few years ago I would be doing this now I would not have taken it seriously. Like everything else it is hard graft but we are enjoying ourselves.

I had a serious injury a few years ago, I had to give up a lot of what I was doing. I spend a lot of time hill walking with the dogs and recently I took up Sandyachting with IPSKA, the 52nd European Championships are being held in Meath this September which is pretty cool.

Are there still opportunities available to people joining the drone industry?

This is still the ground floor of an emerging industry with lots of potential end uses to be discovered. R&D is attracting real investment with start-up hubs taking it very seriously. Mayo CoCo have some great ideas on how to offer incentives and encourage innovation while Universities are using them in a whole host of areas.

Kristian Terkildsen from The University of Southern Denmark will be presenting but they are also here to recruit Irish talent for a two-year MSc programme in Drone Technology with no fees for European applicants.

What tips would you give to people attending to get the most out of it?

You should come with an open mind ready to experience all sorts of interesting things on offer, I would also suggest that you come early. We open at 9.30am.

How are ticket sales and where can you buy them?

Corporate ticket sales have been very strong this year and we have already sold more weekend tickets than last year with a few weeks still to go. Visit droneexpoireland.com for more information or Ticketmaster. We will have a limited number of tickets available at the door on a first come basis. We will update the website with more info closer to the time.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?

Just come and enjoy the experience.

I can be contacted on [email protected] or 087 9824031 It’s not too late to get in on the action.


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