By @SimonCocking. Interesting interview with Cormac who you can see speaking at the upcoming Drone Expo at the RDS.

Brief background about you?

Professor of computer science at UCC, PhD from Cambridge University, deputy director of the SFI-funded CONNECT Research Centre, used to work at AT&T Bell Labs in the USA.

What inspired you to speak at this event? What will you be talking about?

A high-profile event on a red-hot technology….a speaking opportunity not to be missed! Also, for me, a key feature of the Expo is that it places an emphasis on the regulations surrounding drone use, and the very serious responsibilities of drone owners,

My talk will be about future opportunities for drones, how they are being used in advanced research projects, and opportunities for companies in this sector to engage with universities.

Why it will be helpful for people to attend. What will they get out of it?

From my talk I’d expect that people will get some insight into the kinds opportunities there are with drones – looking beyond the capabilities of today’s drones and towards when they have sophisticated networking features and can operate autonomously.

What drone projects are you currently working on? How are they going?

I’ll be describing drone research projects here at UCC that I am working on with my colleague Prof. Ken Brown. This work is funded by Science Foundation Ireland. One project involves the use of a drone in search and rescue missions, another uses drones for wireless network planning and repair. These are early-stage projects but we are making good progress and starting to see real opportunities ahead.

What are you excited about in relation to drones in 2016 and beyond?

Ultimately I believe that drones will be seen more as a commercial technology and less so as a device for hobbyists. In 2016 I expect to see some early such commercial use-cases.

Is Ireland a good place to work on and develop drones? If so why / why not?

My focus is on research, and I think Ireland has strengths as a venue for drone research. For example, in one of our projects we were easily able to obtain a trial licence to operate using cellular spectrum, something that is much more difficult elsewhere. Like most countries, the legislative framework and aviation regulations are still playing “catch-up” with the new technology, and a challenge will be to regulate in a manner that both assures safety and does not inhibit innovation.

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