By @SimonCocking. The Drone Expo is coming to Dublin April 1 – 3, tickets available here. We spoke to Ian Kiely, founding member Drone Expo Ireland, to find out more.

What aspects of drones / uavs are you excited about?

Drones offer a whole new perspective on how to approach business and transport. We are living in an age where innovation is rampant, it is impossible to keep up. I foolishly fought technology for years believing that my mobile phone was as good as it gets, I owned 3 businesses without websites and only used a facebook page in the last 3 years, I grudgingly began using Facebook as I discovered my friends were operating a page in my name, they had used a piece of wood as my photo and were happily declaring that I actively disliked foreigners and gays which is not true of course. My 3 year old nephew had to give me a lesson in how to download music.

Now that I have embraced the change and operate drones professionally I cannot get enough technology. I obviously own drones, I have a smart phone, a tablet, a plethora of gadgets and I even attended WebSummit. I enjoy the excitement of exploring the ever improving ideas and getting to see the world from above but mostly I enjoy the newness of the industry and exploring the business opportunities, in a sense we are creating history.

Why will your event at the RDS be awesome?

As this is the first Drone Expo in Ireland we want it to be special. We are a start up company ourselves and thus having to watch the budget, however the more people that come on board the more it allows us to do and the better the event will be. I am on the phone day and night contacting people with new ideas and requests constantly working on broadening the scope of the event.

What can we expect to see coming in the next 6 – 18 months?

The sky will be a buzz with the sound of drones and everyone will be encouraged to have a new type of mail box, the box will have the capability of communicating with the drone and will inform you of your delivery. Packages will arrive faster, less vans and trucks will be on the roads and our eco-system will benefit overall.

Some work environments will become safer as dangerous inspection tasks will be done from a fixed position, search and rescue will become more proficient, fire crews will have better intel, crowd control and policing will be in a whole new world. Obviously there will be dangers posed by the drones themselves but as time passes this will also be mitigated.

More and more people will have to start thinking in 3D to carry out daily tasks and aviation terms will creep into standard conversation. Many people in Ireland do not yet understand that drones are here to stay and a massive explosion of their use is upon us. We are standing on the precipice about to take the dive.

What opportunities exist in the Dublin / Irish context?

It is my belief that Ireland is in an excellent position to become the drone capital of Europe. We should develop a gateway hub to the US and look to the future of large unmanned aircraft crossing the Atlantic autonomously. These aircraft would still need ground crew and maintenance and could potentially create a large number of skilled jobs and investment opportunity. Currently aircraft travelling to the US use the northern route and the southern route on the return journey, there is ample space to create new flight paths for autonomous vehicles.

Drones themselves will undoubtedly replace existing labour intensive jobs such as mapping, surveying and national transport/delivery. We have a number of underutilized smaller airports scattered across the country that could host these crossings and maybe one day also service passenger requirements.

Ireland is ripe for a major jump in the use of new technologies across the board, given that we are a small educated nation and have a willingness to try new ideas we should be grabbing hold of these ideas and leading the way to the future.


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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