Great insights and interviews by Frank from Ireland Above

Drone Data X Conference: Intercontinental Hotel

The SAR workshop which took place on Thursday November 3rd was an exciting opportunity to witness the launch of Drone SAR, Ireland’s newest innovation in search and rescue. The workshop opened with a great talk from DJI’s head of education Romeo Durscher. Before the workshop I had a chance to sit with Romeo and ask him some questions about himself, his background and the positive role that drones have can have, not only in Search and Rescue operations but in other areas also.

Drone SAR is without a doubt one of the most exciting innovations in recent years. Research and exercises conducted by Drone SAR with the Donegal Search and Rescue team have shown that using a drone can reduce the search time for a victim by up to 80%. A recent article in the Irish Times describes as a technology that “could be the difference between life or death.”  I had the chance to chat with Oisin McGrath, one of Drone SAR’s founders.

Oisin highlighted some of the dangers and hindrances of Drones in his interview and these points were further iterated by Ralph James from the Irish Aviation Authority. Ralph and the IAA has the difficult task of playing devil’s advocate / strict school teacher in a growing industry.

Ralph James and the Irish Aviation Authority are well ahead of the game compared to some of their counterparts and have a vital role to play in the future of drone regulation.

One man who has come up with an effective way to find Drone pilots and provide a platform from which registered Drone pilots and people who require their services can find each other is Steve Flynn, CEO of Sky Tango. Sky Tango is an exciting new startup which provides a platform for pilots to sell their content. I got the chance to speak with Steve during the conference.

Drone Data X Conference: AIB Bankcentre

The conference began with a message from one of the main organisers Philip MacNamara. Philip encapsulated the mood of the room by drawing attention to the future of drone technologies and how excited drone enthusiasts feel about it.

The first company up to present was Movidius, which was recently bought by Intel for 380 million euro. An Irish founded company, Movidius has since moved to the US and has not looked back. Movidius are one of the reasons why the Phantom 4 is such a fantastic piece of hardware, providing the software for the automated tracking technology and obstacle avoidance features. From macro level navigation, object tracking, self levelling, obstacle avoidance,  scene and situational awareness, Movidius has done so much to bring drone technology forward. One must wonder what next? This is what I asked the Movidius representative, Jack Dashwood.


Next up was Michael Drobac from the Small UAV Coalition who spoke about the coalitions objectives, which include support for progressive law and policy changes. With many influential members such as Intel, Google, Flirtey and Amazon, the Small UAV Coalition will no doubt be very influential in future technological developments. A very interesting development was the creation of Drone Alliance Europe, which is “expediting the safe an widesperead integration of commercial drones into European airspace.”

Vernon Kerswell, founder of Extreme Fliers, then exhibited the tiny, but very impressive,Micro Drone 3.0. Extreme Fliers raised over $3,500,000 to fund the project and have shipped out over 15,000 units to date.

Vernon brought the audience on his company’s journey from an idea into a very successful company, even providing us with a live demonstration. Vernon is very excited about bringing his company into to the future with five new cameras and new custom frames in development. The Micro Drone 3.0 is available from a variety of retailers including Selfridges, John Lewis, Marlin, Argos, Amazonia and Dixon Carphone.

The attendees of the conference also had their fair share to offer. One such attendee was Zak Niazi of Circle Optics, a company which developing a complete 360 degree camera. I asked Zak about his companies developments.

Also in attendance was Douglas Farrelly of Silverscreen Digital Media who had recently invested in a drone to add an extra dimension to his media business.

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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