Modern Quarrying

The thorny issues around drone compliance and regulation will be a key focal point at a special conference dedicated to the drone industry this June.

The Drone ConThe Drone Con: A Drone Conference for Professionals is a first of its kind for South Africa. The event is hosted by United Drone Holdings (UDH) – a leading innovative and entrepreneurial focused drone-service business, committed to educating and informing drone pilots on the industry. UDH offers solutions to commercial and industrial industries looking to optimise workflow, security, and fundamental business functions by using drone technology. One of the business’s core focus areas is training drone pilots and producing committed graduates.

According to UDH CEO Sean Reitz, South Africa is experiencing an “extraordinary increase” in the uptake of drone technology in various industries. And in addition to mining and agricultural applications, other key industries, like safety and security, which includes the South African Police Service (SAPS), forensics and property are now making use of drone technology.

“Drones do things humans can’t, they go where humans can’t go and they’ve been largely beneficial for these industries,” he says.

The upcoming conference, which takes place from 7-9 June at Vodacom World’s Conference Centre, includes a packed line-up of 35 speakers and aims to outline the number of challenges that relate to the regulation of drones in the country, as well as brainstorm solutions to these problems.

According to Reitz, the regulatory environment in South Africa is the greatest limiting factor to the development of this industry and is governed primarily by the SACAA. “Being a commercial drone operator is an immensely responsible job and regulations play an overarching role in shaping and controlling the business.”

Other topics of discussion include debates on emerging technologies in the drone space and the effective use of drone technology during search and rescue operations conducted by the SAPS. Reitz says a slot at the conference has been dedicated to retired legendary SAPS official, Jack Haskins of the Pietermaritzburg K9 search and rescue unit who will highlight the effectiveness of drones in SAPS’ search and rescue missions.

“This is an opportunity for drone professionals to be at the forefront of what’s transpiring in the drone industry and will be the time they need to better understand the opportunities and threats of the industry as a whole,” Reitz says.

Some of the keynote speakers include: Stadler Britz, operations manager at UDS (UAV and Drone Solutions) who will discuss the role drones play in the prevention of rhino poaching; Geoffrey Nyaga from Kenyan-based Astral Aerial will speak on the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Concept for Africa for which they recently won an award from the International Air Transport Association (IATA); Daniel Molefe Ralefeta, Transformation and Development chairman of The Aeroclub of South Africa will discuss transformation opportunities in the UAV space; Bryan Verpoort of Hollard Insurance who will touch on drone insurance and its related risks; and Marinus Boon, lecturer at the University of Johannesburg will present the environmental impact assessment from an academic’s perspective.

www.dronecon.co.uk

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