From January to April alone, 22 incidents involving rogue drones (or possible rogue drones) and commercial airplanes were investigated by the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority’s Airprox Board.
In none of these instances were the police able to locate the owners of the drones in question. The thinking is that registration will help curtail the behavior, and enable punishment when it does happen.
Although some of the rules have been announced, there is no clear timeline in place regarding a rollout for instructions on how the rules will be enforced, and the U.K. Department of Transport has admitted that the nuts and bolts still need to be ironed out.
Although some drone owners in the U.K. have expressed concern about these new rules, DJI was quick to issue a statement in favor of the regulations, which they said sound “like reasonable common sense.”
What We Know about the New Rules
Many of the details are still fuzzy about what the specific rules will be, and the U.K. government has said it’s still exploring the best legislative options for introducing these new rules.
That being said, here’s what we do know:
Drone operators flying drones that weight 250 grams or more will have to register their drone(s) and pass a safety awareness test that proves they understand U.K. safety, security, and privacy regulations.
Geo-fencing will be expanded and implemented throughout the U.K. to prevent flights in restricted airspace, such as at airports and prisons. Specific plans for implementation have not been announced.
To enable geo-fencing and provide more airspace information to drone pilots, an authoritative source for UK airspace data has been promised.
Transport Secretary Chris Graying has made it clear that he thinks anyone operating a drone near the flight path of a commercial airplane should face serious consequences. We have yet to learn what those specific consequences will be, but it’s clear that penalties will be increased and new punishments are in the works for reckless drone pilots.
“By registering drones and introducing safety awareness tests to educate users, we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.”
– U.K. Aviation Minister Lord Martin Callanan
A Global Problem
Rogue drones at airports is a problem authorities are facing all around the world these days.
Not too long ago DJI announced a bounty of $145,000 for information that would help catch rogue drone operator(s) who had kept 100 flights grounded at an airport in China’s Sichuan province. The incident affected the travel of 10,000 people, all of whom faced delays and cancelled flights due to the presence of a rogue DJI drone, making it unsafe for the planes to take off.
Just this week the video shown below went viral because of the sheer recklessness demonstrated by the operator, who can be seen flying dangerously close to airplanes landing at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. (He was so oblivious about the dangers of what he was doing that he proudly posted his video to YouTube, making it easy for authorities to track him down.)
But airports aren’t the only place where rogue drones can threaten lives.
Anti-drone technology has been developing more and more rapidly alongside the development of drones themselves, and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems hold out the promise of creating safely regulated skies.
But many of these tools are a few steps behind existing technology. And it also seems to be the case that, for every tool created to help control rogue drones, a new, illicit counter-tool pops up that makes it ineffective—take the Russian company who helps jailbreak DJI drones to trick their geo-fencing, and make flights in restricted airspace possible.
A lot more work remains in the U.K. to flesh out their sUAS regulations, but we agree with DJI that these new restrictions seem reasonable and straight forward. We’ll continue to report as drone regulations develop in the United Kingdom.
Anti-drone technology has been developing as rapidly as the drone industry itself.
Back in December we wrote about the expansion in range of DroneShield’s anti-drone gun, and in the short period of time since then we’ve seen the launch of a number of new anti-drone tools.
The most impressive of these is the anti-drone laser CNN recently reported witnessing, but there are also bullets packed with compressed netting, new and improved net guns, the anti-drone drone called the SparrowHawk, and of course Unmanned Traffic Management (UTMs) systems being developed by NASA and others.
One thing to note before we dive into the details about these various devices and systems is that the term anti-drone is something of a misnomer. The goal of these tools is to control drones, not necessarily to destroy them per se (except for the laser—the laser was definitely built to destroys things).
So you don’t have to be anti-drone to want to use an anti-drone tool.
In fact, you might love flying drones and use them in your daily work, but also want to use an anti-drone tool to keep the skies safe. Take Mark Bathrick, the Director of Aviation Services for the U.S. Department of the Interior, who oversees a fleet of over 200 drones in his work, but also faces serious challenges with rogue drones obstructing wildfire operations.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s take a closer look at this new tech.
The Navy’s Drone-Killing Laser
The Navy’s LaWS (Laser Weapons System) was developed by NASA, and is a fully operational laser being used for defense.
That statement alone makes it a somewhat surreal anti-drone tool. For years—for decades—we’ve heard talk about the potential to use lasers for defense.
Remember, for instance, Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars initiative, which proposed protecting the U.S. through a system of lasers that would destroy bombs before they could land? If you don’t know about it, that’s at least in part because the idea was completely impossible with the technology that existed at the time it was proposed.
But the LaWS is a real tool, and it definitely works. Check it out:
In the video above, the USS Ponce crew launched a drone to use as a test target. (Drones are increasingly being used as weapons in countries such as Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, among others.)
In an instant the drone catches fire from the invisible laser, which heats it to a temperature of thousands of degrees, sending it plummeting down to the ocean.
“We don’t worry about wind, we don’t worry about range, we don’t worry about anything else. We’re able to engage the targets at the speed of light.”
– Lt. Cale Hughes, Naval Laser Weapons System Officer
Although this laser is being called an anti-drone device, you can already see that there are many, many more possible uses for this weapon than just dealing with drones.
Sky Net Shotgun Shells
These standard-sized shotgun shells contain compressed nets and metal weights, which are designed to catch on a drones’ rotors and arrest them mid-flight.
According to a recent Wired article in which these shells were tested, their accuracy wasn’t that great. Although the idea sounds viable, it turns out the reality is far from perfect.
These shells also come with significant risks. Shrapnel from the shells can do real harm to bystanders, and a direct hit made by accident could kill you.
If you can’t afford a laser specially designed by NASA but you want something a step up from net bullets and net guns, the SparrowHawk is a good option.
The SparrowHawk also uses a net, but it’s approach for deploying the net is much more sophisticated and accurate than just shooting the net into the air.
The SparrowHawk is a DJI Matrice 600 retrofitted with a net that can be remotely controlled while the sUAS is in flight so that it can be dropped from a pole that hangs down from the drone.
The pilot console controls not only the drone, but also allows the pilot to unfurl, rotate, and drop the net. A parachute is attached to the net, so that once the rogue drone is captured it can be brought safely to the ground.
Be forewarned that the cost is actually higher than billed, since you have to buy or already own a DJI M600, which run about $5,000, in addition to the $11K you’ll spend on the SparrowHawk net system.
Unmanned Traffic Management Systems
What is a UTM?
Unmanned Traffic Management system, or UTM, is a phrase used to describe a sophisticated system that would be used to regulate and control drone air traffic. UTMs will help us stay safe as our skies get more and more heavily trafficked, and also serve to prevent rogue drones from taking down airplanes or posing other threats, like delivering bombs.
According to NASA: “the UTM system would enable safe and efficient low-altitude airspace operations by providing services such as airspace design, corridors, dynamic geofencing, severe weather and wind avoidance, congestion management, terrain avoidance, route planning and re-routing, separation management, sequencing and spacing, and contingency management.”
For several years now NASA has been working on the development of UTMs, which would ensure safe skies and pave the way for loosening Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) prohibitions. The thinking is that BVLOS will be safer with a UTM in place, since the skies will be more thoroughly regulated and controlled.
NASA first demonstrated rural operation of a UTM back in 2015, so we can only imagine that functioning UTMs from NASA will be a reality soon.
“UTM is designed to enable safe low-altitude civilian UAS operations by providing pilots information needed to maintain separation from other aircraft by reserving areas for specific routes, with consideration of restricted airspace and adverse weather conditions.”
– Parimal Kopardekar, Manager of NASA’s UTM Project
To back that idea up, it’s important to note that back in May Gryphon Sensors released Mobile Skylight, a UTM system with drone detecting sensors, at AUVSI XPONENTIAL.
The release wasn’t widely reported, but represented a big and exciting step forward for the realization of robust systems that can be used to control and regulate drones, and make our skies safer.
And for those looking to control rogue drones on a tight budget, all you need to do is sharpen up your spear-throwing abilities.
Check out this video of a drone taken down by a knight partaking in a historical re-enactment in Central Russia to get a first-hand lesson.
To help everyone get warmed up for the event, we created this list of 19 reasons to attend InterDrone this year.
Here they are!
1. It’s the World’s Biggest, Fastest Growing Drone Event
If you can only attend one drone event this year, InterDrone is the one to choose.
Back in March InterDrone was recognized by Trade Show Executive magazine as one of the “Fastest Fifty“—an elite list of the fastest growing tradeshows in the U.S.
In addition, InterDrone was one of only 14 companies recognized in three different categories:
Fastest Growth in Exhibit Space
Fastest Growth in Number of Exhibitors
Fastest Growth in Attendance
It’s important to note that the award was given based purely on the numbers. InterDrone killed it in 2016, with attendance up 26% and exhibit space up an impressive 48% from 2015, and a total draw of 3,518 attendees from 54 different countries on 6 continents, as well as 155 exhibitors and sponsors in 222 booths.
We can only expect 2017 to be even more epic than last year.
2. New Product Releases and Big Announcements
Given the huge size of InterDrone, it’s the venue many drone companies choose for unveiling their newest, most top secret technology and products.
By attending you’ll be the first to know what’s coming up next in the industry, and get a chance to see these new releases in person.
Last year at InterDrone the number of products launched at the conference tripled from the year before. Some highlights from the 42 releases that took place in 2016 were Hubsan’s launch of the Nano Q4 SE, the smallest drone ever; Skyward’s announcements about partnering with both DroneDeploy and PrecisionHawk; and Yuneec unveiling their Breeze drone.
Back in 2015, at the first InterDrone conference ever (yes, it’s grown incredibly quickly), Ehang launched their Ghost drone and Yuneec chose the venue to launch their Tornado H920 drone, among many other releases and announcements.
3. The Exhibition Hall
…is seriously mind blowing.
There are so many incredible companies exhibiting, and they all turn out big time to show the best of what they do.
For drone enthusiasts like us, just walking through the booths and seeing what’s on display is like being a kid in a candy store. The list of companies scheduled to exhibit this year is huge, and represents a who’s who of the drone industry.
The exhibit hall schedule for this year is:
• Wednesday, September 6, from 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm
• Thursday, September 7, from 10:30 am – 7:00 pm
• Friday, September 8, from 10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Here are some shots from us walking the exhibition hall last year:
In case you missed them, Colin Snow of Skylogic Research has been releasing white papers in partnership with InterDrone as we build up to the event, the most recent of which was created along with Christopher Korody of the Drone Business Center and—surprise, surprise—they’re both going to be at InterDrone!
The white papers have covered a range of topics related to commercial sUAS use:
Colin Snow will also be leading an after hours event on Wednesday, September 6 on how to build your drone business. (Scroll down to #17 to learn more.)
5. InterDrone Is a UAV Coach Media Partner
We’re honored and excited to be an ongoing media partner for InterDrone.
We don’t enter into partnerships like this lightly. If we decide to partner with an organization it means that we believe in their mission, and think that what they’re doing is, well, out of this world.
And it’s not just us. The list of media partners for InterDrone this year is massive, and the fact that so many reputable companies in the industry have signed on to spread the word about this event in and of itself points to its high quality.
6. Education: 100+ Speakers and Classes Offered
The list of speakers for InterDrone this year looks incredible. From AirMap to CNN to DJI, and a whole lot more, the list contains a plethora of topics from deeply knowledgeable members of the drone industry.
In addition, there are lots and lots of classes being offered, allowing you to use the event as an opportunity to grow your knowledge base while mingling with leaders in the industry.
7. Meet the UAV Coach team!
That’s right—we’ll be there live and in person, and we’re looking forward to meeting you!
Alan Perlman, our CEO & Founder; Lana Axelrod, our Chief Strategy Officer; Zacc Dukowitz, our Director of Marketing; and the newest member of our team, Mike McGuirt, our Customer Support Representative, will all be at InterDrone this year.
Alan, Lana, and Zacc at NYCDFF earlier this year
Mike, our newest team member
This will be Alan’s third time attending InterDrone, which means that he has attended every InterDrone conference since it began in 2015.
If you’re going to be there, make sure to chime in on this thread on UAV Coach’s community forum to let us know you’re coming.
Can’t wait to see you in Las Vegas!
8. Networking Opportunities Galore
Can you think of a better place to meet other folks working in the drone industry? Us neither.
Whether you’re looking for work, or just looking to connect and share your passion for UAVs, InterDrone is the place to be when it comes to networking in the drone industry.
Make sure to bring your business cards, because this is the place to meet the people you want to know.
9. Find Work and Learn How to Build Your Business
If you’re looking for work in the drone industry, make sure to bring your resume.
If you’re actively building a UAV business, make sure to check out the sessions ahead of time and make an itinerary for how you plan to spend your time so that you can get what you need out of the conference.
Last year we found some incredibly useful sessions on building a successful drones business, and this year is sure to be just as helpful when it comes to finding concrete advice and strategies.
10. Find Out What’s Coming Next on the Regulatory Scene
When it comes to drone regulations here in the U.S., it’s not an exaggeration to say that we are in the midst of a critical moment for the drone industry.
Enrico Schaefer is the founding attorney at Traverse Legal, PLC, is a UAS pilot and technology lawyer. Mr. Schaefer represents drone companies, UAS vendors, drone developers, and many others in the technology space across a wide range of issues.
Robert Dreer is the Assistant Chief UAS Instructor at Northwestern Michigan College, where he provides curriculum development, student instruction and mentorship for the UAS training program.
What you will learn:
Understanding Part 107 Regulations
Understanding and identifying the various classes of controlled, uncontrolled, and Special Use airspace
The process of obtaining permission (waivers) to operate in controlled airspace and conduct other non-standard operations
An understanding of how to read and interpret aeronautical chart symbology
Planning methods to translate a location on street/satellite maps into an aeronautical chart
Understanding of Aeronautical Decision Making and human factors affecting safe flight
Will Tompkinson has worked in the domain of 3D data capture for the purposes of metrology and geomatics application for over 15 years. Will has held various relevant roles, ranging from Research Scientist to Technical Consultant through to Global Sales Manager for organizations that include Ordnance Survey, Optech and Fugro,
Adam Boczek has led Sumac’s small, but highly effective Geomatics and GIS team as Manger since 2011. Adam works in information management, with a strong emphasis on the use of GIS and remote sensing in the forestry industry and natural resource management.
What you will learn:
What roles are needed on your team to deliver professional surveying and mapping services.
Learn about the types of project where a UAV surveying or mapping service is more likely to be successful, and the types of sensor payloads that are better suited for those projects.
The importance of survey control, and where there will be sources of error in the surveying and mapping procedures that you use.
The principal stages in a surveying and mapping workflow that are required to produce a successful deliverable for your client.
These intensive training sessions are priced at a reasonable $185, and look promising for those looking to beef up their skill sets in one of these three areas.
14. Three Tracks to Fit Your Needs
This year InterDrone attendees can choose from three different tracks, allowing them to attend the sessions most relevant to their interests.
The three tracks are:
Techcon—For Drone Builders, Engineers, OEMs and Developers
Content focuses on advanced flying dynamics, chips and boards, airframe and payload considerations, hardware/software integration, sensors, power and software development.
Enterprise—For Enterprise UAV Pilots, Operators and Drone Service Businesses
Classes focus on enterprise applications such as precision agriculture, surveying, mapping, infrastructure inspection, law enforcement, package delivery and search and rescue.
Cinema—For Pilots Engaged in Aerial Photography and Videography
Class content includes drone use for real estate and resort marketing, action sports and movie filming, newsgathering — any professional activity where the quality of the image is paramount.
15. The Enterprise Track
—gets its own # because it’s so impressive this year. If you wanted to show someone how far the drone industry has come, all you’d have to do is share the list of different enterprise tracks available at InterDrone in 2017.
Here’s a full list of the enterprise tracks that will be available at InterDrone this year:
Make sure to drop in to catch the entries from this year’s categories:
Cityscapes and Architecture
Real Estate & Resort Marketing
Industrial & Commercial Use
17. Attend the Women in Drones Panel & Luncheon
InterDrone first pioneered the Women in Drones Luncheon in September 2015, which led to many similar gatherings at other events.
The first Women in Drones Luncheon drew 64 women, and the second in 2016 nearly tripled in attendance, to 180. The third one promises to be even bigger, and packed with the opportunity to connect with women working to push the drone industry forward.
The level of commitment to collaboration and encouragement to support one another was amazing!
In addition to the daily events, there are four special “after hours” events taking place the first day of the conference on September 6, from 7:15-8:30pm (the only bad thing is you have to choose just one!).
The tiny RacerX drone was clocked last week at a mind blowing 179.6 miles an hour. The drone weighs less than two pounds and its flight along a 100-meter course was officially observed and certified by the Guinness World Records.
For the coolness factor—not to mention the “how incredibly hard this must have been to pull off” factor—it’s important to note that earlier prototypes of the drone had burst into flames when hitting its highest point of acceleration, due to the amount of power being applied.
“The record-setting RacerX represents the culmination of years of technological innovation by our team of world class engineers, and we’re very excited to unveil the fastest racing drone on earth.”
– Nicholas Horbaczewski, DRL CEO and Founder
To set the record the DRL team needed to fly the RacerX back and forth across a course of 100 meters (328 feet), with the official record set as the average of the top speed achieved on each of those flights.
This means that although the RacerX achieved a speed of 179.6 mph, the official record is for an average of its speeds over the course, which is 163.5 mph (which still, as an engineer might say, super duper fast).
Here are some additional details and specs for the RacerX:
800 grams / 1.76 pounds
10S (42V) Powertrain
BeeRotor 80A (10S) ESCs / BLHeli with Multishot
TMotor F80 2407 2500kv
1300mah 2 x 5S R-Line Tattu Lithium Polymer Batteries
Creating Tech that Changes the Industry: A Daily Activity at DRL
In a recent interview we did with Nicholas Horbaczewski, the CEO and Founder of the Drone Racing League, he explained that most of the technology needed to grow FPV racing into a mainstream sport literally didn’t exist when they began creating DRL a few years ago.
At the time, back in 2015, drone racing had achieved a great deal of underground popularity, but was held back from growing further by technological limitations.
Which is why Horbaczewski says that DRL is first and foremost a technology company, because, to build the league into what it is today, they had to build the technology to make it possible.
“We change the technology on the drones between every single race, and every time we change the tech it creates possibilities we’ve never seen before.”
– Nicholas Horbaczewski, DRL CEO and Founder
Here are a few examples of innovations and improvements DRL has come up with—in addition to building the world’s fastest drone—that have helped push FPV racing and the drone industry forward.
We were fascinated to hear about the improvements DRL has made in radio systems during our interview with Horbaczewski.
Not too long ago, radio systems for flying FPV drones were so limited that you simply could not do what is being done today in terms of audience sizes at events, and having several pilots flying simultaneously through complex courses.
As an example, Horbaczewski pointed to a recent DRL race in the Alexander Palace. 2,000 people were in attendance to watch the race, and six pilots flew through a complex course that involved multiple rooms, with drones flying in some cases up to just a kilometer away from the pilots.
This kind of complicated operation would have been been impossible not too long ago, because it used to be the case that having too many people near the radios interfered with the signal, and could take down the entire radio system.
People take this new technology for granted, but if DRL hadn’t invented it we literally could not have FPV racing on the scale we now do.
One of the innovations DRL, among others, has pushed forward is mainstreaming FPV racing on the consumer side, partnering with manufacturers to provide beginner FPV drones at an affordable price so that fans can also become pilots, without breaking the bank.
Although Horbaczewski told us that DRL isn’t aggressively investigating alternatives to existing Lipo battery technology—which is what will probably be needed for us to find a significant extension to battery life—they have found ways to extend battery life considerably within the confines of existing technology.
Some of these innovations involve improving power extensions on board, and also working on making drones more aerodynamic to cut down on drag, thus optimizing the lifespan of the battery.
Some additional innovations made in the Racer 3, featured above, were to improve the onboard avionics, which allows it to fly with incredible precision, and to improve ESC technology so that more power can be driven through the power train more reliably.
Although these innovations are being made in the realm of sport, they have real-life implications for those using drones in commercial applications such as search & rescue, inspections, and aerial cinematography.
In case you didn’t already know, DRL’s 2017 season is in full season, and it is incredible. Learn more about where to watch—the next race is coming up soon on Wednesday night, 7/19, at 7pm EST in Munich.
Recently we had the opportunity to interview Sharon Rossmark, the founder and CEO of Women And Drones. If you haven’t heard of W&D, they’re doing some really inspiring work in the industry to support women who are leading the charge forward, providing networking opportunities and a platform for women to tell their stories.
About Women And Drones
Women And Drones was created to help raise the profile of women in the UAS industry.
“We come from different backgrounds. Our common bond is that we all have a thing for drones. We knew there were more of you out there so we set up this meeting place. We feature stories about women from around the world who are doing exciting things in the UAS Industry.”
Check out the stories section of their website to read inspiring accounts of women who are working to transform the drone industry.
About Sharon Rossmark
Sharon Rossmark is an FAA certified drone pilot and the founder and CEO of Women And Drones.
In addition to her work with W&D, for the last few years Sharon has served as the COO for Aerovista Innovations, a UAV firm that provides aerial mapping and imagery solutions (and a UAV Coach partner for our Intro to Aerial Thermography course).
Prior to her work in the UAS industry Sharon had an extensive and successful career in other business sectors, primarily in insurance and finance.
UAV Coach: Please describe what Women And Drones does in one short sentence.
Sharon Rossmark: The primary mission of Women And Drones (W&D) is to share positive images of women in the industry, inspiring others, and highlighting those already making major contributions to the emerging drone economy around the world.
UAV Coach: Fill us in on the history of W&D. What first led to its creation, and how has it changed since then?
Sharon Rossmark: The idea for W&D came to me in July of 2016.
I was completing forms for an upcoming industry panel and realized I did not know any of the other women on the panel. As I searched online for information about the other panelists, little to no information was available about their experience in the UAS industry. I thought it would be great to have a community for women to connect, inspire, and encourage one another. Thus the launch of Women And Drones.
Our multimedia platform features online and audio podcast interviews and will soon feature videocasts. Shortly after our launch, the audience and interview subjects expanded beyond women in the United States to women around the globe. We have featured women in the industry who live in Australia, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.
We recently launched a partnership with Women in Aviation International (WAI.org). The Women And Drones network can join WAI at a discounted rate, receive full membership benefits, and become part of the WAI sisterhood.
WAI and W&D are both global organizations, and the opportunity to participate in local and regional WAI events exposes the W&D community to the broader aviation arena.
UAV Coach: It seems like your work with W&D touches almost all aspects of the drone industry. What are your favorite parts of the work you do, and why?
Sharon Rossmark: What I enjoy about working in an emerging industry are that the challenges and the unknowns combine to make each day interesting.
I would categorize my favorite parts into several areas. I love the strategic and creative development process of taking an idea from concept to the marketplace. And, I love the connectivity with the aviation and robotics communities. My passion is driven by working as a change agent to educate the public about the capabilities of drones and being an ambassador encouraging more women to join us in this evolving industry.
UAV Coach: You’ve been active in the business world for quite a while. What drew you to working with drones specifically?
Sharon Rossmark: Having worked the majority of my career in insurance and financial services, the opportunity to apply my executive and business experience in a completely “blue sky” arena was intriguing.
I am fascinated by the potential of the “flying robot” technology and the possible applications for so many industries. I’ve always loved aviation, but education and life took me in a different direction for the first part of my career. Now, in the second act of my life, it’s great to take on the challenge of a new journey.
UAV Coach: What drone(s) do you fly and what camera(s) do you use?
Sharon Rossmark: Right now my drone of choice is the DJI Mavic Pro. I love the compact design with the collapsible rotor arms, which makes portability easy. I carry the DJI Mavic Pro just about everywhere I go, just in case there’s an opportunity to fly.
UAV Coach: We love that the W&D website has a STEM/STEAM section section [STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; STEAM adds Art to the other four disciplines]. Can you tell us more about the work you do to support young women in learning these skills, and why you think it’s important?
Sharon Rossmark: While the primary focus of the site promotes success stories and images of women in our industry, it is also about putting an emphasis on STEM and digital literacy in education.
The STEM/STEAM initiative came about at the request of the Women And Drones community. We started receiving inquiries to feature STEM/STEAM programs for girls. Our partnership with Women In Aviation International will help further our efforts through their Girls In Aviation programming.
Many in the Women And Drones community will participate in the various Girls In Aviation activities being held around the globe on September 23, 2017. Our work in this arena is growing as we continue to receive requests to participate in drone educational events.
We know that the career pipeline starts as early as elementary school, therefore, collectively, we must focus on encouraging our youth, especially young girls to develop an interest in STEM. Our efforts at W&D are aligned to support the pipeline to develop and encourage young women to pursue STEM/STEAM fields.
UAV Coach: You must have heard some inspiring stories through your work at W&D. Can you share one of your favorites?
Sharon Rossmark: Picking one would be like picking which child is your favorite.
What resonates with our audience are the incredible insights shared within each woman’s journey. My favorite part of sharing each story is the feedback we receive about how a story has encouraged someone to stay the course or broaden their efforts.
The global aspect of our reach has become a conduit for women to connect with others in a different part of the world who they would not have otherwise met. We also hear from men who are thrilled to have positive role models of women within the industry to share with their daughters.
UAV Coach: What excites you most about the potential for women in the industry? This year you launched the “Women To Watch In UAS” initiative. What was the impetus for the initiative and when will the winners be announced?
Sharon Rossmark: Shortly after launching Women And Drones we started receiving feedback about how reading another woman’s story was inspiring others to find their own way.
The more emails we received the more we knew the site was striking all the right chords with our audience. The “Women To Watch” global initiative came about as a way to further our mission of identifying women in the industry who are making an impact.
The recognition is designed to acknowledge and motivate women who are driving change. The selection committee is wrapping up their votes and finalists in each category will be announced in September. The winners will be featured on WomenAndDrones.com and Drone360mag.com and in the September/October print issue of Drone 360 Magazine.
UAV Coach: What are your predictions for the drone industry? Please feel free to answer at length (what you see way down the road, what you see for next year, where you see regulations headed in the U.S. and/or elsewhere, new applications, etc.).
Sharon Rossmark: I’ll offer three that may not be on the usual list of industry predictions:
To further develop the UAS industry: Women will become a major part of the UAS ecosystem, changing the paradigm about women in pilot and leadership roles!
In the near future: As the drone market matures, for companies with drone operations, risk management practices will take on a more prominent role within their organizations. Demonstration of an investment in safety management procedures will be critical to the financial well-being of a company
Down the road: Flying to work in an autonomous passenger drone will become a reality by 2030.
Want to learn more about women working with drones? Check out this video W&D created, showcasing nine women who are making a big impact in the drone industry: