Santa Cruz, 1st May 2015–The Drone Data X Conference is an event taking place where some of the best minds in UAV technology can meet and share ideas, as well as enjoy Kite surfing,Mountain Biking, and Surfing in Beautiful Santa Cruz, California.
Unlike a traditional conference, the speakers, investors and CEOs will enjoy a weekend together to discuss strategy, learn from each other and build relationships.The highlight of the visit will be a day long conference in the Kaiser Permanent Area, exploring future opportunities associated with design, testing, manufacturing and construction of leading technology sectors. The focus for this conference will be on ‘The Drone Conference where you do Kite surfing, Mountain Biking, and Surfing.The Drone Data X Conference is an event taking place where some of the best minds in UAV technology can meet and share ideas, as well as enjoy Kite surfing,Mountain Biking, and Surfing in Beautiful Santa Cruz, California a traditional conference, the speakers, investors and CEOs will enjoy a weekend together to discuss strategy, learn from each other and build relationships.
The highlight of the visit will be a day long conference in the Kaiser Permanent Area, exploring future opportunities associated with design, testing, manufacturing and construction of leading technology sectors. The focus for this conference will be on ‘Drones and Data’.
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After the closing school bell at Choctawhatchee High School rings, the track team whizzes by the field. Overhead, something’s whirring.
It’s a drone, and it’s being operated by someone like 16-year-old sophomore Dharbi Jens or 17-year-old senior Jojo Parrett.
“My friends on the track team run by and see us flying and say, ‘wow, can I give it a go?’”, Jens said. “I think they’re pretty jealous.”Photo courtesy of Sean McSheehy
It’s something any adult who has a drone now would be jealous of: Choctawhatchee High School has its own drone team called Drone Team Pink.
The high school is one of a handful in the nation that offers private pilot training, engineering, and aviation legislation and regulation.
The group is led by Sean McSheehy, who teaches an Intro to Aviation course for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide at the Fort Walton, Florida high school, which allows high school students to get college credit. Drone Team Pink meets for about two hours once a week and is specifically focused on getting young women involved in STEM education while providing opportunities for students of all levels to fly drones.
“Women aren’t really represented in the STEM field,” Jens said. “We had a 3D printer in our school, and it’s just so fun flying drones.”
Some of the students were involved in 3D printing process, and they fly drones down at the soccer field with McSheehy.
“He shows us different techniques, how to change batteries,” Jens said. “It’s a lot of hands-on work.”
Senior Dana Heintzelman, 18, was involved in the 3D printing process.
“In our engineering department, we have 3D printers. You need to have a model and all the dimensions of what you’re trying to print,” she said. “A prop guard for DJI took about 2.5 hours.”
Oh, and the prop guards were made using pink filament.
Drone Team Pink! #fpv Our girls team have a build coming! pic.twitter.com/rX81ULDpch
— Sean Dale (@usdroneteam) January 22, 2015
“Even if you don’t want to go into aviation or engineering, it’s important to learn,” Heintzelman said.
That goes for Heintzelman as well. Her goal is to be a doctor or researcher. But for her, learning how to 3D print pieces of drones is an invaluable step ahead when it comes to achieving her goals in medicine.
“People are 3D printing things like organs,” she said. “It’s cool that I get to start working on a 3D printer now.
For Parrett, flying drones professional isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
“I never imagined this as a potential job when I was a kid,” she said.
Jens doesn’t see herself as an engineer, but rather in a communication field, such as journalism, but she comes from a long line of aviation family history.
“My grandpa was an airplane engineer and my dad works on an air force base,” she said. “It’s embedded in me.”
Jens says she plans to use a drone in her future career, and has already used a drone to get footage for journalism projects.Photo courtesy of
“It’s like the Wild West,” McSheehy said. “These girls are coming back to me with ideas for things they’ve researched that they want to use a drone for.”
The group has big plans, with competitions and a possible trip to visit Google in the works.
“It’gs going to be busy,” Jens said.
Parrett says she hopes groups like this will encourage more young women to get into STEM fields, noting that being a part of Drone Team Pink has made her more comfortable with all fields of sciences and technology.
“Girls, we are totally capable of anything,” she said. “If I can get a drone up in the air, I can get through Algebra II.”
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Big kudos to Duran and team from the small picturesque tourist town of Knysna
Magic place to setup a drone company
Source :http://www.knysnaplettherald.com/news/News/General/129943/Knysnas-drones-fly-highFor most successful business owners the sky is the limit, but for Knysna’s ace drone developer and manufacturer Duran de Villiers, it has become his playground. And the founder of SteadiDrone’s passion for his trade has not gone unnoticed as he recently made the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30: Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs list, which recognises the continent’s top young businessmen and –women who are set to become future business leaders. This just more than two years after establishing the company. “It is has been an honour and humbling experience to have won various awards over the last two years, the latest being named one of the Forbes 30 most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa this year – to be among 29 other amazing young people who are doing amazing things. I really believe it's simply a mindset: doing instead of thinking. There are many problems out there to be solved, one just needs to get stuck in, and one thing leads to the next," De Villiers said. SteadiDrone designs, develops, manufactures and exports small, unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones. These are used for various applications including search and rescue, feature film-making, aerial photography and videography, mapping and even agriculture.
“Our products can fly various cameras and payloads from 200g up to 8kg. Our systems include full GPS flight controllers, autonomous flight and missions, stabilised camera gimbals and advanced multi-rotor drones.”SteadiDrone currently manufactures three models, including a small unit, the FLARE, aimed at flying small action cameras. They also produce a medium drone, the MAVRIK, for larger and more advanced cameras and then a large drone, the X, for long endurance flights and delivering payloads of up to 8kg. The locally produced products is also very competitive on the global market due to several features, including its 'rapid deploy airframe design' which is foldable and allows the drone’s owner to 'fold' the device for easy transportation. “They are also fully ready to fly with everything needed to get off the ground. We have a very unique look and design and our systems are of a very high quality.” All the research, development, testing, manufacturing and marketing are done locally and products are distributed worldwide. The establishment of SteadiDrone did not happen overnight and was built on the foundation of his previous business, Motion Pixel – a media productions company. “With our media production company I saw the need and potential in offering our clients aerial media that simply was not possible and available with traditional equipment. There was a need for capturing aerial images at a fraction of the cost and many times faster and more effectively than the full-scale aircraft alternative. After building our very first drone, I just fell in love with the technology and again saw the potential for manufacturing instead of simply offering the service. We quickly transformed our media production company into an international drone manufacturer and two years on we are one of the leading companies in the industry.” De Villiers, who grew up in Knysna and matriculated from Knysna High School, did not think twice about establishing SteadiDrone’s headquarters in his hometown. “People seem to think Knysna is a tourism town when in fact it was and should be a manufacturing town, a hub of excellent local pioneers selling abroad and bringing money into town, creating employment for locals and actually making a difference. It's easy to make an impact via media and the news, but we need more deep-rooted, growing businesses in town, not necessarily more tourists.” Over the last two years, the business also expanded rapidly due to the booming international drone industry. “We were fortunate to get involved when we did. We've gone from three staff members to 12, from working in a small studio to a large 800m² workshop. Not much has changed in terms of how we run the business, simply improving our products and marketing.” And he attributes his success to, among other factors, the realisation that hard work pays off. “I think everyone wishes and hopes to do well but very few actually ever do, and again, I think it's a mindset. I've realised early on that if I don't push hard, work hard, put in the late nights, effort and time - something no one ever sees - it won’t happen. If I don’t make it happen it simply won’t. I don’t want to be just another number, I'd like to make some form of impact and I think that is the kind of thinking that has brought us here – along with God's grace and blessings.” He added another key ingredient in his recipe for success was good support. “The first ingredient is the best wife anyone could ever ask for, Alexa. April marks our 10th wedding anniversary and everything I do is because of her and her support. She is very much a part of this, often more than I am, and I think it's the key to our success thus far, nothing beats a good team and passion. Great staff are vital - having a core team that you can trust and depend on - and then pure and simple hard work.”
De Villiers is no stranger to awards and in he 2009 won a Sony Professional Photographers of South Africa gold award and in 2013 received a Step-Up Technology Innovation Award. Last year he also made the Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans list and won a Sanlam Outstanding Achievement Award.“It is really awesome to receive this recognition as it really pushes us to do more and go further.” ARTICLE: YOLANDE STANDER 'We bring you the latest Knysna, Garden Route news'