The 22nd November saw the second Civic Drone Centre Drone Industry Networking event – building on the first networking event back in June only this time bigger and better – partnering with the North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA), an organisation which promotes and supports the aerospace industry and its supply chain in the North West of England. A wide range of companies in the UK’s drone ecosystem attended – including established drone cinematography and photography companies, those just starting to work with drones, academics and manufacturers.
As part of the Civic Drone Centre’s remit to foster the burgeoning unmanned aviation industry and work with those embarking on civilian drone projects and applications these networking events form a crucial part the centre’s work. It allows people and companies to engage with the university, and the support and opportunities it can offer, as well as connecting businesses together. The events also feed into the University of Central Lancashire’s role as a Northern Powerhouse partner and have a greater importance as the ground is broken on the new Engineering Innovation Center building (one of UCLan’s research centre’s involved in the Civic Drone Center).
Breaking up the evening of casual drone conversation and networking were two presentations, one from industry and one from academia. The first presentation was from Autonomous Technologies Limited‘s Nick Gillett talking about their Hoversafe project. Hoversafe is a NATEP (National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme) funded project that is “designing and building of a reliable, inexpensive UAS that anyone can fly safely”. NATEP funding is aimed at small & medium sized enterprises to collaborate on innovative products and technologies to increase their capabilities and win new business. The funding has allowed them and their partners to develop Hoversafe a small, safe, tethered drone UAV with a unique – patent pending – airframe.
The second presentation of the night was from Dr Darren Ansell, Space and Aerospace Lead at UCLan, talking about the overall aims of the Civic Drone Centre and some of the centre’s recent projects – flights in Scotland to support research into ancient agriculture techniques, the flight of Prospero at Farnborough International Airshow – UCLan’s graphene materials demonstrator UAV, and mapping minefields in Cambodia.
Professor Paul Egglestone commented on the event saying:
Getting people together to share their knowledge and ideas has always been a key purpose of the Civic Drone Centre. These regular networking sessions have proved to be a great way to connect with likeminded people and learn from one another. They’re also proving themselves as a bit of a platform for people developing new technologies and applications for UAV’s – which they’ve been happy to talk about and demo. I can only see this growing as people get to know about it
Plans are already in place for the centre’s next networking event in the new year with dates pencilled in for February 2017 – keep an eye on our site or Twitter for more information or if you would like to be involved send us and email – CivicDroneCentre@uclan.ac.uk .