The Future of Drones: ILA Berlin 2018

Multicopter flying over Berlin Cityscape

Last week, on the 26th of April 2018, I attended the ILA Berlin Airshow because it offered several events on drones. I went primarily for the session entitled “The Future of Drones” because we still don’t know what this future looks like. Drones have not yet reached their full technological potential and I wanted to see what commercial use cases were being explored in the session. Unfortunately, it was cancelled. However a few other sessions proved very interesting, in particular the panels “Counter UAS” and “The Integration of Drones into Existing Airspace”. The session on Counter UAS demonstrated that drone defence is now a serious business case for quite a number of companies. Commercial drone use and drone defence are both recognised sectors of a growing industry. The session on the integration of drones into existing airspace highlighted that there is still some way to go until commercial drones will rise to their full potential in urban areas. There is currently no air traffic management for commercial drones, and the timeline for U-Space is very short. The EU is about to claim the legislative competence for drones with a take-off-weight of less than 150kgs. Accordingly, there will not be much left for the national regulators to manage. The Dronemasters Meetup was also a highlight. There were a few presenters here and they showcased various commercial use cases in an informal, relaxed environment – quite a nice way to finish off the day.

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