Panel Discussion - Drones: racing, startups and R&D

2:00pm - 3:30pm 23rd August 2015
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It wasn't so long ago that flying robots were the stuff of science fiction. Now we can see that UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), also known as drones, are reshaping our world. While drones are changing the face of military operations, this has perhaps overshadowed the significant applications for agriculture, mining and resources, emergency services, building and construction, creative industries and sport.

Brisbane is home to key areas of this developing sector, from the R&D conducted by QUT's Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA), to UAS Pacific – applying 30+ years' Airline Industry experience to the provision of Australia's leading commercial drone services, and now also the emerging sport of first-person view (FPV) drone racing. The sport involves small, custom-built drones with attached cameras that broadcast video feeds to specially-designed goggles that allow pilots to see what the drones see. Recently, the first US National Drone Racing Championships were held in California, where Brisbane local Chad Nowak took home the crown, beating a field of 120 contestants.

Our expert panel will talk about their vision of the future for this rapidly evolving technology driven by DIY hobbyists, startups and university research centers. Chad Nowak and fellow contestant Mark Cocquio will speak about their success in the competition, and the emerging sport of drone racing. ARCAA Director, Professor Duncan Campbell will speak about the success of the international UAV challenge, driving innovation in the sector, and the theme for the 2016 UAV Challenge Medical Express. Director of UAS Pacific Geoff Barker will speak about the business opportunities derived from this new technology and compliance with regulations that govern the commercial operation of drones.