Future drone aviation debated at International Drone Show 

More than 500 visitors from across the world gathered at the International Drone Show in Denmark yesterday to showcase technologies, meet new partners and track latest drone developments. The biggest event of its kind in Northern Europe, the event sparked key conversations about challenges and opportunities for drone deployment.

With more than 60 influential speakers across five panel debates and conference tracks, including big names within drone delivery and high-profile speakers from Danish defence, the event addressed top-of-mind questions such as: How are drones used in today’s modern conflict situations? And how can drones be used for protection of critical infrastructure?

“The International Drone Show 2024 has advanced conversations about how we can deploy drone technologies in many more settings than we do today,” says Søren Elmer Kristensen, CEO of Odense Robotics, which arranges the annual event at HCA Airport together with UAS Denmark Test Center.

“Many different stakeholders are needed to collaborate to enable unmanned aircraft to share airspace in a way that is safe and sustainable. This event is about showcasing the strong potential of drones – and building partnerships across the ecosystem. We’re privileged to have such a strong drone community in Denmark and leading drone test facilities, so we are pleased to have brought so many drone stakeholders together here once again.”

Conference highlights

The opening keynote from Drone Industry Insights tracked trends in the drone market, highlighting new figures showing that drone companies in the Nordic countries are more optimistic than the global average with a score of 7.1 compared to 6.6.

Defence was a key topic, with high-profile speakers from Danish defence and academia exploring the role of unmanned vehicles on the battlefield, the use of commercial off-the-shelf products in a military context, complying with NATO standards and the future of armed conflict. Danish drone companies showed keen interest in workshops with the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation on drone procurement.

“Best-practice use cases from the U.S., Europe and the Artic highlighted how drones can be adopted as a resource-effective tool for infrastructure inspection, drone delivery, disaster management, environmental monitoring and healthcare logistics. A key takeaway was the indispensable role of public-private partnerships in propelling the sUAS/AAM industry forward,” says Søren Elmer Kristensen.

Drone legislation and operational safety was also a pivotal theme. Danish drone companies showed considerable interest in updates from the Danish Civil Aviation Authority on Denmark’s upcoming drone strategy, while several other talks highlighted ways to overcome challenges in airspace integration and flight testing.

See drones before investing

Live flight demos and an exhibition provided valuable insights. Nordic Wing showcased their latest Astero ISR 2.5 and their Raptor system; UMS Skeldar showcased their V-200 platform supporting tactical operations for surveillance, emergency response, security and defence; and Drone Volt also conducted a demo flight of their LineDrone.

“Seeing drones and software in action before you invest provides valuable insights into system capabilities. That’s why the International Drone Show enables visitors to see and compare solutions in live outdoor flights. Leading vendors demonstrated a wide range of drone applications and drone experts were on hand to field questions from the audience,” says Michael Larsen, Head of UAS Denmark Test Center, which offers BVLOS flights, a C-UAS centre, R&D facilities, a business park and 1,900 square kilometre airspace over land and sea.

Enthusiastic attendees

“The International Drone Show is a unique opportunity to meet people from the drone industry; to meet researchers and other stakeholders, e.g. end users, and discuss how we can get the optimum use of drone technology for the good of society,” says Michael Linden-Vørnle, Chief Advisor at DTU Space, one of the many panelists at the event.

International guests were also enthusiastic about the show. Peter McCurry, Managing Director at Flowcopter from the U.K., said:  “The International Drone Show is fantastic for increasing our profile in the drone world. It’s absolutely incredible to have so many people here with advanced developed systems that you can interact with directly, and be able to talk to potential customers and experts in the field.”

This year’s media partners were Unmanned Systems Technology and eVTOL Insights.

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