InterDrone, the International Drone Conference in Las Vegas, (Sept. 9-11, revealed the passion, problems and potential of this new technology and movement.
I’m calling drones a movement and not just a technology because a new video chip with enhanced refresh rates, say, is a new technology, but no one gets that excited. Drones, on the other hand, bring out positive and negative feelings as classic breakthroughs such as automobiles, flight, and nuclear power do.
The passion and potential were obvious, but some of the problems I uncovered were revealed unintentionally.
The passion started early with a presentation by Romeo Durscher, Director of Education for DJI, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of drones. Durscher, who worked in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) training for NASA for 13 years, called his presentation “2015: Year of the Drone.” He presented a history of aerial photography leading up to drones. He then visited an episode of the TV cartoon The Jetsons in which the Jetsons are ordering a pizza to be delivered by air. He then showed a drone making such a delivery today. The Jetsons’ maid Rosie, Durscher said, was the Roomba. His conclusion: The future is here. And he argued that this is the year that the public’s negative image of drones will start to tun around.
3D Robotics and founder of amateur drone operator community
DIY Drones, emphasized that these are not the drones flying in your neighborhood.
Anderson, the author of three New York Times bestsellers, continued to stoke the passion in the opening keynote as he proclaimed that we are at a unique moment in history. “This is big,” he said, “and it reminds me of the birth of the Internet in 1972. At first it grew slowly, but by 1995, you could sit down at dinner and think of ‘an industry + internet’ and imagine how they would interconnect. Now, we should say, ‘industry + drone’ and imagine how can we make it work. That’s where we are now.”
Then he revealed one of the problems.