June 14, 2022

At this months Meet Up, we had an update and overview on current and future drone/unmanned aerial vehicle technology and projects happening right here in New Zealand!

A special thank you to our Event Sponsor Bank of New Zealand!

Growing New Zealand’s Prosperity By Accelerating Safe Growth For Companies
Brandon Jackson, General Manager Sectors, Bank of New Zealand
Bank of New Zealand’s Growth Sectors team ambition is to grow New Zealand’s prosperity by growing New Zealand’s businesses and business people. Seeking to accelerate safe growth for companies and sunrise high-productivity industries by bringing BNZ’s support in the form of capital and expert connections as early as possible. We heard from Brandon Jackson, General Manager Growth Sectors at BNZ, who leads a small team of specialist bankers focused on growing traditional SME business, newer industries such as Tech, Health, Aerospace, and increasing capability in bankers and their customers. Brandon is passionate about and ambitious for New Zealand’s opportunities in the world, and excited about the role BNZ’s Growth Sectors can play in achieving them.

Taking The Pilot Out Of The Sky
Sam Vye, Co-Founder – Syos Aerospace
Syos is on a mission to disrupt the $48bn global helicopter industry for commercial operations, targeting agriculture, forestry and heavy cargo logistics. With 200kg payload, 2 hour flight endurance and over 200km range, the Syos UAV is a true work-horse of the sky for aerial missions. Sam talked about our UAV development in Tauranga, our future pathway, and our past history of developing heavy-lift UAV for conservation.

The Airspace Integration Trial Programme
Tim Boyle, Program Manager – Airspace Integration Trials, MBIE
The Airspace Integration Trials programme was established to facilitate the safe testing, development and market validation of advanced uncrewed aircraft, and accelerate their integration into our aviation system. It builds on the potential for innovation under New Zealand’s current Civil Aviation Rules, providing a mechanism for the government to work with leading, and innovative domestic and international industry partners. Tim provided an update on the successes of the programme so far, and the challenges that lie ahead.

Autonomous Drones In Agriculture
Scott Spooner, Chief Technology Officer, SPS Automation (Aeronavics Limited New Zealand )
SPS Automation and Aeronavics are bringing the benefits of autonomous drone systems to the agriculture sector. From multiple spray aircraft for controlling sparsely infested wilding pine areas to fully automated, task management drones sitting in hangers on farms. Uncrewed aerial vehicles are the step-change in farm productivity, precision agriculture and invasive plant control. Scott gave an overview of the technology and beyond visual line of sight operations.

From First Responders To Biosecurity
Dr Adriel Kind, Senior Research Engineer, University of Canterbury
The Wireless Research Centre (WRC) team: WRC will share some of its recent “Drones to the rescue” research activities. University of Canterbury’s (UC) drone lab is headed by the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department (CSSE) and WRC, with support from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE). UC’s Drone Lab conducts research with a number of other departments at UC, such as Forestry, and collaborates with national and international groups.