photo RISE main stage
RISE main stage


“Drones right now are not so smart, but give it five years, technology will improve and regulations will get better.”

At RISE, Asia’s biggest tech conference, Day One was largely dominated by talk of drones and the future of the fledgling industry. Michael Perry, Director of Strategic Partnerships at DJI, spoke on the importance of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) safety and the future applications of drones throughout a number
of industries.

Drone regulation, Perry pointed out, is at an early stage, but adhering to the laws and requirements of each region where DJI products are sold will be integral to securing the high ground in each and every emerging market.

Keen to stress that this is already an incredibly safe platform, Perry pointed out that although the failure rate for manned aviation is usually around one catastrophic event for every 100,000 hours flown, drones have trended below that, making them one of the safest aerial vehicles ever created. “We think a risk-based approach is how the regulatory framework will evolve over time,” he concluded.

Junyang Woon, CEO of Infinium Robotics, spoke of the enormous capabilities of drones and admitted that although there are inherent weaknesses n drones become more robust, flexible and safe in years to come. In particular, the limitations of UAVs in bad weather conditions or in confined locations were highlighted, but Woon appeared confident that innovation will resolve these issues as the industry scales. He believes that although steps are being taken to improve safety and regulation, ultimately governments and drone manufacturers will likely have to partner together to develop and implement robust regulations for consumer UAVs.

Derrick Xiong of Ehang and Antoine Balaresque of Lily Robotics, both observed that the industry still has a long way to go, but that rapidly-developing technology would make regulation easier. Xiong observed that “Drones right now are not so smart, but give it five years, technology will improve and regulations will
get better.”

One thing is certain, the drone industry, both commercial and consumer, will continue its ascent. Regulation of such a huge and unwieldy industry will be an immense challenge. Governments and legislating bodies in turn, will need to stay sharp and act fast in order to stay ahead of this curve.

Now having completed its second year, RISE is billed as Asia’s fastest growing startup event. I included this story because here in the US we rarely hear about what is going on “over there.” While not surprising, it is interesting to see the reliance put on technology to solve regulatory issues.


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