Digitalization, 3D-printing aircraft parts and for the first time, commercial UAVs were in the focus of discussion panels and visitors.
The ILA Berlin Air Show was hosted by the Berlin Airport and counted more than 1000 exhibitors from 37 countries. Drone Industry Insights presented UAV business solutions at their booth and participate in two panel discussions. The main takeaways were:
1.) UAV platforms lost their lighthouse* image
We recognized a strong increase in diversity across all sectors ranging from hardware (VTOL, HALE, hybrid platforms, autopilots, batteries, etc.), software (ATC, ATM, UTM software) to operation and service provider (UAV engineering).
[* This is translated from German – it is unclear to me what the reference to lighthouse means in this case.]
2.) Multirotor battery-powered platforms are overhyped
Many exhibitors presented alternative solutions to the commonly known multirotor battery-powered platforms. These platforms are mainly hybrid UAVs (VTOL fixed-wing) – some of them equipped with hybrid energy sources like solar/battery or battery/gas.
3.) There is a stronger political awareness
On several UAV conferences, representatives of the German government announced the publication of a risk-oriented proposal for national UAV operation regulation. The legislation is being drafted for commercial and private drone use.
4.) High demand for UAV use-case assessment
The market is still hardware driven, but it requires business excellence to configure an UAS for highly efficient operation. During panel discussions it was stated that this new industry offers many advantages, quantitative analysis of efficiency however is hardly available.
5.) Network, Network, Network
UAV companies spring up like mushrooms, but quickly face hard challenges. Networks and cluster-organizations need to provide better growth opportunities for startups.