Berlin AIrShow

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.

This report from the Berlin Air Show is from the good folks at who do a lot of interesting industry analysis like ranking the Top 20 Drone Companies.
A few reactions.
2) Multi-rotor is overhyped. Pretty clear that the focus here is the ability to do useful work – as opposed to consumer camera work. Equally clear that in a lot of cases, fixed wings are simply more efficient.
3) No doubt political awareness has been increasing since the Riga Declaration identified five regulatory principles in March 2015. A risk-based model is consistent with the approach advocated by many in the industry. There is nothing in this article that talks about how German and the recently proposed EASA standards will mesh.
One article noted that “Member states may not welcome the EU intrusion, with some wanting privacy and security concerns dealt with nationally instead. At least 11 EU countries have enacted legislation on drones and more are drafting it.” (May 2015)
British barrister Peter Lee wrote that “the whole [EASA] concept is quite groundbreaking in breadth and scope.”
4) ROI, ROI, ROI. No surprise that this is the big one for enterprise adoption anywhere in the world. Interesting to see that despite the EU’s supposed head start this is a major theme. I thought that Jonathan Edwards recent interview addressed this very well.


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