Can you tell us what the project is about and how the idea of using drones to fill potholes in the UK came about?

This project aims to tackle the Grand Challenge of Zero disruption from street works in UK cities by 2050, by developing robots that will identify, diagnose and repair street-works through minimally invasive techniques, starting with three case studies:

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We caught up with Dan Townsend, the Airside Operations and Safety Manager at Southampton Airport to check how Robird is settling in.

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We understand you launched the first drone police unit earlier this year; what was the rationale behind that?

I was frustrated while dealing with an incident that our only aerial asset, a police helicopter, was deployed on another task so I was unable to get vital aerial footage that I needed for an investigation.

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We’ve talked before about the opportunities and challenges that the growth in drone use presents. A new report released this week by SESAR and endorsed by the European Commission attempts to quantify the benefits and suggests the drone market place could generate in excess of EUR 10 billion value annually, in nominal terms, by 2035 and over EUR 15 billion annually by 2050.

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Drone technology is here to stay. There’s no point denying it. But there’s also no point denying the new flight safety challenges this new technology has brought about.

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The use of unmanned technology is not entirely new however the availability and affordability have improved significantly. This is beginning to revolutionise aspects of industry previously limited in its use of aerial services due to the high costs involved with running fixed wing and rotary aircraft.

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We need a balanced, cross-border approach to regulating the growing drone industry, argues the author of the European Parliament’s report on the safe use of drones in civil airspace.

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The unprecedented growth of drones or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System), within the toy, hobby and professional markets shows no sign of slowing down as system developments are making RPAS more affordable and accessible. I am sure that many people will have recently received one for Christmas and be eager to see what it can do.

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“Mayday! Mayday!”

This is a term that has become indoctrinated in our society – even by those outside of the aviation industry.

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