DRONEfest Zagreb 2017 | Key Takeaways
The second edition of the largest Croatian Conference on drones - DRONEfest was held in Zagreb. Through two days of the conference participants followed over 30 lectures and ten workshops, two-panel discussions and fly zone, with demonstrations in various models of drones. At the fair conference partners and exhibitors presented their drones and other products and services associated with this industry.
The main topic of the first day of the DRONEfest conference was around Drone Regulations in Croatia. We had panel discussions on challenges in implementing the flight operations of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Various topics of European policy were mentioned concerning the development of unmanned aerial vehicles in Croatia, presented by MEP Davor Skrlec, to the regulation of aerial photography, which among other institutions as SGA are actively working to adapt toward growing drone users.
Croatian Regulations are (New and) Messy
Regarding national regulation on drone flights spoke Damir Bezik from the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency. He explained that they distinguish recreational and operating flight, which are treated differently. While recreational flight does not require any special permit, the operational flight is divided into categories from A to D, with Category A including the smallest and D greatest risk.
Licenses vary from a simple declaration that the operator complies with all rules and Act of unmanned aircraft, through the requirement to grant "driver's license" to explicit permission of the regulatory authority for certain exceptions to the rule of drone flight.
"Recreational flight involves flying drones purely for pleasure and fun. Operational flight means any additional purposes flying, such as Aerial photography. " explains Bezik.
When asked about the night flight he explained that it is definitely prohibited and permits to fly drones in the night will not be issued.
"Drone in night flight is clearly visible, but not visible to the poles, power lines nor various other objects hanging in the air." Explained Bezik.
In the panel on the challenges in implementing the flight operations of unmanned aerial vehicles participated Ivan Landek (SGA), Damir Bezik (HACZ), Davor Crnogorac (CCL), Danijel Petrovic (HUBS) and Branko Drakulic (Snimanje.hr). The biggest problems are highlighted in poor regulation, which at the same time are complicated and loose. Because permits are needed from various regulatory agencies.
Nature as inspiration for technological solutions
Keynote speaker, the director of the London Laboratory for Aerospace Robotics Ph.D. Mirko Kovac presented the projects from British Drone Laboratory, where they seek inspiration in nature for the design and development of drones. One of their projects engaged in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles that look like birds, and can dive under water and emerge from it after you perform a specific task. And their other solutions emulate the examples from nature, ie. creating complex structures with drone working on creating a spider web.
FER project on wind turbine inspection is unique in the world
This is definitely the biggest drone on DRONEfest conference, and one of the largest quadcopter drones in the world, and is being developed as part of the NATO program "Science for Peace and Security."
When completed, the drone will be able to carry 50 kg load or transport a small submarine (submersible), which is also developed at FER, and will be used for research missions and surveillance at sea.
To allow such a large capacity and increased range, this drone uses gasoline engines, and it’s uniqueness is in the system slope management which is performed by scheduling weights.
We didn’t saw flight demonstration on DRONEfest because its first test flights are yet to come, but there is no doubt that the Croatian roboticists team will send it to the air, and then the sea.
Among the visitors at DRONEfest, we heard comments that instead of a submarine drone, NATO arrangement could easily carry bombs and missiles, but we believe that this already exists, like Predators and similar "specialized" combat drones, but I doubt that is being developed with that intent.
Drone Racing Team Croatia
Inside Fly Zone you could notice micro drones buzzing all around, they were navigated through FPV by Drone Racing Team Croatia. You could tell they are having most of the fun in fly zone. Among presenting their DIY crafts, they held workshops on FPV in general and advanced overview of Drone Racing. The organization is also member of Drone X Labs.
To get more details and feel about what was going on on DRONEfest you can visit conference offical homepage at dronefest.in2.hr.