First unmanned aerial vehicle conference coming in October


South Africa has proved it has the will to lead the pack and has shown this with the implementation of flight safety regulations for RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft) opening the door for commercial applications.

This aspect will come under the microscope in October when the Unmanned Autonomous Systems Africa (UASA) conference and exhibition takes place in Johannesburg.

The gathering aims to build on what has been achieved to date and is billed as the way forward to the future in driving the safe and viable use of unmanned aircraft systems across the African continent.

Conference organisers Thebe Reed Exhibitions said unmanned vehicle technology has matured to the point where civil and commercial applications are both “feasible and compelling”.

Applications across sectors ranging from military to homeland security, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, oil and gas are seen as places when the use of RPA can impact positively on a country’s economic health.

The organisers also see policymakers increasingly facing decisions that either impede or accelerate innovations continent-wise as developers and prospective users of aerial unmanned systems look for new ways to deploy them.

The speaker panel currently include Dr Sam Gulube, South African Secretary of Defence and Zakhele Twala, the deputy director general for civil aviation in the Department of Transport. Other speakers for the October 13 to 15 conference are Petr van Blyenburgh, president of UVS International; John Monk, aerostructures group leader aeronautical systems at the CSIR; Captain Christopher Gundu, flight operations expert at the Namibian Directorate of Civil Aviation; Miguel Ramos, technical officer for RPAS at ICAO and Captain Joe Mutungi, director aviation safety security regulations at the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Delegates will be updated on developments in the regulatory field and will also hear about trends and innovations technology-wise as well as the different applications for RPAS and market trends for this aviation sector.

UASA will be held at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton.