What will the skies look like in 2050?

For that question, we turn to Michael Read, founder of SkyBase.aero, a full, end-to-end drone services company in Christchurch, New Zealand. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science, an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence, is an associate member of the New Zeland Institute of Mangement and is an Upper Freeman in the Honorable Company of Air Pilots. He has extensive experience in aviation, start-up business expertise, testing and evaluation, a nd experience with Full Flight simulators. In August 2017, Michael started Skybase.aero that provides full-service, end-to-end drone solutions for clients. Michael will be speaking at the 2017 Commercial UAV Show in London on “What the skies will look like in 2050?” In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Mike will give us some insights into the future and what we might expect to see in the next 35 years.

In This Episode

  • About Michael Read and Creative Lateral. Michael Read is Director of Creative & Lateral. He also the founder of Skybase.aero, a drone services company based in Christchurch, New Zealand. The company provides full-service, end-to-end drone solutions for clients.  Michael’s exposure and interest in drones came about while working with the Martin Aircraft Company, a company that is working on commercializing a personal jetpack.
  • Predicting the Future. Michael will be speaking at the 2017 Commercial UAV Show on what the skies will be like in 2050. Although it may be risky to predict what might happen in 35 years, Michael feels he brings a perspective that can do the job. In looking out into the future, he focuses on two things – (1) the fundamental aspects of the industry and (2) what that industry has done historically. In Michael’s all aircraft carry things or people, they have electrical or power systems and they try to reduce or extend time. Michael starts with these three attributes when developing a long-term trend analysis.
  • Future Roll of Drones. Drones will evolve into “airborne robotics” taking on jobs that are  dirty, dull, dangerous or difficult. For example, it may be dull for humans to get from point A to point B, but an autonomous vehicle could make that trip either more interesting or easy. The timing of the changes depends on the rate of technology change and the ability to keep up with regulations and procedures. Technology changes tends to occur in steps and can be dramatic, whereas, regulatory changes occur gradually and over a much longer timeframe.
  • Potential Technology Innovations. Some of key advancements that we may see as the industry evolves include (a) fully linking ground stations with air traffic management systems, (b) having the ability to control drones with thoughts and (c) improving the communications and data streams between UAVs and ground stations.
  • Societal Impact. Like anything in the technology field, the real question is how will these innovations or advancements impact society. Michael feels that drones will provide a lot of good, but there are a lot of regulatory barriers that have to be addressed. But once those issues have been resolved, he feels drones will become part of our lives ways that not yet been anticipated. As these changes unfold, they will create opportunities for businesses and entrpreneurs to develop new technologies and services.
  • The 2017 Commercial Drone Show. Again Michael will be speaking at the Commercial UAV Show in London on November 15-16. He’ll be talking about what to expect through 2050 in general, but he’ll spend quite a bit of time on what the period 2020-2030, which is only a few years away. Here’s his talking points from the conference agenda:
    • What will the skies look like in 2050?
    • Beyond 2020: what are the long-term predictions for the future of our airspace?
    • What will the biggest goals and milestones be over the next 30 years?
    • How much change can we expect to see? Will it be a gradual acceptance or a total shift in regulation?
    • Will commercial airspace become more public or private?
  • New Zealand Drone Ecosystem. New Zealand offers a positive place for drone technology companies. The country has a lot of open space and regulations that promote testing of unmanned concepts.
  • Closing. Michael is optimistic of the future of the industry and is looking forward to supporting some of the advancements he talks about.

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