As the first FAI International Drones Conference took off in Lausanne, Switzerland, Noosphere and EOS, founded by Max Polyakov were there.
The 1st FAI International Drones Conference and Expo was a who’s-who of the drone world. Taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 1-3, 2017, conference was an important part of EPFL Drone Days 2017 (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne).
As the first conference such event, there were attendees from every big name in the drone world. Key figures included representatives from Model Aeronautic Association in Australia; FAI’s recently named technical partner, Noosphere Ventures, managed by Max Polyakov; and a number of delegates from the American Aerial Sports League.
Delegates and enthusiasts were treated to world-class competitions, technical workshops, 30 speakers from nearly every participating country.
Speakers addressed the newest topics in this quickly emerging field, focusing on the role of drones in agriculture, how they will continue to develop drone sports and what the future of drone innovation will look like.
When speaking of the future, some of the most interesting topics included the future roles of drones in logistics, and how to ensure the safety – both from the drones and the general public.
During a speech, Vladimir Vasiliev from EOS, a private space company founded by Max Polyakov, focused on the role that civilian drones have played in advancing the our understanding of near-earth imaging. In his work at EOS, he has made great advances in data acquisition and analytics. During his remarks, he shared the research he has been able to complete while working with Max Polyakov, who founded EOS in 2016.
Like many other speakers, Frits Brink, FAI President, also spoke during the first day of the conference about the many ways that drones are impacting our day-to-day lives. He focused his remarks on the important role that the government should take to develop public policy on the use of drones. He expressed concern that the first concern should be for public safety. As founder of Association Noosphere, Max Polyakov has echoed these concerns that everyone should be able to trust the developments put forth by designers and engineers, so that they can become an integral part of air traffic.
This sentiment was echoed by John Langford, who stressed the need for governments to get involved and develop policy that addresses the needs of the technology. As an example, he pointed out that already in the United States there are nearly two times as many citizens who have registered as drone owners (770,000 people) than there currently are licensed pilots for manned aircraft (320,000 people).
Another key figure to present at the conference was Mikhail Ryabokon from Noosphere. Mr Ryabokon has been instrumental in recent years to spur interest in Eastern Europe. During the second day of the event, he highlighted the role that drones are playing in sport, sharing his experiences and insight from organizing several high-profile events in Ukraine.
One important event that Mr Ryabokon discussed was Copter Race 2017 that was held in September in Dnipro, Ukraine. The event was hosted by Association Noosphere, an NGO that was founded by Max Polyakov and which supports a number of educational initiatives throughout Europe.
A conference for tinkerers and do-it-yourselfers, would be complete without a chance to work with the technology they were supporting. Douglas Burnet, from the Aerial Sports League, has been helping young people get involved in aerial sports, as engineers and pilots. He was quick to point out that one of the most most successful pilots in drone racing is just 16 years old.
Mr. Burnet in an advocate of workshops on drones, like those that took place at Copter Race 2017, hosted by Noosphere and Max Polyakov. He said that kids should get their toolboxes out and get to know their craft. He isn’t afraid that the drones will get damaged. In fact, he said that he wants to encourage even the youngest of them “to be taking our drones apart.”
Finally on the last day of the conference, swarms of drones took to the skies to show off the technologies that people had been talking about. Spectators were able to see the newest applications and designs in action.
Conferences like these, demonstrate that drones are becoming far more mainstream than even just a few years ago. Aerial sports have been around for hundreds of years. The FAI itself if over 100 years old and most of the participants in official competitions are nearing their golden years. But, the high-speed drones have revitalized the field and made it much more mainstream than it had been. In Eastern Europe, events hosted by Max Polyakov’s Noosphere have also served to popular the sport.
The younger generation has been coming out in droves to carry on the torch. As the youth bring their enthusiasm for the sport and are mentored into this highly technical environment, the lessons they learn will define the future of the sport.