2019 Roads Congress Profiles – Drones

Image shows a drone in flight.

The rise of drones is changing the way assets are managed and goods moved over short distances.

The implications of drones for councils will be examined at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress on 19 November in a session involving experts from various sides of this emerging transport sector.

“Drones can collect better data to help manage facilities, assets, infrastructure and the environment,” said Andrew Chapman, co-director and drone operator of Australian UAV.

“They can usually do this faster and cheaper than traditional methods, and also improve safety by keeping people on the ground and out of harm’s way.

“Councils are a perfect case for drone use, having various internal departments that can all work more effectively and efficiently when they have access to the kind of data that drones can produce.”

Mr Chapman’s presentation will cover four examples involving councils: a road survey, subdivision 3D model, illegal dumping, and a roof inspection for digital asset management.

Wing, a drone company which began trialling Australia’s first delivery service in Canberra’s northern suburbs, has now expanded to Logan in southeast Queensland.

Maria Catanzariti, Wing’s Communications Lead, will explain how this service is being used in Australia and overseas, and the technology’s consequences.

“Flying at speeds of up to 120 km/h above the traffic, drones can quickly and cost-effectively deliver small packages of food, medicine and other household items, saving businesses and consumers time and money, while also helping to reduce congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and accidents on the road,” she said.

John Hildebrand, Managing Director of the Asia-Pacific RPAS Consortium, will discuss risk management and drones.

“For risk appreciation, it’s about understanding your environment when it comes to drones, how many are operating around your assets and critical infrastructure, and the importance of having policy and procedures in place to address this new technology and new threat,” he said.

“Many organisations we are working with have no policy, and are therefore open to risk should something go wrong.”

Simon Moore, General Manager of Air Traffic Policy within the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development will speak about how drones and other unmanned aircraft are regulated in Australian skies.

Image: A drone in flight at Tirutsava. Credit: Arnabrook/Wikimedia