Buzzing like a mechanical insect, the black Hexcopter used its six whirring propellers to hover and zoom above a grassy field, providing emergency officials a set of airborne optical and infrared eyeballs.
“He’s flying over this disaster site here to the west, taking a look. He’s seeing a body lying on the ground, a bicycle and the potential for haz-mat. So he’s videotaping all that,” explained Justin Dee, an operator with Prioria Robotics, the Gainesville firm that developed the drone.
Mission accomplished, the 14-pound, 46-inch wide Hexcopter slowly settled onto the grass near Dee’s tent, landing in autopilot mode after a successful exhibition flight.
Sunday, 10 robotics teams showed off the capabilities of their unmanned aircraft during a series of demonstration flights at Exploration Park. Sponsored by Space Florida, the event kicked off the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International trade show, which continues through Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center.
AUVSI predicts that the drone industry will create nearly 104,000 jobs nationwide by 2025, assuming that the Federal Aviation Administration integrates unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system. Projected economic impact is more than $82 billion from 2015-25.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com