The North Sydney Innovation Network on Friday (27th April 2018) launched a report: Flying Robots in the Skies Above Our Neighbourhoods: Are North Shore Councils and Communities Ready for Drones? with the help of Mr Trent Zimmerman, Federal MP for North Sydney. 

The report explores the drone market, different types and uses for drones, opportunities and risks, regulations and what can be done from a planning and infrastructure point of view, for example, the provision of drone landing pads and hubs.

The report was released with the intention of initiating dialogue between drone retailers, commercial drone operators, regulators and local councils. From both a planning and regulatory point of view, the NSIN believes it is important for all stakeholders to work together to maximise the opportunities offered by drones.

According to Shireen Bernstein, Report Author and Insights and Partnerships Manager with NSIN, there is great potential offered by emerging technologies but communities, businesses and organisations all need to be engaged.

“Our intention in releasing this report is to spark discussion about drone technology and encourage organisations to take on board the recommendations for unlocking the opportunities,” she said.

“Drones are already widely used in military, disaster management and natural resource management settings. But they also offer some remarkable opportunities in the everyday lives of a community.

“From the ability to have your latest order from Amazon delivered straight to your door, to the delivery of essential medicines to less mobile and elderly residents, drones can enhance the lives of people in our urban communities. There are also possible applications for drones to address traffic congestion, community safety, environmental sustainability and council operations like reading water meters.

“Likewise, to avoid community resistance to the use of this technology in our suburbs, careful planning and appropriate regulation will be vital.

“We hope this report can generate some discussion both internally for local governments and beyond and with other stakeholders including the community at this important time when many councils are reviewing their Community Strategic Plans,” said Shireen.

Drone flying overhead (Source: Pixabay CC)

Drone flying overhead (Source: Pixabay CC)

The NSIN is keen to foster positive discussions about drones and the use of other innovative technologies in our communities and welcomes ideas from community groups, councils and other interested stakeholders.

Mr Trent Zimmerman, Federal MP for North Sydney also highlighted the importance of being on the front foot with technology advances.

“The digital age is transforming the economy and changing the way businesses and consumers access goods and services. This rapid change, driven by technology, is disrupting traditional jobs and industries.

“It’s important to consider how technology, like drones, should be part of our lives.

“This report from North Sydney Innovation Network is a valuable resource and I fully support their call to action for more discussion in our communities, with the drone industry, businesses, councils, regulatory and planning organisations.”

“All levels of government have a role to play in looking to the future to facilitate innovation and positive change for our society.

A 2016 Business Insider BI Intelligence report forecasted revenues from drone sales worldwide to top $12 billion in 2021, with the growth of enterprise drone use to outpace the consumer drone sector in both shipments and revenues by 2021, reaching 29 million shipments worldwide. Goldman Sachs Research also recently forecast that Australia’s drone market will be worth an estimated US$3.1 billion between 2017 and 2021.

Thanks to the supporters of the launch, most notably those in the drone industry: David Morgan from High Exposure and Annette McClelland and Michael Griffin from Tekuma. We’d like the thank Trent Zimmerman, MP and Flynn McDermott for hosting the launch.

Shireen Bernstein and Trent Zimmerman with drones in North Sydney, launching the NSIN's Drone Report (April 2018).

Shireen Bernstein and Trent Zimmerman with drones in North Sydney, launching the NSIN’s Drone Report (April 2018).

20180427 At the Drone Report Launch in North Sydney

20180427 At the Drone Report Launch in North Sydney.

Can I Fly There App by CASA

Can I Fly There App by CASA.

Claire Harris

Author: Claire Harris is the Marketing and Communication Manager (part-time) for North Sydney Innovation Network. She is also a consultant with her business (Innovate Communicate) where she specialises in helping innovators and science organisations to connect with their audiences. She also launched an online hub (Recover from Injury) after a tough injury experience and is writing a book.