Earlier this month, I was fortunate to attend DJI's annual industry conference, AirWorks 2022. You are missing out if you have yet to participate in an industry event like AirWorks.
As aspiring drone pilots (or already certified Part 107 pilots), learning about our industry makes us better UAV operators. Events like AirWorks 2022 bring together some of the top talents in the UAV community. They are excellent venues to see the latest innovations and learn about the extraordinary use cases for drones.
AirWorks 2022 took place in Las Vegas from October 10-12 at the Mirage Casino and Hotel. The show included the main stage, breakout rooms, an exhibit hall, and an outdoor flying demonstration area. If you couldn't attend the show, here are a few highlights I think are worth mentioning.
The DJI Dock was the star of this year's show. If you haven't seen the dock before, it is DJI's all-in-one drone in a box solution. The dock houses the Matrice 30 and can run missions autonomously when paired with DJI FlightHub 2.
The platform is ideal for operations where drone flights are often needed from the same location. Supply yards, railroads, mining operations, wind turbine fields, and solar farms are just a few locations that are optimally suited for the DJI Dock.
The DJI Dock operates day and night, rain or shine. If fact, there is little downtime when using the dock. A fast-charging design uses TEC air conditioning to cool batteries quickly. Thanks to this rapid cooling feature, charging batteries from 10% to 90% only takes 25 minutes.
Another new DJI drone, the AGRAS T40, was also on display. This massive drone, weighing just over 110 pounds, is designed for agricultural crop spraying. A dual atomized spraying system, Active Phased array Radar and Binocular Vision, DJI Terra, and a spray tank that holds just over 88 pounds of spray allows the drone to cover 52 acres of farmland per hour.
The exhibit hall was home to 26 vendor displays. One in particular that I found exciting was DroneDeploy. If you have utilized their software to fly mapping operations, you know how easy it is to use. The company announced that their software would now be downloadable to the DJI RC Pro Enterprise remote. If you are using this remote, you will no longer need to plug your cell phone in to fly DroneDeploy missions. That’s pretty cool!
Other exhibitors included Agroscout LTD, Airdata UAV, Inc, All Mobile Video, Inc., ANGELSWING, Inc., CENTUM research & technology, Dongguan Flyfire Technology Co., Ltd, DroneSense Inc., FlytBase Inc, Go Professional Cases Inc, Guangzhou Chengzhi Intelligent Machinery Technology Co., Ltd., LinkedAll Products Inc, Loveland Innovation, Propeller Aero, Inc, RIIS Inc, SBG Systems, SHENZHEN JLIDRONE TECH CO. (Zhong Ke), Shenzhen SHARE UAV Technology Co., Ltd, SkyeBrowse Inc., SPH Engineering, SIA, Sulmora S.A (Codigo del Sur), SZ Soarability Technology, Terrasolid Ltd, Virtual Surveyor NV, and Wuhan Arover Technology Col. LTD.
My favorite reason to attend events like AirWorks is the numerous speakers, panels, and presentations that are a part of all these shows. DJI has a knack for bringing together some of the very best speakers the industry has to offer. Here are some notes on just two of the many presentations I attended.
Deputy Chief Richard Fields (Los Angeles Fire Department) presented on the Challenges and Successes of a Drone Program in a Major Metropolitan Fire Department. During his presentation, he discussed the importance of building teams that meet or exceed your agency's needs, why having a sustainability plan will make or break a program, and the benefits of transparency with community stakeholders. It was an excellent presentation.
I have always had a soft spot for whales. I even worked as a marine mammal trainer for a short time in my early twenties. With my love for marine mammals, I was very excited to hear Dr. Iain Kerr speak about Ocean Alliance and the organization's use of drones.
If you aren't familiar with Dr. Kerr's work, watch YouTube videos for Snot Bot. Ocean Alliance has been researching and protecting whales since 1971. The organization uses drones to collect biological data from whales by flying them into the mist pushed out of a whale's blowhole. Dr. Kerr also announced their latest innovation, a drone that can safely drop a tagging device onto a surfaced whale.
The tags suction onto the back of a whale without causing any harm to the animal. While attached to the whale, the tag collects video and other data. After about 72 hours, the tag falls off and is collected for analysis. This research method with drones is changing what we know about these creatures and helping to protect them for future generations. Check out whale.org to learn more or donate to the cause.
Between the live demonstrations, presentations, new product information, and the exhibitors, AirWorks 2022 was a huge success. I learned a lot from the speakers and thought DJI did a fantastic job this year. I'm looking forward to next year's conference and hope to see you all there as well!
Article Written by David Daly