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Airwards hosts panel with CAA-UK, Royal Mail, Sellafield, SkyBound Rescuer, Ajuno – sUAS Information


LONDON, 20 May 2022: Yesterday (19 May 2022), government, drone industry and business leaders came together at the first of Airwards’ event series: ‘The Future of the Stenosphere’. Panellists from the CAA-UK, Royal Mail, Sellafield, SkyBound Rescuer and Ajuno explored the topic of ‘Accelerating drone adoption’, in an interactive two-hour session with c.50 attendees. 

Hosted at London business club, Home Grown, the panel discussion began with a keynote speech from Kerissa Khan, Royal Aeronautical Society President Elect and Future Flight Challenge Innovation Leader. The event was facilitated by panel host, Bryn Lucas, and sponsored by UKRI, Multivitamin Group, Ajuno and Animal Dynamics.

Industry updates

During the panel, guests were treated to an exclusive by Gemma Alcock on the launch of SkyBound Rescuer 2.0. James Bell delved into upcoming activity at the CAA Innovation Hub and Ajuno’s Will Barnes talked about how we can supply end providers with drone solutions. Both Amanda Smith from Sellafield and Chris Paxton from Royal Mail interacted with the audience about how, why and where they see drones improving their business. 

Following an introduction from Airwards founder, Richard Nichols, the event was kick-started by Kerissa Khan’s thought-provoking keynote which switched up the narrative to focus on social inclusion, demonstrating the need for dynamic events like ‘The Future of the Stenosphere’. 

Key panel takeaways

  • The CAA – a supportive voice: Discussion centred on the recent UKRI findings that the majority of the public didn’t know drones were regulated, but had a more positive view of them once they were. The panel identified potential low-hanging fruit in gaining public perception through clearer communications about the regulator.
  • Privacy for homes: Recognised as a key concern from the public, solutions discussed to anonymise people and properties. Clear communication of these measures to the public is critical, as well as highlighting the importance of converting the Stenosphere into a positive, accessible and understood space.
  • Rural vs urban use: A survey of the event’s attendees found an overwhelming favour of rural over urban drone operations in the near-term. Whilst recent drone delivery success has indicated a demand, there were mixed views about where this will first occur. 
  • Societal technology pull: Principally, as demonstrated by Ajuno’s Will Barnes, to accelerate drone adoption we need to clearly demonstrate benefits within organisations, enabling their internal uptake and at the same time sharing stories about these benefits that the public can relate to, creating a ‘technology pull’ from society.

Richard Nichols, founder of global awards programme, Airwards, says: “It’s exciting to witness so many different sectors come together for our first in-person Airwards event. From government and drone industry to the world of business, each lends their unique perspective on this critical topic of accelerating drone adoption. Any company associated with drone technology needs to be generating conversations at a tangible, everyday airspace level – something we’ve coined ‘the Stenosphere’. We’re passionate about driving this conversation, not only to accelerate innovative, safe drone solutions, but also to achieve public acceptance that drones can truly provide a positive, real-world impact.”

The ‘Stenosphere’ explained

The ‘Stenosphere’ is a new term coined by Airwards to identify the tranche of atmosphere in which drones are operating. The word is taken from Greek, meaning narrow, strait and close by. With the ‘Stenosphere’, Airwards’ mission is to create a recognised place for drones in the airspace ecosystem, by championing the vital role they play in solving real-world, everyday problems, in order for drones to be accepted and fully adopted by industries, businesses and the wider public. Airwards anchors stories of drone innovation within the ‘Stenosphere’, with the goal of connecting people, companies and ideas for greater future success.

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