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The future is buzzing in UAE
BY MATOVU ABDALLAH TWAHA October 17, 2017
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DUBAI: A two-day Unmanned Aerial System Forum (UASF) opened on Oct.16 at the Versace Armani Hotel in Jaddaf area, Dubai with heavy participation of drone manufacturers, operators and users.

The meet was opened by the Commander of Dubai Police, Maj. Gen. Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, in the presence of senior officials from the Dubai Police, Civil Defence, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and a score of government departments.

DRONE LANGUAGE

A number of papers were presented by mainly drone manufacturers, operators and users – especially government departments – as well on the sidelines of the exhibition. The exhibitors are speaking drone language, highlighting their efficiency in reaching where humans would take longer to reach.

An exhibitor from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), Eng. Ahmad Alsahi Al Za’abi, showed this reporter three types of drones, all “efficient, fast and cost-effective.”

“This hydro-drone, for example, easily accesses chimneys and pipes to check on leakage and electric heat where it would be difficult for man to check. With their thermal imaging and normal cameras, they have a better view too,” he said.

Another drone can be commanded to go to sea and bring some water for sampling of pollution. Next is a hybrid drone that can fly up to 25km to execute a task. On the stand of Dubai Police is a “new project, but not a new device,” says an exhibitor, “which is used in defusing bombs.”

“We assembled it ourselves and launched it a few months ago,” said Hamad Rashid Al Falsi from the Bomb Explosive Unit.

Next is a five-armed camera drone that can be sent to check on a given situation in thick motor traffic and relay feedback. “You can call it an Eagle Eye,” said Al Falasi.

A chat with exhibiting companies revealed new firms opening offices in Dubai. “We have been here for about four months,” said the Chief Executive Officer of Whitefox Drone Defence, Luke Fox. His firm can “re-route a drone that strays to an unwanted space from a radius of 14km.” Similarly, the Regional Sales Manager of Aerodyne Europe UAV Ltd, Mark Baker, said they have been in the UAE since mid this year.

CIVIL AVIATION RULES

At its stand, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) issued brochures alerting drone users to be aware that they were “legally responsible for the safe conduct of each flight” and advised them to “take to time to understand the rules” as “failure to comply could lead to fines.”

Other rules include obtaining permission from the DCAA before using remotely piloted aircraft systems, and avoid misusing images obtained by drones among others.
 

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