The future of Drone Automation in Industry

The future of Drone Automation in Industry

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Hosted by: Connected Places Catapult, Network Rail, and Herotech8

About this event

As part of the DfT funder Drone Pathfinder Catalyst programme, Connected Places Catapult has been engaging across industry sectors to unlock the productivity and safety benefits that drone solutions offer. 

We are excited to invite you to attend our demonstration and networking morning, aimed at showcasing the future of automated drone use in infrastructure, construction and security.  We’ve partnered with Network Rail, HeroTech8 and others to bring this to life with the latest operational case studies. 

By attending this event you’ll hear about the roadmap to drone automation, explore current and emerging use cases, and see a live demonstration of ‘drone-in-a-box’ operations on-site at Cranfield Airport’s runway. 

We’re hosting this event at the brand new Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) at Cranfield University on the 27th January, 10am-1pm, followed by an optional networking lunch and discussion sessions.  ( this is by invite only as spaces are limited)

This event will be hybrid, so you can book to attend online or attend in person. Places are limited, so do book a space as soon as you can if you’d like to attend.  

We hope you are able to make it and look forward to meeting you. 

About our partners:

Network Rail Air Operations have an established drone operations team, trialling visual structural integrity monitoring of tracks and powerlines, thermal inspections, incident first-response and automated flights. The next stage of development is incorporating automated flights within routine maintenance, reducing human risk, improving early detection of line faults and saving service disruption costs across the network.

Herotech8 are a UK manufacturer of an automated drone in a box solution and have a clear roadmap towards realising their ‘drones as a service’ vision. Their solution enables customers to automatically deploy, recover and recharge drones from anywhere in the world, with each station being built around an automated recharging system that monitors drone health. Their solution has been operational in the UK and internationally for approximately 2 years and organisations are using it to generate savings and improve safety in infrastructure inspection, security, and search and rescue use cases. This technology is rapidly developing and early adopters stand to benefit the most.

Speakers representing our main event partners include:

Rikke Carmichael – Head of Air Operations, Network Rail

Edward Anastassacos – CEO, Herotech8

Other speakers will be announced in due course.


10:00 - Arrival

10:10 - Welcome and introduction - Connected Places Catapult

10:15 - The roadmap to automated drone solutions - Herotech8 and Connected Places Catapult

10:30 - Network Rail’s drone operations - what’s now and what’s next - Network rail

11:15 Drone in a box - a stepping-stone towards 'drones as a service' - Herotech8 and Magnox

11:45 - The future of drones as a service - Herotech8 and Nationwide Drones

12:15 - Live demonstrate onsite runway inspection - Herotech8, Cranfield Airport

13:00 - Break for lunch (optional end of day)

13:30 - (optional) Technology deep dive, “implementation in your business” clinic, tour of DARTeC - Connected Places Catapult, Herotech8, Network Rail, and others

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