FLYBOTS Techtalk: 5 questions to Christian Kaiser (Copting GmbH)
In our "Techtalk" we would like to know more in detail and begin our interview series with Christian Kaiser, Managing Director at Copting GmbH. We wanted to find out which products and services have good prospects for growth from his point of view and which skills are crucial for drone training. Also important: Which wishes does Christian Kaiser have for politics and the development of the market.
1. A few words about you. How long has your company been active in the field of UAS and what fascinates you personally about this technology?
Copting is active in the sector of UAS since 2014. The fascination of working in this field is due to the rapid development of technical components, software possibilities and the great customer demand for industrial solutions for specific application scenarios.
For some time now, it has no longer been a question of getting a system to fly. Rather, it is about combining different technologies (flight system, sensor systems), peripheral components (hangar systems, tethers, control consoles) and intelligent integration into existing company processes. This leads to the fact that no project, no order is the same as another.
2. As a full service provider, you are broadly positioned. Nevertheless, which service is currently in particularly high demand and what do you think is the reason for this?
At the moment, the consulting and design services of application-specific systems in the field of BOS and security prevail. Another current focus is the topic of training/education of specific professional groups and support services for operating licenses according to new EU and national legislation.
3. How do you see the future? Which services and products will experience growth in the coming years? Where is it going?
We see significant growth in automated systems in particular. In other words, UAS (flight system, peripherals, software, enterprise integration), which are operated automatically and controlled decentrally. In addition to all relevant services around such products and services, a crucial point for us is that our systems are embedded "cleanly" into the corporate processes and infrastructures.
Besides the aspects of acquisition and operating costs, an essential component is that a maximum of availability and security is guaranteed. This is not only for reasons of the applicable legal and licensing situation. But also that the embedding of the "flying helpers" ensures that company processes, tasks to be completed and responsibilities are available in a stable manner so that there are no interruptions and no additional workload.
And where does it go? Technically and procedurally, the embedding of UAS as a manually deployed and/or automated tool will increase very significantly from an applications and needs perspective. Drones are already and will increasingly be used as another tool. Thus, a development comparable to robots driving automatically. If it were not for the "air traffic" component. There is still a lot of work to be done here by everyone involved. This applies to the technical side (hardware, software), the cooperative side (tension between manned and unmanned aircraft) and the regulatory side (legislation, application procedures and requirements).
4. You train people who want to fly drones. What skills are particularly in demand in this case? Which skills are particularly important?
We train people who want to fly drones as well as people who want to operate drones. This is a big difference. For the first group, in addition to sufficient motor and cognitive skills, it is important that they act in a risk-averse manner. Also, continuous flying is important to be able to safely control a flight system in three-dimensional space.
Today's consumer and prosumer systems tempt to move systems in the air quickly and without sufficient instruction. This is due to the simplicity of operation and the apps used. Also, there is usually little or no explanation at the time of purchase that insurance and remote pilot examinations are required for operation. At the same time, there is sometimes a lack of knowledge and understanding of where flying is actually allowed. No one today would get into a vehicle without a license plate and drive off. This understanding has yet to catch on in drone operation. People who operate drones for professional reasons usually know the responsibility that comes with operating them. Not least due to the fact that a mistake can be very expensive.
In addition, companies already take care in the selection and training of their people that they also match this responsibility by their personality. As for the second group, i.e. the operators, we are not talking about the classic drone pilots. Since the UAS are operated automatically, the people responsible are sensitized to the extent that the overall process is designed in terms of safety and security. Not only because this is required by an operating license. All relevant aspects of operational safety must be taken into account.
5. What would you like to happen in the political field with regard to the further development of the market in the Federal Republic of Germany?
I would like to see more courage to try things out, test/pilot projects and, from a regulatory point of view, "let's give it a try". We have already achieved a high technical level and standard. This would not have been possible, if neighboring countries had allowed significantly more freedom for drone operation. Often, tests, trials, projects simply fail due to the fact that this cannot be approved due to the applicable regulations. This has now improved with the new EU regulation, but our federal structures coupled with responsibilities centralized in the federal government in conjunction with European institutions are sometimes not very transparent.
The new legal situation probably still needs some time to settle in. Nevertheless, we should be given a little more freedom and, if necessary, funding to further develop the market and the application scenarios. But I don't mean making cities a playground for drone applications. An important point for us in the political and regulatory landscape is to have "aerial authorities" cooperate much more closely with "ground authorities" in the area of drones.
One example would be the discussion and current plans regarding control of lower airspace. Since the (current) majority of drone missions take place below 120m above ground, it is elementary for the local authorities (police, fire department, operations control centers, public order offices) to know what is "flying around here". And if something is flying, whether it is allowed to fly there at all. The technical possibilities are there, the software is there, we have it. But if the basis of the whole thing is the question of responsibilities, then the process of "normal" use of drones in urban areas will not achieve the necessary acceptance among the population in the long term.