Drones: The good, the bad and the scary

Brought to you by The Future Devices & Technologies Group, The Security Group

'UAV's or Drones have captured people's imaginations, but they present challenges which must be addressed to realise these dreams. Learn about key technologies, barriers & current applications for drones. Discuss emerging & transformative opportunities in this dynamic, rapidly growing tech sector.

About the event

In this event, jointly delivered by the CW Future Devices & Technology and Security SIGs, we will examine the new and disruptive opportunities presented by UAVs and hear from leaders in the field.

We will consider the various challenges which must be met to realise their dreams and protect us from the potential negatives; from the diverse array of new technologies required in wireless, positioning, materials, AI and imaging to the necessary legislation and regulation required to ensure safety, security and privacy.

The day will culminate in an optional workshop where participants will be invited to propose new and exciting applications and business models for drone technology, building on what they have learned from the earlier presentations.  We will aim to see which of these might be the next big drone-enabled disruption. 

From appearances in popular entertainment such as Mission Impossible and Bladerunner, to their use in such diverse applications as conservation, creative arts, delivery, security & surveillance and new sporting events (drone racing) their impact is widely talked about. At one extreme, their use in military operations seems likely to change the face of future warfare, whilst at the other extreme, ever smaller and cheaper devices promise to assist each one of us in our everyday activities. 

However, are we rushing too fast into this utopian future where deliveries are automatically taken into our homes, where we can be ‘present’ at any time with loved ones by ‘dropping in’ through a 360 VR drone? The possibility for automated 24/7 facial recognition by an army of surveillance drones will surely protect us all from terrorist threat, but at what price? Organised crime has already adopted the new technology, which circumvents walls and fences. In response, a whole new industry has arisen in drone countermeasures, from radio jammers, to net firing guns, or even lasers. 

Attendees should leave with a broad understanding of the key technologies and current applications for drones, together with an appreciation of the emerging future opportunities and challenges to be addressed in this dynamic and rapidly growing tech sector.

You can follow @CambWireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWFDS.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration, networking and refreshments


Welcome, Robert Driver, CEO, CW (Cambridge Wireless)


Introduction to Future Devices & Technologies SIG and Security SIG


Session 1: chaired by Paul Tindall, Future Devices & Technologies SIG Champion


Flying High - Shaping the Future of Drones in UK Cities: Kathy Nothstine, Lead, Future Cities, Nesta

Kathy will talk about The Flying High Challenge which aims to position the UK to become a global leader in shaping drone systems, as the first programme of its kind to convene national government, city leaders, regulators, public services, and industry around the future of drones.


Drones: it's the data that counts: James Dean, CEO, SenSat

In this presentation, James Dean, CEO of SenSat (UK's largest drone data provider) will explore some of the practical value propositions enabled by drone data and why they are making such a big difference to enterprises.


Drones and their impact on 19th century technology: Scott Stonham, ExpandAndLaunch.com

Drones are on the frontline of today’s rapidly accelerating combinatorial technology evolution. With that comes uncertainty, risk and regulatory challenge, however the rewards can be significant. This session covers several innovative use cases across different verticals, with a deeper dive into improving a 19th century innovation using AI + Drones + Machine Vision


Q & A


Refreshments and networking


Session 2: chaired by Tim Phipps, Security SIG Champion


Public perceptions and acceptance of drones, and the issue of regulatory effectiveness: Dr Alan McKenna, Kent Police Drone Development Board

It is widely recognised that the public's acceptance of drone technology is an important consideration that needs to be appropriately addressed, and the presentation will look at the applicable issues surrounding the perceptions and acceptance by the public of the growing use of drone technology. With the recently announced changes to the regulation of drones it may be asked whether we now have the right regulatory balance, and the newly structured framework will prove adequate in helping to achieve appropriate control and to help to facilitate overall public confidence.


Implementing a UTM framework to enable the safe integration of drones: James Cranswick, Head of Drone and UTM Programmes, NATS

In his presentation, James will consider:
• What is the safety imperative behind our commitment?
• How has the UK government and NATS reacted to date?
• What is preventing the industry from moving to the next phase?
• What are the requirements of a new UTM framework?
• What can operators and service providers expect?


Using Drones for Commercial Aircraft Inspection: Gavin Goudie, Operations Director, Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd

There are currently over 25,000 commercial aircraft in worldwide operation today which is forecast to grow to nearly 35,000 by 2025 and over 40,000 by 2040. MRO Drone, a joint venture between Blue Bear and Output 42, is applying drone technology to introduce step changes in aircraft engineering data management and decision making, reducing Aircraft on Ground (AOG) time by up to 90% and introducing measurable efficiencies and cost savings for aircraft operators.


Q & A


Lunch and networking


Drones - License to Spy: Zahid Ghadialy, Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, Parallel Wireless


Q & A


Session 3: Optional workshop session chaired by SIG Champion

Participants will be invited to propose new applications and business models for drone technology, building on the earlier presentations. We will aim to see which of these might be the next big drone-enabled disruption.




End of session


James Cranswick - Head of Drone and UTM Programmes, NATS

Jim joined NATS in 2015 after serving 6 years in the Royal Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller and Battle Space Manager, working with drones in the UK, Iraq and Afghanistan. He recently ran a surveillance company delivering airborne surveillance solutions around the globe. Jim is now NATS Head of Drone and UTM programmes with the primary role of developing NATS RPAS solution capabilities and commercial strategy.

James Dean - CEO, SenSat

James is a technology entrepreneur fascinated by the way the world works. He founded SenSat in 2015 to enable the greatest step change since the internet; the digitisation of the physical world. SenSat allows computers to interact with the real world in their own language, making important information accessible to everyone.
James received a BSc from King’s College London in Geography and a minor in Astrophysics from The University of California, Irvine. His speciality lies in Satellite Sensing and Earth monitoring where he worked with NASA’s LandSAT and MODIS satellites. In addition he worked collaboratively with professors from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Zahid Ghadialy - Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, Parallel Wireless UK & EMEA

Zahid Ghadialy is a Senior Director with a fast-moving and innovative US-based young company called Parallel Wireless (PW) that is on a mission to make deployment of any cellular infrastructure as easy and as cost-effective as Wi-Fi. With an extensive experience of over 18 years in the telecom industry as an engineer, programmer, analyst, researcher, architect, trainer, product manager and technical marketer, he is a technologist with a deep understanding of architecting world-class mobile products and solutions. Zahid is currently a member of Board of Directors at CW and 'Future Devices & Technologies' SIG champion. He has also previously been a 'Small Cell SIG' and 'Smart & Intelligent Cities SIG' champion. He is also a Non-Executive Director of eXplanoTech. In his spare time he blogs at 3G4G and you can also catch him on Twitter at @zahidtg.

Gavin Goudie - Operations Director, Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd

As CEO of MRO Drone, Gavin is leading the development of the RAPID (Remote Automated Plane Inspection & Dissemination) system, under a joint venture between Blue Bear & Output42.The vision of MRO Drone is to produce innovative, integrated hardware and software tools to allow Airlines and MROs to conduct safer engineering inspections more quickly and efficiently than traditional methods. As Operations Director of Blue Bear, Gavin is responsible for liaising with end users and regulators to deliver high profile multinational programmes. He combines his engineering skills with in-depth knowledge of aviation requirements; through professional and personal interests in the field.

Alan McKenna - Member of Kent Police Drone Development Board, Kent Police Drone Development Board

Dr Mckenna is a lecturer at the University of Kent where he teaches law. He has been researching and writing on drones for a number of years, with a particular interest in public perceptions of drones and their use. His published work includes a chapter in the Bart Custers edited book, The Future of Drone Use: Opportunities and Threats from Ethical and Legal Perspectives. In 2015 he provided evidence to the House of Lords European Union Committee investigation into the Civilian Use of Drones in the EU, and in 2016 was an invited expert participant in the Department of Transport's Public Dialogue Workshops on Drones project. He has participated in a large number of BBC radio and television programmes where drones have been under discussion. He has been a lay member of Kent Police's Drone Development Board since its inception.

Kathy Nothstine - Lead, Future Cities, Nesta Investments

Kathy is the Lead for Future Cities in Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, where she investigates emerging trends and opportunities and convenes multisector partners around issues of urban transport and future cities. She is currently leading on the cities stream of the Flying High Challenge (http://flyinghighchallenge.org/) to empower cities to explore the future of urban drone operations. Previously, Kathy served as Program Director for economic development, resilience and transport at the National Association of Counties, where she convened leadership networks of local government officials with national, philanthropic, civic and business leaders to drive innovation, by identifying and scaling up transformative new approaches to creating stronger communities and economies based on local assets and place-based strategies. She has designed and delivered peer learning and capacity-building networks and technical assistance programmes on a variety of topics related to planning, economic development, transport and sustainability in both urban and rural places. She has also worked in the private sector on planning, design and real estate development projects.

Scott Stonham - Director, SSPS Ltd

Director, ExpandAndLaunch.com

Scott has been at the forefront of technological innovation since 1996, working with large and small enterprises to deliver complex, life-changing technologies including the mobile internet, GPS, and technologies enabling modern day mobile commerce.  Since graduating in Cybernetics and Control Engineering, he has worked to develop technologies and markets for well-known international organisations, including Vodafone, Qualcomm, Openwave, RootMetrics and IHS Markit.   

SIG Champions

Graham Anderson - Senior Specialist, Beko

Graham Anderson is Senior Specialist at Beko R&D, with research interests focused around novel sensors, data analytics, and energy storage/harvesting. Previously he worked as a Senior Scientist at Cambridge Display Technology working on the development of ink jet printed OLED displays and organic thermoelectric generators. Graham has a PhD from Leeds University in spintronics.

Zahid Ghadialy - Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, Parallel Wireless UK & EMEA

Zahid Ghadialy is a Senior Director with a fast-moving and innovative US-based young company called Parallel Wireless (PW) that is on a mission to make deployment of any cellular infrastructure as easy and as cost-effective as Wi-Fi. With an extensive experience of over 18 years in the telecom industry as an engineer, programmer, analyst, researcher, architect, trainer, product manager and technical marketer, he is a technologist with a deep understanding of architecting world-class mobile products and solutions. Zahid is currently a member of Board of Directors at CW and 'Future Devices & Technologies' SIG champion. He has also previously been a 'Small Cell SIG' and 'Smart & Intelligent Cities SIG' champion. He is also a Non-Executive Director of eXplanoTech. In his spare time he blogs at 3G4G and you can also catch him on Twitter at @zahidtg.

Connect on linkedin

David Roberts - Founder, Jabooh Software

David is a technology leader with over 25 years experience working in the hi-tech arena. David is currently working at Five.ai, a Cambridge-based SME that is building the world’s most reliable autonomous vehicle software stack where he is putting in place the organisation, process, tools and frameworks required to meet this ambitious vision. Prior to this he worked in in the C-IoT space where he ran a multi-national R&D department that developed silicon and software designed for the burgeoning IoT market. He was also responsible for driving an agile transformation programme and assisting the organisation with their integration into a large Chinese multi-national telecoms company. Having started his career as a software developer working for BT and Acorn Computers, he went on to hold senior roles in a number of world-class organisations such as Symbian, Cambridge University and Citrix in the areas of Software Development, Project Management, Product Management, Research, Consultancy and Architecture. His background includes leading and developing teams involved in the creation of large-scale integrated hardware and software products, web-based services and CE devices. He is also highly experienced in large-scale agile development practices, agile coaching/transformation and creating and executing strategies for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of organisations.

Charles Sturman - Senior Director Product Marketing, Huawei Technologies Research and Development (UK)

Charles is responsible for Product Marketing at Neul / Huawei Technologies in Cambridge, with responsibility for product strategy and business development in the NB-IoT market. Prior to this he lead u-blox’ activities in the fast moving consumer IoT segment (wearables, smarthome and entertainment) following the acquisition of the ARM Software Radio spin-out Cognovo, where we has founder and executive VP Sales & Marketing. Charles has held various positions in system design, business development and product marketing within Acorn Computers, TTPCom, Motorola and ARM.

Connect on linkedin

Phil Burr - Product Marketing Manager, Arm

Phil, as a senior product manager, has grown product revenue by focusing on the customer. Covering product strategy, product marketing, business development and product management, Phil is driven by the desire to connect customers to products that delight. Most recently Phil was Product Marketing Director at Arkessa (IoT SaaS platform) and Senior Product Marketing Manager at Mentor Graphics (embedded software product). Phil co-founded Octymo, a Cambridge start up focused on licensing a mobile phone applications platform. Phil brings extensive global experience including living in Asia where, for TTPCom and Motorola, he built and led a pan-Asian division to service multi-million dollar contracts.

Nick Koiza - Head of Business Development, Plextek

Nick heads up Plextek's business in the security market and has a long and successful track record across global security and public safety sectors, where he has developed a strong reputation as a leading authority in secure critical communications. He has held senior management positions in public and private companies spanning IT, technology and communications, and has also co-founded and managed Cambridge-based businesses. He began his career with the European Space Agency in Germany where he acted as a member of the Mission Control Team for a spacecraft launched aboard NASA's Space Shuttle. A Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Nick holds a Diploma from the University of Cambridge and MSc and BSc honours degrees in Space Science and Computer Science, respectively.

Derek Long - Head of Telecoms & Mobile, Cambridge Consultants

As head of telecoms and mobile at Cambridge Consultants, Derek leads the company’s collaboration within the sector. Central to Derek’s role at Cambridge Consultants is helping create breakthrough innovation that transforms the delivery of high-performance communication for their partners; from mobile carriers and ISPs, to vendors and component manufacturers. With over 20 years’ experience in mobile technology, Derek has held a range of multinational senior management roles and has a wealth of expertise across all generations of mobile and broadband technology, including LTE-A and 5G. Derek holds a PhD in telecommunications from the University of Bristol.

Tim Phipps - Technical Marketing Manager, Solarflare

Tim sees Cambridge Wireless as a way to build the network of relationships that drive business growth and a better society for us all. As Technical Marketing Manager at Solarflare, Tim works to conceive and realise the components that will make the internet faster, secure and more reliable. He has worked on technologies from their earliest beginnings to mass market adoption, including WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular from GSM to LTE. His experience includes working as a development engineer, project management, business development and product marketing.

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The Bradfield Centre, Cambridge Science Park, 184 Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0GA

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