Drones from one Site to Another
At the invitation of the Wurzburg-Schweinfurt Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammer - IHK), the Mainfranken Centre for Digital Innovations (Zentrum für digitale Innovationen - ZDI), the Mechatronics Cluster and the Automation Valley for North Bavaria visitors from the whole of Bavaria came to the automotive supplier in Bad Neustadt to exchange information on academic and commercial drone projects. Jopp gave a presentation of its own project.
Managing Director Martin Büchs presented a report about the concept and the market for supplier drones. Project Leader Frank Ulrich explained how far the permit procedure has progressed. Jopp expects to be able to achieve the first autonomous regular flight of a drone in Germany.
The company stated that currently too much time is spent on the road transporting inter office mail, spare parts and other small parts which could be transported much easier and faster by air. Now the company wants to use the new legislation for air traffic which has been applicable in Germany since April to transport small items by air with a drone. The flights are intended to be executed completely autonomously.
While JOPP intends to fly over public ground, Rigobert Zehner, Managing Director at IFSYS (Integrated Feeding Systems GmbH) in Grossbardorf, showed that drones also have their place in the industrial warehouse. Several automotive customers have shown interest in transporting parts for mass production by air. A number of concepts are currently being worked on.
Maximum Level of Safety
Since safety is a major concern when using drones, Dr. Nils Gageik, Managing Director at Emqopter GmbH in Wurzburg, showed how to make drones safer with comprehensive sensor technology for detecting obstacles. The high-tech drone which was demonstrated in Bad Neustadt had been designed and constructed with maximum safety features in order to minimize the risk not just to other air traffic but also to prevent damage or injuries on the ground.
The reports by Jopp and Ifsys on practical drone use were flanked by academic presentations. Markus Lieret from the University in Erlangen-Nuremberg gave a presentation on the latest research while Armin Buckhorst from the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (Werkzeugmaschinenlabor - WZL) at the RWTH Aachen University (Rheinisch Westfälische Technische Hochschule – RWTH in Aachen) spoke about the inspection of airplanes using drones.
This day clearly showed that academia and business can work together on this subject in order to obtain maximum results: since practical experience with commercial drones is lacking, the operators need the expertise from scientists and start up companies in order to open up the way for new applications.