Israeli Trade Show Focuses On Civilian Uses for Drones - The Jewish Voice
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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Israeli Trade Show Focuses On Civilian Uses for Drones

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Drones on display at the trade show at the Cinema City Mall in Israel last November.
Drones on display at the trade show at the Cinema City Mall in Israel last November.
One day in November the Cinema City Mall in Rishon LeZion, Israel, became an all-day trade drone  trade show. It was the first of its kind to be held in Israel. The show’s focus was for the civilian use of drones. And, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, a presentation by David Oroshnik of Velodyne, a company that specializes in developing sensors for drones, focused on potential uses for drones. Another speaker, from Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority, spoke about the difficulties faced by civilian companies that seek permission to fly drones in Israeli airspace.

Despite the focus on civilian applications, military technology was also strongly among the trade show exhibitors. According to the Journal “most of the companies at the show produced military systems, and many attendees donned full Israeli Defense Force uniforms. This lent the show an air of secrecy that is not uncommon for military conventions. Every company representative interviewed declined to comment on their proportion of military to civilian customers.”

The blend of civilian and military customers at the show marks a new phase in the integration of drone technology into the mainstream. And the trade show was well-suited for choosing to hold its exposition in Israel, which is considered to be the leading UAV (drone) exporter in the world.

The attempt to marry drone technology with civilians, and especially with consumers, is also a new era for technology, taking it out of the current military-only position the technology currently holds. The notion of common everyday uses for drones was sparked from the imagination of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who recently announced his intent to guarantee 30-minute deliveries to Amazon customers by way of the drone, which he called “octocopers.”

Bezos recently appeared on  “60 Minutes” recently to introduce the world to Amazon Prime Air, but his idea merely generated more questions than answers.

According to a USA Today article, drones are not likely to be flying to your doorstep even by 2015. According to drone expert Missy Cummings, an MIT associate professor and one of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots, The Federal Aviation Administration would need to sign off on Amazon’s flight plans.

And Cummings told USA Today that the agency hasn’t been quick to move on the domestic use of drones. “I think they (Amazon) are stepping out in a typically naive way, (but) maybe they have some secret insight to the FAA that I don’t have,” she reportedly said.

Cummings did say, however, that approval for Amazon’s program may come faster in other countries than the United States, which may then push the U.S. government to act faster to catch up.

Countries such as Israel, where the military is the leading in drone technology and trade shows are already occurring in civilian shopping malls. Here, Israel is trying to take drones out of the military and into mainstream use for everyday use. If they break ground, the U.S. may follow suit.

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