ARPAS-UK Attend UVS International- Amsterdam
With very late notice ARPAS-UK were approached by UVS International to attend an exploratory meeting at the RAI Amsterdam (www.rai.nl), a large conference facility in the Netherlands. The purpose was to discuss the potential for creating a European drone event with worldwide impact.
After multiple prior discussions, RAI Amsterdam took on board the recommendations offered by UVS International to engage with national RPAS associations.
ARPAS-UK was invited along with representatives from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All expenses were to be covered.
Given the extremely short notice and the daily direct flights from Inverness, Vice Chairman Matt Harmsworth attended on behalf of our members.
Some of the fundamental concepts discussed were:
- Scope of an event
- Legislation, current and future
- EASA Prototype proposals
- The importance to cover the entire chain including hardware, software, UTM etc.
- Bring European and non-European stakeholders together in one place
- Position the European UAS community on the world stage
- Reach out to UAS communities in Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, UAE etc.
- Contribute to UAS awareness on an international level
- Help members engage with wider industry and develop new business avenues.
In final attendance were ten representatives from European RPAS associations. This gave us an excellent opportunity to obtain background information on the trials and tribulations of the various associations. From countries with little framework such as Portugal, Finland to those with more formal legislation such as France. We all have very similar problems!
One of the key issues identified was the real solid wall facing small SUAS companies looking to work further afield. Members spend a great deal of time (and money) complying with NAA rules and cannot look further afield due to cost and red tape.
It was agreed that any event would need to be extremely affordable and wide reaching to attract cash strapped members to a European event. Any event would be 16-18 months away so Brexit may have a baring on this. I raised the point that at this stage it was unlikely a large percentage of ARPAS-UK members would attend an event in Amsterdam unless some critical mass could be created by absorbing industry trade shows into one location and creating real tangible business opportunities for our members.
Moving forward it was agreed that all present would feed into the next business canvas to be created by RAI but at this stage there is no commitment from ARPAS-UK.
My conclusion is that it was a worthwhile exercise as we can now put names to faces in many of the European countries where our members wish to work.
Most of the decision making happens in Europe and for ARPAS-UK to be a valued contributor at the table and one of the largest RPAS trade associations in Europe is something we can all be proud of.
I would conclude by stating that meeting all the other European trade associations was of considerable value and that it was at least as worthwhile as the conference meeting itself!
Matt Harmsworth- ARPAS-UK Vice Chairman