The Commercial UAV show London 2019

The Commercial UAV show London 2019

by Declan Burke

Red eye flights are best thought of as a great idea 3 months ago but on a wet windy cold morning as I drag my unnecessarily large case onto the shuttle bus for a 2 day London visit, I’m beginning to question the sanity of such a venture.  

Hard to beat the cost of this trip though, Ryanair flights at 4.99 each way to London Gatwick can’t be beaten and early registration allows free access to the Commercial UAV show 2019, complete with a full program of talks over the 2 days, albeit to a small targeted group of interested parties.  

Hall S 1 at the impressive Excel centre on the Thames at Royal Victoria dock hosts this annual event and although this is my first visit, I navigate easily from Gatwick to the venue using the excellent transport links. 


My badge collected, I eagerly do a preliminary circuit of the hall to get a flavour of who’s who and what’s what. 


Surprisingly no big name stands, absent are DJI, Parrot etc although resellers are here with added value offerings for consideration.  



First call for me are the tethering solutions now being offered for off the shelf systems. It seems counter intuitive to physically tie down an aerial camera but it seems more and more regulatory bodies are favouring this approach to certain operations. Big advantage to this system by Elistair is the power over tether and relative lightness of the tether allowing a height of 250 ft. Used with an inspire2 one onboard battery is retained for failsafe should power be cut from the ground!



An eye watering 11 k will set you up, drone not included!


Next up was Gdpr guru Rachel Finn of Drone rules fame.  


Dundalk and London based Rachel  working for Trilateral Research and funded by the European Union offer an excellent free online interactive guide for both pro and hobbyists to help navigate the privacy minefield that is gdpr for uav users!


Access it here



After lunch sat through 3 talks on a “drones for good” topic, varied usages from planting trees from the air to medicine deliveries in developing countries. Bvlos is key in this area and many universities are onboard developing safe methodologies.  


In the end though it will be the regulators that have the final say



A big reason to come to London was to see what new offerings in the photogrammetry/mapping/inspection world would be there. Sterbleu, Pix4d, Capturingreality,Topcon to name but a few were giving talks and one on ones at their stands. The number of similar if less well known players in this field that exhibited there too underlined to me the appetite for uav application there is in this industry-follow the money!  

Pix4d launched Pix4dreact at the show, aimed at disaster and SAR first responders, it allows rapid automated maps to be drawn up on basic equipment without the need for cloud processing. A 2 d orthorectified photo/map from 500 images processed in minutes as opposed to hours is the usp. Accuracy is submeter but a future release may allow gcp alignment to bring ppk options to hand in the field!  



All in all, a great show, squarely aimed at pros but perhaps lacking in the broader field of commercial applications. No media or similar companies offerings on view and although a display cage was erected no demonstrations took place.  

Maybe next year!