Following on the first part of our article on European CEOs to follow, we are excited to present the next six leaders from the drone industry. We received an enormous amount of feedback and suggestions from our readers following the publication of the first part. We would love to highlight that this list is not a ranking rather a suggestion to boost your awareness and LinkedIn feeds with news and meaningful content
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Florian Reuter started his career as a top management consultant in the USA and in Asia. Before entering into the mobility business, Florian created technology start-ups for Siemens and internally worked with its innovation team. He quickly understood the market potential of the UAM industry, so he set up VOLOCOPTER in 2011.
The company rapidly became one of the booming eVTOL companies globally, with projects in Japan, Korea, USA, Italy, Malaysia and Dubai. Florian is particularly proud of Volocopter's strategy for the French market. "The alliance of the Paris region, Groupe ADP, and RATP Groupe and their intent to bring electric air taxis to France is an example of the collaborative approach we see to be the most successful for adding this exciting category of mobility to cities globally," he says.
One of the company's bold ambitions is to bring electric air taxi service in time for the 2024 Olympic Games. On 21st June 2021, Volocopter was in the spotlight due to its first flight in France during the famous Paris Air Forum. This project confirmed the company's willingness to pioneer such demanding services with so many challenges: certification, integration, and public acceptance, especially in big cities. By now the company has more than 400 employees: more info.
Their flagship product, the Volocity, may become one of the first certified eVTOL. Also on the product line is the Volodrone, a heavy-lift cargo delivery drone with a payload 200 kg currently undergoing flight testing: more info.
As an influencer in the space, Volocopter has published a white paper on Urban Air Mobility this year: more info. It discusses the complexity of the ecosystem around the aircraft and it gives a broad perspective on UAM and how Volocopter plans to implement its UAM services in cities like Singapore and Paris.
Florian is moving forward with an ambitious international strategy. What shows this clearer, than signing more and more international contracts?
With NEOM, a futuristic city in development in Saudi Arabia, Volocopter will be providing eVTOL operations within the next 2-3 years. The German-based company has entered into a joint venture with a Saudi Arabian partner to accomplish this project.
In South Korea, Volocopter has signed a memorandum of understanding with Kakao Mobility (a Korean company) to conduct a feasibility study on introducing UAM on the Korean Peninsula. The Korean aviation sector is one of the most promising and inspiring when it comes to innovation, so it is a natural step forward that this country is trying to be the pioneer in introducing UAM services by 2025.
Follow him on LinkedIn here for the latest about UAM and VOLOCOPTER
Svilen Rangelov, CEO and Founder of Dronamics is a Bulgarian entrepreneur who, together with his brother, decided to revolutionize drone deliveries and cargo transportation.
He has extensive experience in project management, marketing, and business development. He has been developing many start-ups, focused on innovation, but he ultimately landed in the UAV sector with a vision of affordable airfreight for everyone.
Currently, Dronamics is launching their European Droneport Network with an ambition to include more than 35 airports in several European countries, connecting 300 million people: more info.
The company objective is to offer same-day delivery of goods everywhere. The 'droneports' will be serviced by same-day flights using the Black Swan large cargo drones, each with a capacity of 350 kg and range of 2,500 km, a ceiling of 22000 ft. These drones can operate from unpaved runways, 400 meters long, and will enable Dronamics to serve customers in even the smallest and most remote communities.
Their operation promises to reduce time, cost, and emissions by 50-80 % compared to traditional air cargo.
Recently DRONAMICS submitted its application for the light UAS operator certificate (LUC) to Malta Civil Aviation Authority.
This is an important step towards the flight authorization for the first flights with the full-scale Black Swan aircraft which are scheduled for 2022.
Svilen is actively signing partnerships with delivery companies to grow their business, for example DHL for middle-mile deliveries, and HELLMAN Logistics and Friedrichshafen Airport.
Follow Svilen here on Linkedin; we love his posts and reshares about innovation, women in tech, investments and, of course, UAVs.
Thomas Neubauer -TEOCO and Dimetor
Thomas Neubauer is VP of Business Development and Innovations at TEOCO, and Co-founder of Dimetor. He has 20 years of experience in the management of wireless networks. He holds a PhD in telecommunications engineering from the Vienna University of Technology. He has already successfully co-founded and exited two start-ups. Currently, Thomas is a co-creator and inventor of AirborneRF, a software solution specialized to connect cellular network operators with aviation (ATM/UTM/FIMS) systems. He describes the solution as a bridge between the aviation world and mobile service providers where redundancy is the key.
“Unmanned aviation is more than connectivity. Drones are at the nexus of breakthrough technologies: Internet of Thing applications sent via the airspace, or, in other words, Aerial IoT. Aerial IoT will revolutionize the way services are delivered. To make that happen, the digitalization of airspace lays the foundation for these services.“ says Thomas.
AirborneRF helps to digitize the airspace and truly understand aerial connectivity. It not only provides essential information on the availability of robust connectivity in the intended airspace of operations but is capable to provide information about ground and air risk by assessing crowd movements in real-time.
AirborneRF delivers this information to the drone operators and to the air traffic management systems early in the flight planning phase, for flight clearing and in real-time during flight operations, so the drone operators can make better and safer decisions from the dynamic data.
AirborneRF is already implemented by tier-one telecom providers in APAC, Europa and North America.
On behalf of the ACJA (Aerial Connectivity Joint Activity), Thomas is leading the "Interface for data exchange between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and UTM ecosystem" Work Group, focusing on global standardization of interfaces between cellular and unmanned aviation systems including 4G, 5G technologies.
Follow Thomas here on LinkedIn and keep yourself up to date about how to utilise connectivity for added value services in the drone ecosystem.
Vadym Melnyk, founder and CEO at Dronehub, is a data science engineer by education with a deep understanding of data collection and database construction. He has gained knowledge and experience in robotics and machine learning in several countries, including the USA, Poland, and Spain. Since 2015 he has been leading Cervi Robotics company, which after a rebranding, became Dronehub in 2020.
He is passionate about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and data analytics. He has experience in developing advanced image recognition and analysis systems gained during many projects carried out in co-operation with Microsoft and Deutsche Telekom.
Fun fact: Vadym is also the initiator and founder of RoboSoccer - the world's first soccer game with pocket-size robots.
Dronehub is one of the European leaders in comprehensive drone-in-a-box solutions, including drones, drone infrastructure, and AI-powered software. The company claims to be the only manufacturer that offers monitoring, inspection, and measurement systems, cargo transport systems, and mobile ground infrastructure in one place. The company also claims to be one of the first European producers of docking stations with automatic battery recharging for drones. Drones can perform missions 24/7 without human intervention, thanks to this innovative solution.
Dronehub is an official partner of IBM. The company cooperates with the European Space Agency and the European Defense Agency.
Mr Ivo Boscarol is the founder, CEO and co-owner of Pipistrel Group companies with branches in Slovenia, Italy, Germany and China. He is the pilot and entrepreneur who laid the foundations for alternative flying in the home country already in the early 80s and set the aviation standards for the Microlight class on the global scale.
He is the designer and producer of the best ultra-light motor-gliders in the world, such as the Sinus (World champion 2001) and the Virus (two consecutive victories at the NASA Challenges in 2007 and 2008); the aeroplanes which accomplished several flights around the world and which still hold 11 world records.
The company saw a rapid expansion starting in 2017 and now counts more than 70 employees.
Pipistrel is the manufacturer of the world's most energy-efficient light aircraft and has been one of the pioneers of electric propulsion for the last 15 years.
Their UAV product, the Nuuva V300 is a revolutionary long-range large-capacity heavy-weight autonomous eVTOL for logistics and aerial cargo delivery. It features a hybrid-electric powertrain with dedicated lift and cruise propulsion systems. It uses eight independent, battery-powered Pipistrel E-811 certified electric engines and operates ten times more economical than today's helicopters and require no runway. After lift-off, it flies fully autonomously, controlled by a highly reliable, triple-redundant Flight Control System. The smaller version, the Nuuva V20, is designed as a lightweight cargo courier for up to 20 kg payloads.
Pipistrel is also developing and producing special mission vehicles for surveillance: in particular, the Surveyor platform, which can be piloted, optionally piloted or prepared as UAV. With the engine switched off, it can glide completely silent over the target, with a very low IR signature and radar reflection. Because of very low drag and power requirements, it can fly very long distances, have extreme endurance, and reach extreme altitudes.
Mr. Boscarol doesn't use LinkedIn (which shocked us…), but we love the company, so follow them on Linkedin or YouTube or keep reading about Ivo here.
Gemma Alcock - Skybound Rescuer
Gemma Alcock, a Bournemouth University graduate, is a search and rescue (SAR) drone specialist shaping the future with pioneering research into the use of drone technology. She is an award-winning innovator and respected thought-leader in using drones for public safety.
She founded SkyBound Rescuer in 2016. Her vision was to use drones for public safety and help all Emergency Services to benefit from the drone technology. She is the Lowland Rescue Director of Air Services, after previously fulfilling the role of Technical Development Lead for Air Operations.
Gemma leads the air services team, ensuring Lowland Rescue volunteers can work effectively and safely with SAR helicopters and drones, all across the UK.
In 2017, Gemma's company, SkyBound Rescuer, staged the world's first demonstration of an air crash drone rescue at the Emergency Services Show at the NEC.
"The demonstration is a significant step forward for UK lifesaving, showing the art of the possible for drone rescue" - she summarized.
Gemma was selected in a prestigious competition as the woman making the big difference in drones for SAR, receiving the 'Woman to Watch in UAS 2018' title.
Her work is focused on finding the right aerial solutions to support rescue operations in four key environments: night searches, mountain rescue, maritime and urban search and rescue. Where drones cannot yet complete a rescue operation, they can provide vital information on an environment before teams go in, pinpoint the location of a casualty, or even supply the resources needed to stabilize casualties before other services arrive.
SkyBound Rescuer innovates directly with Emergency Services to optimise their drone operations and create better drone solutions for public safety. The company also has a strong focus on education and regularly organizes workshops and events to share learnings and their research findings.
Gemma is extremely active on social media platforms, and have a strong voice about leadership, women in tech, drones and the environment. Follow her here.
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Joanna is DroneTalks senior business development manager. She has been supporting aviation companies in legal and public relations aspects for 17 years now. She has worked for leading air carriers on the European market and for many global aviation entities - manned and unmanned. She has unique experience in representing companies before the Civil Aviation Authority and in working with Air Navigation Service Providers. With regard to aviation sector entities, she specializes in antitrust law, intellectual property law, environmental protection issues (including aviation noise), as well as new technology and personal data protection. She is the author of the social campaign concerning digitization and integration of manned aviation with drones, carried out at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport, which was partnered by the Ministry of Digitization and 20 companies from the drone sector. She has been organizing many conferences and webinars devoted to drones and to the airline business.
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