Drone market approaching!?

How research sees the drone market

Everybody speaks about drones. But is it a hype or a market? Is there a chance to build a sustainable market with an international impact? Do we have the chance to generate the predicted amount of revenue out of the market?

Prof. Dr. Del Re is the director of the Institute for unmanned systems. His institute worked at an research project for the German Federal Ministry of Justice to enlighten the drone market.

His point of view, generated out of research and data will give you a slightly different view on the drone market. He will enlighten data-related decisions and his point of view.



BUVUS-Team: Prof. Dr. Del Re, the Institute for Unmanned Systems (IuS) carried out a research project for the Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJV).

How do the results of this research effect your impression of the market development?


Prof. Dr. Andreas T. Del Re: The results helped us to get an impression on various market developments that are based on plain data instead of perception. We took at close look at several research results and collected data from different institutions to draw a fact driven picture about the current status quo. This picture clearly gives the impression that every single contemplation of the market is very diversified but every aspect is linked to another. One key task was to identify the specific hazards that go along with the increase of unmanned aircraft systems and remotely piloted aircraft systems in our society. This task is absolutely incomplete if you don’t take rules and regulations, technology, applications, economic influences, perception of society, existing processes, political circumstances and many other aspects into consideration. Taking this interdisciplinary point of view in combination with plain existing data we could show some existing causes and effects of current developments. The research project also helped to understand that there are several stakeholders with different impressions and perceptions about the market and that solutions are often driven by special interests rather than real needs. This makes it hard to sketch a single market development overall.


BUVUS-Team: Everybody speaks about the “future markets” or the “new internet”. Concerning drones and unmanned systems - is it already a market or just a trend?


Prof. Dr. Andreas T. Del Re: There is a definite market. It is not a mature market. The market is still at the stage of introduction. We see many early adopters with a lot of products and solutions that are far from product market fit. But we also face a very dynamic market with some fields reaching growth stage. Research and development activities for example are growing at a high scale concerning the number of projects the companies getting involved and the volume of tenders. The discussion we face is based on the perception that a huge mature market will be their over night and that the return of invest will happen within less than one year. The potential of the technology will unfold over a longer period of time depending on the many aspects I mentioned earlier.


BUVUS-Team: Where do you see problems for the market development – what are the showstoppers regarding your analytics?


Prof. Dr. Andreas T. Del Re: A big issue is that gears do not interlock at this point in time. There are no standards, no common rules and regulations, no international uniformity, no harmonized voices, no consistent solutions, no equal processes, no transparent administrations and no binding overlays. This decreases the speed everyone is looking and hoping for in the market development. Therefore a lot of measures taking are too complex and fail accelerating the market. But we do not see a real showstopper. Supply and demand will at the end handle the market development and the existing issues will be overcome. It will just take longer.


BUVUS-Team: There will be a new LuftVO (Air regulation) for Germany. Beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) will be possibly opened for commercial flights. What will be the market impact?


Prof. Dr. Andreas T. Del Re: Yes, BVLOS flights for RPAS will be possible under certain conditions that yet need to be clearly defined. It is really hard to tell how this will effect the market, because we do not know the exact provisions of implementation yet. So the impact on the market depends on how permissions will be granted and how processes will be designed and implemented. Therefore a precise forecast can not be given at this point in time. We do expect an ongoing growth concerning R&D activities. We still doubt that the possibility of granted BVLOS permissions alone will cause a break through at a large scale. Within limited areas and airspace especially around objects the modification could help improve a lot of applications. 


BUVUS-Team: What do you expect from the CeBIT Unmanned Systems & Solutions?


Prof. Dr. Andreas T. Del Re: I expect a growing understanding of different aspects of the value chain for all market players. So we are not only expecting a lot of solutions but also a lot of challenges that will be adressed. As the interest in these technologies grow the Institute for unmanned Systems at Northern Business School in Hamburg is there to be a partner to solve specific industry needs and issues in alle phases of new value chains.


Thank you for this interview and the answers.


Prof. Dr. Andreas Del Re is the director of the Institute for unmanned Systems at Northern Business School in Hamburg and the responsible coordinator of the research field of economics concerning unmanned systems. He is professor for accounting and has a long standing in business valuation. He was resposible for several portfolio managements, ratings and acquisitions for several european corporations. He released several publications on ratings and valuations as well as the impact of information and communication technologies. Prof. Dr. Del Re advises companies on how to implement and use unmanned technologies on a solid economic basis in various industries.

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Artificial swarm intelligences are taking over

How Artificial intelligence will enhance unmanned systems

Artificial Intelligence and unmanned systems - no other connection of innovative developments and technologies is as crushing as this one.

With a bunch of knowledge in this field, Fabian is the leading human Venture Capital Investor for Artificial Intelligence. His passion lies in Artificial Intelligence and its impact on society. 

Additional he organizes the yearly Rise of AI conference to bring entrepreneurs, investors, media, politicians and scientists together. Furthermore he serves as coordinator for Artificial Intelligence at the German Association for Startups.  He enjoys speaking about Artificial Intelligence at events like TEDx, Bit&Pretzel and hub. Since 2011 he has been blogging about entrepreneurship, venture capital and the future on www.bootstrapping.me and favors 250,000 readers. 

He will enlighten Artificial Swarm Intelligences and their impact on society.


BUVUS-Team: Mr. Westerheide, you are speaking about artificial swarm technologies.

How does this technology match with unmanned systems?


Fabian Westerheide: The success of unmanned systems depends on swarm intelligence. We humans have limited capabilities to control more than a few objects at the same time. We need systems, we adapt, learn and fuillfill missions without steering each object ourself. You as a human will give a strategic order and the artificial swarm autonomous systems will accomplish the mission.


BUVUS-Team: Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) pure science or is it the next step in our technological development?


Fabian Westerheide: Artificial Intelligence already exists. It is real and not fiction. However I tend to call them Narrow AIs. These are system, which are very good at a given task and even suceed humans: playing chess, playing Go, playing Poker, driving cars, controlling fleets of autonomous objects, trading stocks, writing large quantity of text, translation and more. However they are currently limited to transfer the knowledge to other fields. A Poker AI can’t drive a car. A truck-driving AI can’t trade stocks.  


BUVUS-Team: How will “Artificial swam technologies” change the innovation and technology of unmanned systems?


Fabian Westerheide: Artificial swarm technology is critical for unmanned systems. If we want to run large scale operations and missions, these systems have to act autonomous within their given orders. Only with adding sufficient intelligence and autonomity, the swarm can act on its own.

The next generation of cars, trucks, planes, subways, drones, submarines will be autonmous. Within given rules, they can make own decision. Therefore less people are needed to navigate, drive and steer each object. With less people you have more control over larger fleets. Technology helps us to scale. This idea is nothing new: large companies, states and the army follow this principle for centuries. Someone makes strategic decisions and somewhere else these decisions are executed. However now smart machines will execute the human goals. Less humans needed.


BUVUS-Team: I can see a very interesting impact of ethical questions when it comes to AI. Where do you see the actual difficulties?


Fabian Westerheide: Machines make less mistakes than humans, but there will be learnings. We need openess for machine errors, when they hurt humans. We need an open discussion to adapt and maybe to provide the right regulartory frameworks. The surivial of the human society needs to be guranteed, but technological progress can’t be stopped.  


BUVUS-Team: What do you expect from the CeBIT Unmanned Systems & Solutions?


Fabian Westerheide: Interesting conversations and new contacts.


Thank you for this interview and the answers.


Fabian is CEO of Asgard - human Venture Capital for Artificial Intelligence. His passion lies in Artificial Intelligence and its impact on society. 

He has worked with, started and invested in over 35 companies such as Delivery Hero, Team Europe, Point Nine Capital, Soundbrenner, Accelerated Dynamics, Parlamind, Micropsi Industries or Wunsch-Brautkleid.de in the European digital ecosystem. 

Additional he organizes the yearly Rise of AI conference to bring entrepreneurs, investors, media, politicians and scientists together. Furthermore he serves as coordinator for Artificial Intelligence at the German Association for Startups.  He enjoys speaking about Artificial Intelligence at events like TEDx, Bit&Pretzel and hub. Since 2011 he has been blogging about entrepreneurship, venture capital and the future on www.bootstrapping.me and favors 250,000 readers. 

Fabian holds a Master degree in Strategic and International Management from the University of St. Gallen and a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University of Münster. 

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The new German Unmanned Aircraft Law

New ways for German Air law?

The new German Unmanned Aviation Law marks a step in the right direction but is far from fostering innovation by establishing legal security and unburdening from administrative expenditures. The competent authorities of the federal states will have to reach an agreement on a common granting practice in order to create economy-friendly framework conditions. Otherwise, the promise of a “Single European Sky” remains unfulfilled even if it is narrowed down to a “Single German Sky”.


Timo Stellpflug, lawyer at Taylor Wessing, will enlighten several questions concerning the new German Air Regulation.


BUVUS-Team: Mr. Stellpflug, the German administration just released a new Air Transport Regulation concerning UAS/ Drones. What are the main differences regarding the new version of the regulation?


Timo Stellpflug: There are some quite significant adjustments. First of all, the new regulation establishes a labelling obligation for unmanned aircraft systems weighing more than 250 grams in order to improve the chance of tracing back an unmanned aircraft system and identifying its user and holder. Unmanned aviation therefore is going to become more transparent which is to be welcomed from a misuse prevention perspective. Furthermore, users of unmanned aircraft systems with an initial weight of more than 2 kilograms have to prove certain knowledge that is needed to operate the system safely. This obligation can usually be fulfilled by a corresponding certificate issued by an approved aerial sports club.

More importantly for the commercial utilisation, the operation of unmanned aircraft systems weighing more than 5 kilograms will require a permit in the future. This actually represents a considerable improvement in practical use cases compared to the current regulation in which the obligation to gain permission applies to all unmanned aircraft systems. The same can be said of the authorities’ power to permit out-of-sight-flights which in my view marks an overdue step in terms of unfolding the unmanned aircraft market’s full economic potential.

Nonetheless, the bureaucratic expenditures and need for coordination with the competent authorities will, as expected, remain high and most likely hamper the uptake of innovation. Moreover, from the aspects of equality, unification and legal security it is a point of criticism that the new law does not seize the opportunity to specifiy the requirements for an out-of-sight-flight permit. This opens up large and questionable discretionary powers.

At present it should be borne in mind that we are talking about a decision template. Thus the proposed regulation may be adjusted by the legislative bodies until a final version of the law is passed, although major changes seem to be unlikely by this stage. However, it is also to be considered that the entire business and the releated use cases are developing fastly and, thus, adjustments in the near furture to the legal framework for the use and operation of unmanned aircarft systems will be required based on an evaluation of the just amended new Air Transport Regulation concerning UAS/ Drones


BUVUS-Team: Is there a checklist you would recommend a service provider with UAS/ Drones to protect their business?


Timo Stellpflug: Obviously, within an emerging and innovation-driven market, trade secrets and technological advantages are at threat. The corresponding risks can be reduced by arranging individually adjusted Non-Disclosure-Agreements, raising the internal risk-awareness and establishing the necessary protective measures both on data protection and data security level. Moreover, concluding contractual arrangements with leading employees can be an important step in order to restrain competition and protect trade secrets. In the end, the measure’s suitability and effectiveness depend on the individual corporate structure and business model as well as the circle of persons having access to sensitive information.


BUVUS-Team: What would you recommend professional UAS/ Drone users to do before signing a contract with an industrial costumer?


Timo Stellpflug: One of the most important initial steps is the professional exchange with competent authorities right from the project’s outset. Both, drone users and industrial customers should name contact persons, demarcate their responsibilities and comply with permission requirements.

Within this coordination process, a detailed plan should be compiled, dealing with, inter alia, the following questions: Which goods are to be transported? Which services shall be provided by way of UAS operation? Which distances need to be covered? Which routes need to be served? On this basis, a legal concept of how to implement the project in accordance with statutory law and how to approach the competent authority should be developed. Duration, content and scope of the cooperation should be fixed. Moreover, addressing questions of liability and compensation at the earliest possible stage is always strongly advisable.


BUVUS-Team: What is the biggest legal challenge for companies entering the drone business?


Timo Stellpflug: This depends on the company’s concrete business model: manufacturers should place a strong focus on product liability questions whereas logistic providers willing to make use of unmanned aircraft systems for freight transport services need to pay special attention to the changes recently made to Air Traffic Regulation. Generally speaking, the main obstacles to overcome are formed by potential requirements for out-of-sight-flights as well as the adjustments in terms of flight bans, e.g. above residential estates. Compliance with statutory permission requirements that might apply plays a crucial part, too. Overall, the new legal framework still does not ensure a common permit granting practice by the authorities. This is very dissatisfying for company founders and start-ups, but can be dealt with on the basis of close cooperation with the competent authorities and accurate observance of the legal development.


BUVUS-Team: What do you expect from the CeBIT Unmanned Systems & Solutions?


Timo Stellpflug: From my point of view, the CeBit Unmanned Systems & Solutions program of events accurately reflects the rapidly increased interest both in the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems as well as in the accompanying legal and technical challenges faced by the industry. I am particularly looking forward to witness live performances and gain insights into world novelties that document the innovative capacity of the Unmanned Systems & Solutions Sector. Thankfully, the BUVUS network night will provide for the opportunity to discuss this field’s immense potential with experts from around the world but also will contribute to the importantly needed attention with regard to poaching ensured by the AirShepherd initiative and to support the goal of the Lindbergh Foundation to balance technology and environment.


Thank you for this interview and the answers.


Timo Stellpflug is a member of the Projects and Technology Industry Area in our Hamburg office. The focus of his advice is commercial and contractual law and advising on international large scale technology projects concerning industrial plant construction and information technology. His practice covers the entire process from the drafting and negotiation of the relevant contracts through the implementation and completion of the project including the warranty period.

He represents clients in the context of disputes both in and out of court. Timo was also seconded to the headquarters of a US American S&P 500-rated company which allowed him to extend his sector and industry expertise. In addition, he has profound knowledge and experience in advising public clients in the course of large-volume procurement projects. Whilst studying law - with a focus on information technology law and intellectual property - he supervised projects in India, the Czech Republic and Denmark for a leading automobile supplier.


Timo Stellpflug speaks regularly on legal aspects of unmanned aircraft systems, most recently at the UASympEx 2016, Hamburg, hosted by the BUVUS (Federal Association for Unmanned Systems) in cooperation with Taylor Wessing.


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Flying blood

Flying for good is awesome - flying blood is even better

Building use cases is a market trend. Building really good use cases is once more a focus of very distinguished personnel. Dr. med. Dennis Göbel and Anja Ellis from AGAPLESION Frankfurter Diakonie Kliniken gGmbH in Frankfurt/Germany als researching and developing a blood transfusion transportation system based on drones.


State of the art medical development is happening in Germany - and we are about to discover the cutting edge technology.


BUVUS-Team: Dr. Göbel, you are working as the CEO for the AGAPLESION FRANKFURTER DIAKONIE KLINIKEN gGmbH in Frankfurt.

You developed a system for blood supply via UAS/ Drones. Can you state in a short how this works?


Dr Göbel:

Every year the number of ambulance call-outs is increasing in Germany, as well as the number of accidents which occur trying to reach injured people. When every second counts while driving to an emergency, ambulances need to navigate through rush hour traffic as well as windy country lanes, often resulting in slow responses. The number of deaths resulting from delayed ambulance arrivals in the last couple of years in Germany has been increasing, however no official statistics currently exist. Another increasing problem is the number of accidents involving Ambulances while on route to call outs. With increasing numbers of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians on today’s roads, unnecessary collisions involving Ambulances has resulted in increasing fatalities and subsequent costs.

For those reasons the AGAPLESION Frankfurter Diakonie Kliniken gGmbH created the so called “Blood drone”. This drone can fly in less than 5 minutes from one hospital to another hospital, less than 3,6 miles away in the same town. Wherever blood is needed the drone would be able to fly from one hospital to another. Also specific transfusion regulation would be taken care of, while transferring the blood in a isolated box which includes a so called ‘logger’. The logger monitors the temperatures the entire way from A to B.


BUVUS-Team: Blood supply is needed and rare all over the world. Can you imagine to expand your business from the local utilization and to enhance ground blood supply in the whole country with your air support?


Dr. Göbel: The whole Healthcare Industry could benefit from the Drone-Transport when it comes to emergencies. Even if we would just think about the big disasters like Airplane-crashes, Railway-accidents or big car accidents with hundreds of injured people. Just the transport of all these patients would cost a lot of time, time which is often essential. The regular emergency management exercises (for example SOGRO MANV 500 in Frankfurt/Main) are  usually taking place on times – without any rush hour problems. Imagine such scenarios on a Friday afternoon or Monday morning. The drone is there to deliver that blood within minutes directly to the accident scene.

The transport of blood in urban areas is only one of many use cases. A Dutch Graduate student of the TU Delft developed already a prototype of an ambulance drone, which delivers the defibrillator to cardiac arrested patients. Even in countryside or disaster areas we could use drones for urgent medication, searching for injured people or any medical support via telephone communication. The drone is usually faster in difficult to access areas, helping to save lives.


BUVUS-Team: How did you manage to break the obligated line of sight operations in Germany?


Dr. Göbel: Due to the german regulations we are only allowed to fly VLOS – which means to fly within eye-sight. Currently we are trying to setup a security guideline according to the drafted law in collobaration with the german air navigation service. After a succesful stresstest we are hopefully going to reach our first milestone to get from the responsbile department the allowence for a time limited model project to fly BVLOS between our two hospitals in Frankfurt – only for emergincy flights.


BUVUS-Team: What is your future vision for UAS/ Drones regarding the medical markets environment?


Dr. Göbel: Considering the number of accidents with motorcycles on weekends, which usually occur in hard to reach areas, the future could see hospitals being able to quickly deliver a neutral blood group directly to accident victims, instead of paramedics needing to load the victims onto the Ambulance and bringing the victim to the Hospital, hence saving valuable time. The duty of Drones could see an immense step forward in helping to save lives, a technological breakthrough which we are committed to help turn into a reality on a global scale.


BUVUS-Team: What do you expect from the CeBIT Unmanned Systems & Solutions?


Dr. Göbel: We are looking to team up with like-minded people in order to aid the continual development of new system ideas, helping to reach our goal. As technological research has continued to advance, we have seen the development and implementation of many interessting UAS versions with increasingly detailed and secure systems. We are looking forward to the implementation of further technological advancements in the future.  


Thank you for this interview and the answers.


Dr. Dennis Göbel

Dr. Dennis Göbel studied human medicine. He was active at several different hospitals and at different scales ranging from surgery, casualty surgery to anesthesia. He works as a consultant for anaesthesia since 1995 and achieved a hospital graduate in business management (2001). Since 2008 he is chairman of the AGAPLESION Frankfurter Diakonie Kliniken management.

In addition he is authorized attorney of the health group AGAPLESION gAG.

Anja Ellis

With over 10 years experence in the Hospital Industry I am currently working as Assistant of the CEO of the AGAPLESION Frankfurter Diakonie Kliniken gGmbH in Frankfurt/Germany.


Prior to my current role I was based in a Hospital in Viernheim where I held leadership positions overseeing the Patient Management and Marketing Departments. During my University studies in Bavaria I was able to gain insight and hands-on experience in the Healthcare and Hospital Industries, as well as the rescue services throughtout the country.


With a broad range of experience, I have been part of the Drone Team at the AGAPLESION Frankfurter Diakonie Kliniken gGmbH since the very beginning. Combined with the medical background of our CEO Dr. Dennis Göbel and a wider hospital spectrum including a fully equipped laboratory, we are privileged to set up the first Blood Drone Project in Germany. Since 2014 we have been in contact with politicians and recently also with the flight security service in Frankfurt.

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Contributing to a new market - chip manufacturer on the rise!

Cutting Edge technology leading the way

Mr. Kruse Brandao is Advocacy Partner Secure Digital Identity at NXP Semiconductors Germany GmbH. He contributes by participating in the politics panel.

His initial statement for this panel is, that there has to be a discussion about requirements and available solutions but also about challenges on trust, identification, secure communication, data integrity, geo-fencing, sense & avoid and reliability for safe operations of UAVs. Blue prints from other segments running secure solutions on daily basis should help to find guidance. NXP as global leader in embedded processing, sensing, connectivity and security solutions offers co-creation to jointly address and fill the gaps to create winning UAV solutions supporting UAV regulation.  


BUVUS-Team: Mr. Kruse-Brandao, you will be participant in the politics panel. What is NXP’s view on unmanned systems?

Mr. Kruse-Brandao: NXP is a supplier for various products to support the safety of UAVs and therefore the safety of citizens. This global challenge needs the support of all stakeholders. As NXP we feel responsible to support UAV manufacturer and service provider in many applications associated to this challenge. As technology is often mentioned as being the solution to solve many of the upcoming UAV challenges we are often asked by policy makers about available technology but also what is needed in terms of R&D projects like H2020 or SESAR. Here we benefit from our leading position in secure connections as well as connected and automated driving.


BUVUS-Team: What kind of solutions is NXP providing for the upcoming problems in the UAS market?

Mr. Kruse-Brandao: NXP provides a hugh product portfolio for UAVs. This includes a Sensor Fusion Platform with related Microcontrollers, Processors, Electronic Speed Controller, Power Battery Management, Sensors like 3-axis-Gyro, Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Pressure und Altimeter, BLE, NFC, Secure UAV-ID, Radar, V2X communication, Secure Communication and Wireless Charging to mention a few.

The combination enables the UAV developers to enable the drone for responsible and safe flying based on latest geo-fencing data, a classified pilot license and access rights where necessary. Vehicle-2-Infrastructure (V2X) communication enable future Unmanned Traffic Management systems to identify UAVs and coordinate the U-Space accordingly, especially in urban areas.

Please also notice that NXP is very open for co-operation in joint R&D projects.


BUVUS-Team: The DFS announced last year, that we have around 400.000 drones in use in Germany. What is your demand if we look at these numbers when it comes to politics?

Mr. Kruse-Brandao:  We need rules and a legal framework for commercial drones on a European level that UAV operators can follow to enable those waiting 250+ commercial use cases. This inlcudes liable identification of UAVs, operators and pilots which fly safe and are - as we speak about connected IoT devices - robust against cyber attacks.

Additionally current R&D funds do not reflect the current awareness for UAV business opportunities. Enhancing the budgets for R&D and real live testing projects will foster the market and the leading position of German and European companies in this still young market.


BUVUS-Team: The German Administration just released a new Air Transport Regulation concerning Unmanned Aircraft Systems. What is your oppinion about that new regulation?

Mr. Kruse-Brandao: The new German Air Transport Regulation is a first step. It was important to have a first regulation in place. In a second step it is necessary to align this with the EASA approach while also taking the new challenges of cybersecurity into account. There is no automated driving of cars without related security as there will be no BVLOS flying of drones without the necessary security in place.


BUVUS-Team: What do you expect from the CeBIT Unmanned Systems & Solutions?

Mr. Kruse-Brandao: As NXP we provide technology for drones and related accessories and infrastructure.

To make reliable systems we need partners like UAV manufacturers, service providers and users to prepare commercial use cases in joint test beds supported by research institutes and administration to create the leading UAV network. Please join our vision!


Thank you for this interview and the answers.


Jacques is in the identification industry for  > 15y. Today Jacques advocates our partners on Security and Privacy in the hyper-connected world explaining the needs and available solutions related to Cyber Security. Before Jacques was in charge of Business Development for Emerging businesses in the field of Cyber Security in the ’IoT - Internet of Things’ focusing on ‘Connected Systems’ like Smart Grid, Smart Metering, Smart City, Smart Home, Building Automation and Energy Management Solutions. His patience is to setup Secure Connections in a smarter World.

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