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14 nov, 2023

100 participants for the DronePort Connect session on agricultural drone applications

On November 13, 2023, DronePort came alive with the buzz of innovation and collaboration as it hosted the DronePort Connect session, a day dedicated to exploring the use of drones in the agro-food sector. Organized in partnership with EUKA / Flanders Make, PC Fruit, ILVO, VITO, and Boerenbond, the event marked a significant gathering of professionals from the broad spectrum of the agrofood industry and developers or providers of drone applications.

Automation and AI are the future

The day unfolded at the innovative and inspirational campus of DronePort in Sint-Truiden, where about 100 attendees were welcomed. From the onset, the atmosphere was charged with excitement and curiosity. The program was a blend of informative keynotes and engaging pitches, alongside live demonstrations from companies showcasing their products and services in drone applications for the agrofood sector.

Significant strides made in the automation of drone applications, largely propelled by artificial intelligence, were a key focus. These advancements have made drones more accessible and increasingly versatile, opening new vistas in their application in the agro-food industry. The attendees had the unique opportunity to delve into various aspects of this technology, exploring its commercial viability and potential to revolutionize traditional farming methods.

A broad variety of possibilities

The scope of drone applications in agriculture was a highlight, illustrating how these aerial vehicles can be employed for tasks like crop monitoring, disease detection, yield prediction, inventory management, pesticide application, weed control, precision farming, wildlife detection, and even as a modern method for bird deterrence. These diverse applications demonstrated the vast potential of drones in enhancing efficiency and productivity in agriculture.

An integral part of the event was the interactive experience offered to the participants. They had the chance to network and form connections with about 15 companies and organizations that provided keynotes, business pitches or demonstrations. The networking sessions, complemented by a reception with lunch, allowed attendees to explore around ten booths of companies active in agricultural drones, like W2R, Droprise, Cybrid Thrust, Inflights and Gear Systems, and witness firsthand the innovative demonstrations by companies like Didex and Droneland.

Openings in legislation

However, the session didn’t shy away from addressing the legislative challenges surrounding the use of drones in agriculture. Discussions delved into the current legal framework, inspiring examples, and what might be possible now and in the future, providing a holistic view of the situation. Didier Decaestecker from Skeydrone elaborated on the difficult topic of the EU drone legislation in a very interesting presentation, explaining the current possibilities and the roadmap for the future.

Message from minister Jo Brouns

Although Vlaams Minister Jo Brouns of innovation and agriculture could not be present, he contributed with a video message underscoring the importance of innovation in agriculture. His announcement of a new sector agreement with Flanders Make, accompanied by additional funding, underscored the commitment to continued innovation in the agricultural sector, supported by strategic research.

Looking forward

DronePort Connect not only served as a platform for learning and discovery but also proved to be an ideal venue for networking and forming new connections in the rapidly evolving world of drones. The event was a testament to the growing significance of drone technology in agriculture and its potential to shape the future of the agro-food industry. As DronePort being, we are looking forward to organise a new series of DronePort Connect session, also diving into other applications domains of drones. To be continued… Stay tuned via our newsletter and social media!

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