By Alan Mak, Havant MP
In the not too distant future, new technology offers many possibilities, none more so than drones. The versatility of drones will enable us to do everything from repair buildings, surveillance of infrastructure and delivery of internet shopping.
I was able to see this tantalising vision during a recent visit to futuristic Emsworth-based company iRed, which is putting much of this new drone technology into action.
By 2025 it is estimated the industry will be worth around £102 billion to the UK economy, and in the new technological age known Fourth Industrial Revolution, drones will be as important as cars, trains and planes are today.
The government is taking a strong regulatory position in ensuring there are safeguards to protect the public in terms of safety, privacy and security. That will include 'geo-fencing' which acts like an invisible shield around sensitive areas.
The technology, which works on GPS coordinates, is built into the drone and stops it from entering zones such as prisons or airport space. The government is putting in place measures to ensure drone users have the right training so that they don’t endanger the public.
That’s why I was delighted to visit fast-growing local business iRed, which is specialising in not only using drones to survey sites with thermal imaging cameras, but also offering training courses in the use of the safe use of the technology.
The Queen Street firm employs 11 staff and trains hundreds of people in the use of thermography.
Thermal imaging using drone technology is used in the building, electrics, veterinary and solar industries amongst many others. One of its popular products is the search and rescue drone package that is being purchased by emergency services across the country.
The company is a fantastic example of a local-business exploiting opportunities created by disruptive new technology to secure jobs and grow the local economy.
With similar businesses following iRed’s lead, Britain will be in an excellent position to lead the world in advanced technology.