Ireland could be ‘market leader ’ in commercial drones

Former Hailo chief executive sees potential in start-up culture

Jay Bregman, former Hailo chief executive, thinks Ireland is “well poised” to be a market leader in drones.

Jay Bregman, former Hailo chief executive, thinks Ireland is “well poised” to be a market leader in drones.

 

Jay Bregman, former Hailo chief executive, thinks Ireland is “well poised” to be a market leader in drones, or autonomous unpiloted flying machines, he told a packed room at the Web Summit. He cites the country’s existing tech start-up scene as an example of how a suitable ecosystem for drone software and support services could grow rapidly.

“When we came to Dublin people said we were crazy to launch in a city of only two million people, but the market was there and Ireland is now one of our biggest territories,” said Bregman, who has moved on from the world of taxis and is now part of 3D Robotics, a company making off-the-shelf drones that sell for between US$750 and US$5,000.

Economic potential

Jonathan DowneyAirwareChristian SanzSkycatch

“People are already getting used to the idea of drones in space, but flying directly above our heads? It will be a while before we see that,” said Sanz as he referenced the public image of these autonomous aerial vehicles as either remote war machines or a futuristic delivery machine that will drop packages to your door.

“The days of seeing drones flying around cities dropping things off is far away until we figure out the safety issues,” added Sanz, who commented that there are privacy concerns around drones taking unwanted pictures, for example, or the fear that they could collide with buildings, or worse.