The Heavy Chef Event on the 27th of June featured Heidi Patmore, investor, entrepreneur and all-out drone-aficionado.
Heidi Patmore, CEO of Stellaris Group, was our featured speaker on the 6th of July at Primedia Place, Johannesburg. Are flying cars a short-term reality or flight of fancy? This was the leading question for the event as Heidi divulged what a drone-filled sky would look like. A riveted Johannesburg audience was given a taste of what the future is going to look like - with a few surprises in store.
After Heidi's talk, our CEO Fred Roed hosted a panel featuring Heidi and two of the Africa's preeminent drone entrepreneurs - Sean Reitz (CEO, United Drone Holdings) and Raj Wanniappa (CEO, Future Horizon Technologies).
Fred grilled the panel on a range of topics, from security to privacy and accessibility. Toyota have a team of 30 engineers creating a flying car by 2020 - this is a lot sooner than many thought. Heidi and the panel revealed that our sky could be divided into "passageways" for drones, flying cars and planes within the next 10 years.
Flying cars have already been tested in Dubai. There are 15 companies with registered prototypes of flying cars and 6 of them are testing in the desert. There are going to be "Mini Jets" for personal use, flying cars that are hyperloop compatible, passenger drones for mega cities to lift up traffic and create less congestion and flying motorbikes are coming.
The South African marketplace:
The South African drone market is already estimated to be over R2 billion and this number is going to increase significantly over the next few years as drone industry (*ahem*) rises to the forefront of consumer consciousness. We are already using drones to measure agriculture, mining and conservation areas in South Africa.
The conclusion we can draw from July 6th event is that the future of drones in Africa is certainly exciting and the market is clearly in the right place for rapid expansion.