The DroneWISE project Final Conference was held on May 20, 2022, in Amadria Park, in the city of Šibenik, Croatia. Over 40 participants joined the DroneWISE major event where they could find out all about the project and participate in a panel discussion.
A two-year EU project DroneWISE is almost finished and for the last conference Croatian partner RiniGARD, who managed the event, chose the Amadria Park Šibenik. May is a perfect time to visit coastal part of Croatia, avoiding tourist crowds and summer heat, while Amadria Park Šibenik was an excellent venue to gather the DroneWISE partners and invite professionals to participate in the event.
The Conference started at 9 AM with a welcome speech of Dr. Holger Nitsch, a project coordinator from the University of Applied Sciences for Public Service in Bavaria, Germany. Next followed Mr. Filip Biočić, Head of Unmanned Systems Department by Croatian Rescue Mountain Service.
Dr. Nitsch started with the main topic and presented the DroneWISE project in general, its objectives and implementation phases.
Over the next few hours, project partners presented outputs of the project, especially the developed counter-UAV training programme that aims to improve first-responder agencies’ coordination in response to UAV terrorist attacks in public spaces. The following partners presented all the modules that can be found on the DroneWISE Counter-UAV Training Platform:
- Modules 1-3 – Mr. Andrew Staniforth, Saher Europe OÜ, Estonia
- Modules 4-5 – Mrs. Jelena Levak, RiniGARD Ltd, Croatia
- Modules 6-7 – Dr. Holger Nitsch, The University of Applied Science for Public Services in Bavaria
- Modules 8-9 – Mr. Efstathios Skarlatos & Mr. Josif Levis, KEMEA – Center for Security Studies, Greece
- Module 10 – Dr. Borislav Mavrov, European Institute Foundation, Bulgaria
Besides the training evaluation findings that Mr. Antonio Klobučar and Mrs. Jana Miriovsky presented, Mr. Andrew Staniforth made an introduction to the DroneWISE counter-UAV Handbook. As an important part of the DroneWISE project, Mrs. Jelena Levak from RiniGARD presented the DroneWISE Training Portal which includes the training modules presented earlier during the conference.
The closing part of the Conference was a long and very productive panel discussion that opened some new and challenging questions and introduced insights on the latest trends regarding C-UAV technology, experience from practitioners and why we need further research.
The panel, moderated by Dr. Krishna Chandramouli, welcomed Mr. Filip Biočić (Croatian Mountain Rescue Service), Mr. Joerg Toepfer (German Federal Police) and Mrs. Fani Arapoglou (Hellenic Police). Conference participants eagerly asked questions, especially officers from the European Commission (DG HOME) and police officers, debated the mentioned challenges and received more insights from the panellists.
The closing remarks were made by the project coordinator Dr. Holger Nitsch, University of Applied Sciences for Public Service in Bavaria.
As panellists mentioned, first responders are aware that 99% of drone flights are illegal flights, but the question is, should we and how to control the drone market because a drone is still seen as a toy among the general public. We are all easy on buying and using drones, but at the same time, we are not prone to legal control even when misuse of drones becomes the top story of daily newspapers. We for sure need more vigorous regulation and monitoring.
A day before the main event, participants were encouraged to participate in the latest C-UAV technology demonstrations, showing how we can detect and classify drone flights and legally take control over the aircraft.
RiniGARD Ltd did an impressive job organising the Conference and the chosen destination was just a cherry on top to fulfil this first gathering of DroneWISE partners, first responders and the interested public.