New Zealand’s UAV tech takeover

Chris Thomson, Callaghan Innovation’s Aviation Sector Manager attended NAB in Las Vegas this April. With five New Zealand companies on board he wraps up from four days of technology mayhem.

From 18-21st April a group of NZ UAV technology companies were on stage at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas.

Callaghan Innovation sponsored the New Zealand UAV Technology Pavilion as the final part of the C-Prize competition (next generation UAV technology for the screen industry). NAB  is the largest show on earth for media and broadcast technology with more than 100,000 attendees and 1,800 exhibitors from around the world. In short; NAB is a crazy-big business bonanza for cameras, film equipment, editing software, virtual reality gear, and much more. The show features a dedicated area for “aerial robotics” and this is where the NZ crew set up camp.


The NZ Pavillion at NAB


C-Prize winners Vortec UAV showed off their thrust-vectoring technology, with their cycloidal gyroscope (pictured) drawing lots of attention. The lads made excellent connections with all the major drone manufacturers as they build multiple opportunities to commercialise their IP. Ex DJI and 3D Robotics drone guru Colin Guinness looked like a kid at Christmas!


Vortec’s popular stand at NAB


Aeronavics were on their fifth trip to NAB and their experience shone through in the quality and presentation of their products. As the industry matures so does the knowledge of their customers who help build their reputation even further.

Dotterel Technologies, another C-Prize finalist, found a true niche as the only company offering active and passive noise cancellation systems for UAVs. The potential for this NZ start-up was recognised as they won the “Most Innovative Product” award at the show by Newshooter. This was a massive achievement considering the number of products on show, and they are off to a great start with incredible media and market interest.

Wipster (video editing software) and Britten Aero (film production and UAV products) rounded out the team with some great results. Wipster were in full business development mode with Vimeo and Adobe while Sam hit a home run, signing a non-disclosure agreement with DJI for future product development!

It was great to connect with some of the other NZ companies at the show including Shotover Camera Systems (CEO Brad Hurndell was so busy he lost his voice!), the Syrp boys (definitely the cool kids), Park Road, Weta, Maori TV, Pango Productions, Moxion and more.


The NZ contingent at NAB


NAB is a huge stage for technology companies but it was amazing to see the representation from NZ Inc. To use an unverified cliche; per capita of population I’m sure NZ was punching well above its weight.

Talking about NZ companies at NAB, Bailey Mackey from Pango Production summed up the story beautifully: don’t be afraid to pump your own tyres, be confident on an international stage and celebrate what we’re good at.

NAB was a great example of this and Callaghan Innovation is keen to continue working with Airshare and UAVNZ to build a world class industry in NZ.


About Callaghan Innovation

Business. Technology. Success.
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