The UAE drone maker Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (Adasi) is eyeing the sale of commercial drones to companies in the energy sector.
On the sidelines of an event yesterday for next week’s Unmanned System Exhibition (Umex) to be held in Abu Dhabi, Adasi’s chief executive Ali Al Yafei said it was in talks with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
“We are in discussions with Adnoc to provide them with drones to monitor pipelines and detect leaks,” said Mr Al Yafei. Adasi, which comes under the umbrella of the Emirates Defence Industries Company, specialises in the manufacture of autonomous, or unmanned, systems for air, land and sea use.
By 2020, spending on unmanned systems in the GCC is expected to reach US$1 billion, and globally the industry is forecast to grow to $8.8bn by then.
The online retailer Amazon is already keen to fly drones to deliver products to its consumers. Other proponents of drones in commercial activities include Google and Intel, and they are lobbying the US Congress for more flexible rules.
The use of drones has been under regulatory scrutiny around the world. Currently, the UAE’s civil aviation authority requires a permit for the commercial and entertainment usage of drones.
In the US, the federal aviation administration requires that companies get a special permit to fly drones. An operator must fly the aircraft away from crowds and buildings and keep the drone in his sight.
As part of Abu Dhabi Aviation and Aerospace Week, Umex will start on Sunday with 90 international and local companies exhibiting this year, compared to 34 in 2015, organisers said yesterday.
About 22 countries will be participating in the fast-growing event this year.
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