Tech solution to be found in drones

Pilots of a different kind are part of a new wave of workers that are advancing the economy and the University of Tasmania is helping people to be skill ready.

A recent Deliotte Access Economics report estimates that by 2040 there will be 5500 full time jobs in Australia for drone operators over a number of sectors, from mining and agriculture to transport and government services.

The report says the anticipated growth in the uptake of drones will create new opportunities for industry by improving/automating some production processes and leading o cost savings over the medium to long term.

It is estimated that there will as much as seven per cent in cost savings in agriculture between 2020 and 2040 with a medium uptake of the technology.

University of Tasmania Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) Technical Manager Andrew Willoughby said the report reveals the economic benefit of drones was likely to contribute an estimated $400 million to the Tasmanian economy by 2040.

Cradle Coast based Mr Willoughby and teaching fellow Mark Shelton will attend Agfest in August to connect with the agricultural sector.

“I’ve used drones in other jobs that I’ve had and I’ve come out of industry, particularly in engineering and manufacturing where we have flown drones for stocktaking materials, and all sorts of things,” he said.

“We’re keen to connect with the agricultural sector right across Tasmania to see what solutions we can provide for them using drones and to help them with short courses to train them in drone usage and operation.

“It’s a short course to learn how to fly drones, understand what they can and can’t do, understand the components and all the safety requirements, and then we’ll get people flying them.

“At Agfest we’ll be partnering with Taz Drone Solutions so that people can test them and see what kind of commercial set up they need, including licence, cameras, scanners and those sorts of things.”

Mr Willoughby said there was some interesting virtual reality work happening in the agricultural industry in Tasmania right now.

He said the University of Tasmania Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) facility was providing students with a greater connection to industry, while working with industry to find solutions.

“We’re doing 3D printing, printing parts for drones for repairs when things take too long to get here from suppliers, and helping start ups to get going.

“There are some great opportunities for the OEM and the University to solve problems for the agricultural sector.”

Andrew Willoughby and Mark Shelton will be presenting demonstrations about the drones short course as well as how technology and innovations are allowing drones to be used commercially in agriculture for inspecting, mapping, spraying, mustering and more each day at Agfest from August 24-27 in the University of Tasmania Pavilion.

The University of Tasmania OEM and Taz Drone Solutions will also have a stand at Agfest where you can find them outside of the onstage presentations.

For more details about the activities happening in the University of Tasmania Pavilion during Agfest go to

Image: The University of Tasmania’s Andrew Willoughby and Mark Shelton will present demonstrations about drones at Agfest in August.

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