Matthew Lee Meets the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

Matthew Lee Meets the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

I had the pleasure of representing Uaviation as a panel member the DELWP RPAS providers at a press release by the environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio at Melbourne Zoo on Saturday. Thinking initially that my role was just to deliver an example drone for the minister to point at, I had not anticipated what turned out to be a more involved role. The extent of the coverage we received from the press and the enjoyment I would draw from this experience.

My first job was to set up our drone next to another RPAS provider’s drone.  Feeling somewhat intimidated by their 40kg+ monster of an aircraft, I set up our 3kg minnow – a Matrice 100 with its sense and avoid systems.

Also present from the DELWP RPAS project team were Andrew Pritchard the senior koala manager,  and Brendan Zwanikken. We discussed our learning from previous missions and the progress Uaviation is making in thermal flare detection.

Channels 7, 9 and 10 had all sent news crews to cover the story. Their camera men were capturing footage of the drones next to the feeding koalas when the minister arrived.

One of the camera men asked the minister to interact with the aircraft. This is when my role as an observer changed to one where I showed the minister around the aircraft as 3 news camera crews trained their lenses on us.

Matthew & The Minister Lily D'Ambrosio

Matthew Lee  &  The Minister Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio

During the interviews, Andrew and Brendan from DELWP covered some of the technical project details such as the types of trials and what activities would be undertaken. The reporter’s focus seemed to target the motivations and drivers for the trial. They were especially interested in how drones could be used during back-burn operations, and the recent Lancefield fires.

This was a fantastic experience and I look forward to this project enjoying more support as a result of this coverage.  I would have liked more mention of the other applications for drones, but all in all I think it was a gold-star from the minister for the department’s pursuit of innovative solutions.

Channel 7, 9 and 10 all aired the article during their evening news. The articles included footage taken by Uaviation during a koala detection project using thermal / infra-red and fire-tower aerial asset inspection projects.