RUSTA’s Head of Academy gives the BBC radio something to talk about


BBC Radio Lincolnshire

Sion Roberts reports on changing BBC radio’s, Carla George’s, opinion of robots

UK – 19th January 2016

In this day and age technology is a way of life.

Some people are obsessed with it, other people despise it. Either way it controls all of our lives to some degree or another. RUSTA thrives on technological advances, as our core business of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) has been quoted by Times magazine as “The biggest technological breakthrough of the next decade alongside 3-D printing.”

Whilst having my breakfast I was drawn to a discussion on the local radio station, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, in which they were debating the use of robots in modern society. Using another technological advance of modern times, Twitter, I tweeted that we were using flying robot technology and training people in Lincolnshire on an everyday basis.

BBC Radio Lincolnshire responded and invited me to speak on the show to try and persuade Carla, one of the award winning presenters (who was sceptical about such advances), that robot automated technology was not to be feared but to be embraced.

After the airtime cameo I tweeted to say thank you for the opportunity and suggest that if Carla wanted to, she could visit our test site in Lincoln and experience first hand the benefits of UAVs. She accepted my invitation and within 24 hours we were both standing on a fresh, frosty field on a beautiful sunny winter’s morning just outside of Lincoln with several UAVs at our disposal.

As an air instructor I went through the normal launch evolution of the DJI Inspire and once we were both satisfied I launched it into the clear blue Lincolnshire sky. Carla was impressed as I explained what sensors it was using and kept a running commentary going on the height and speed of the aircraft.

After the demonstration we unpacked the slightly smaller DJI Phantom and I talked Carla through the checks. Before we knew it Carla was flying the Phantom at and around the same height (and occasionally higher) than Lincoln Cathedral, which incidentally is 271 ft.

She was a natural and she genuinely enjoyed the experience. I demonstrated how the aircraft could fly itself, based on GPS satellite navigation, in order to get some fantastic footage, which I’m sure impressed her.

She landed the aircraft perfectly and then moved onto the larger Inspire. I noticed that she was already showing signs of improvement and was confident and comfortable with the machine.

As we were packing up, I asked her casually if she now trusted robots and drones and with a wry smile and a slight pause she answered, “Maybe”.

Perhaps this was a successful mission after all.


To listen to the report please follow these links from BBC Radio Lincolnshire: 1:54 2:53 01:22, 01:55, 02:44