On 24th January 2017, the European Young Innovators Forum celebrated the 1st ever EU Drone Awards along with a VIP Dinner at the European Parliament in Brussels. The awards are the result of a competition that started in November and that attracted more than 50 European drones companies from all across Europe.

The purpose of this event was to promote and to support European know-how and high-level skills in the drone economy and to gather the main actors: policy-makers, corporates and drone startups.  

The evening culminated with the announcement of the three most promising and innovative companies whose profiles and applications have been reviewed and assessed by David Hoffman, Associate General Counsel and Global Privacy Officer (Intel), Philippe Duvivier, Corporate Business Development (Parrot), Michal Mazur, Head of Drone Powered Solutions (PwC), and Kumardev Chatterjee, CEO (Unmanned Life).

The winners of the 1st EU Drone Awards are:

As the level of the competition was really high, a fourth company has been awarded by a special innovative prize in the category “Best Drone-based Solution”: AIRBUS D&S-CATEC-University of Seville team. Dominique Riquet gave the awards to all winners in the three aforementioned categories.

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Kumardev Chatterjee, Unifly, Clear Flight Solutions B.V, Microdrones, Jacqueline Foster, Airbus-CATEC and AIRBUS D&S-CATEC-University of Seville team

Find below some finals words from the winners that we sincerely congratulate!

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“We are very proud and feel honored to have won the award as “Best Drone Manufacturer” to recognize our teams hard work over the past 12 years. It was impressive to be part of an event sharing the passion for the drone industry with very interesting guests, knowing the EU Commission and Parliament will support the companies in Europe as best as they can”Mirjam Braas, Marketing Manager Europe, Microdrones

We are very honoured and proud to be the first ever recipient of an EU 16298849_1389138147805139_3452847166250863660_nDrone Award. We’re delighted to see that the European Parliament and EYIF also recognize the huge benefits our services have to the safety at airports and to society and are looking forward to further expanding our services into the rest of Europe and beyond!”Nico Nijenhuis, CEO and Co-founder Clear Flight Solutions B.V

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“Unifly was very honoured to receive the Best Emerging Drone Company award. We see it as  recognition of everything we have achieved so far and as extra motivation to continue on the chosen path. We enjoyed the evening very much and look forward to the next edition” – Marc Kegelaers, CEO Unifly

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“We had a very good time and we are very grateful to EU Drone Awards team. For me this prize has meant the recognition to all the hard work that we had done in the last 8 years. As a research center, our main mission is to get technology into the industry, and this prize precisely reflects this, helping Airbus D&S to improve their manufacturing processes combining novel solutions and applying research from the University of Seville.” – Antidio Viguria Jiménez, AIRBUS D&S-CATEC-University of Seville team

The event was hosted by Dominique Riquet, MEP and Vice-Chair of the Transport and Tourism Committee. The evening was the cornerstone of the 5TH Edition of Unconvention where the latest trends about the drone economy have been addressed by the main actors in the field. Peter Hopwood, the MC Host of the Awards ceremony, gave an entertaining tone to the show.

Matthijs van Miltenburg (MEP, ALDE) opened the ceremony with an inspiring speech about the drone economy potential in terms of growth and job creation in Europe (more than 120 billion euro) and the long way that still needs to be achieved before having a full implementation of the drone economy due mainly to technology hurdles and regulatory restrictions. His speech was followed by important remarks on the topic by Matthew Baldwin (EC). Next, the floor was given to Michal Mazur, Head of Drone Powered Solutions from PwC, who highlighted the importance of “the clarity from above”. Additionally, Kumardev Chatterjee, CEO of Unmanned Life, a UK based startup introduced the new progress of his Advanced Drone Based Software Platform.

Furthermore, the panel on the “Challenges and opportunities for the drone economy in Europe and the world: is the EU ready?” was composed by high-level speakers from institutions as well as corporate companies. Thomas Birr (Senior Vice President Innovation and Business Transformation at innogy SE) David Hoffman, Associate General Counsel and Global Privacy Officer (Intel),  Joshua Salsby, Member of the Cabinet of Violeta Bulc European Commissioner of Transport( EC), Philippe Duvivier, Corporate Business Development (Parrot), Luc Tytgat, Director Strategy and Safety Management (EASA), offered significant insights with different points of view about the next steps and opportunities (harmonization rules, jobs potential) and the current issues (regulatory, data) of the drone economy. The discussion was moderated by Nicholas Zylberglajt, President of EYIF.

The evening ended with a presentation by Dirk Alhborn, CEO of Hyperloop Technologies, who showcased the new train of the future and the finals words belonged to Dominique Riquet and Kumardev Chatterjee.

We would like to thank our partners: Intel, Parrot, PwC, Unmanned Life and Solvay Student Entrepreneurs along with our Gold Partner for Unconvention represented by Dr. Susanne Rompel, Head of EU Representative Office of innogy in Brussels, and to thank Thomas Birr, Senior Vice President Innovation & Business Transformation at innogy SE in Essen for sharing his views at the VIP dinner and Unconvention event.

To sum up, the EU Drones Awards night was the first but definitely not the last of a long series of meetups between people that love innovation, technology, creativity and that want to build the world of tomorrow.

If you want more information regarding the competition, don’t hesitate to write an email at eu-drone-awards@eyif.eu. More details regarding the EU Drone Awards can be found here.

See you at the next edition!