THE first tenant of Armidale’s SMART Region Incubator has wasted no time getting straight to work, already booking out a two-day crash course on using drone technology in rural settings.
In a week, New England Avionics has booked 40 people for the course next month, including landowners, livestock producers, farmers, and representatives from the Rural Fire Service and some government agencies.
Founder and chief executive Scott Hamey said the incubator space was a real boon to his startup company, which is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) service provider.
“What it offers is a space away from home, to separate work from home … I have a daughter who’s eight next week and she also comes out to the incubator with me and enjoys the space [but] when you wake up and have a computer at the end of your bed, that’s not good,” he said.
“It’s also a great space for collaboration with other people in the area of New England.
“It has high-speed internet, and it’s a nice, new renovated office space with common areas for if we need to put on events.”
Mr Hamey works in the incubator at the UNE Business School around his full-time work as a spraypainter.
Member for New England Adam Marshall said that “in no time at all, New England Avionics has demonstrated the immense demand for quality, local multirotor training”.
“Fully funded by the NSW government, 40 students will be provided a technical briefing, as well as flight training and an overview of legal responsibilities in Australian airspace,” Mr Marshall said.
New England Avionics’ first aim is to offer UAV flight training to help business owners and staff upskill in their industry, whether that be agriculture, mining, energy or local government.
The course will be delivered by CASA-certified training provider UAVAir and will also allow New England Avionics staff to be certified so they can deliver their own products and services.
They plan to offer UAV CASA-certified flight training services, fleet management services and products; as well as specialised image/mapping software and maintenance support.
“The SMART Region incubator is designed to help fledgling entrepreneurs with research and business development,” Mr Marshall said.
“It provides UNE researchers with a practical application for their abilities, and companies can confer with the best minds in the business.
“This is a mutually beneficial relationship between academics and industry, which will ensure the New England continues to be a hub of innovation in agriculture.
“Drones are promising to revolutionise the agricultural industry, and the team led by Scott Hamey is well-positioned to take advantage of the boom.”