Keynote Schedule 

More than 35 speakers are presenting at DroneCon 2018, covering a broad array of topics from the following fields:

More than 35 speakers are presenting at DroneCon 2018, covering a broad array of topics from the following fields:

  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Software
  • Security
  • Industrial Applications
  • Manufacturing
  • BVLOS Operations
  • Financing
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Software
  • Security
  • Industrial Applications
  • Manufacture
  • BVLOS Operations
  • Financing

And more…

Speaker Announcements



Louis de Klerk:

He is a member of Aurecon’s Project Services Hub: Construction. His background is also Civil Engineering with specialization in Contract Management and Construction Supervision. Also acts as Responsible Person Flight Operations.

This presentation will be covering: Drones in Construction, not just photos!

This presentation will be done with Richard Matchett

The session will focus on Who we are, our Current Status Qua and our Digital Journey. We will put the focus on case studies of our projects around the world (incl. Rwanda, Australia, New Zealand and Lesotho) where we have implemented drones and digital tools, combined with machine learning. We will also highlight the importance and benefit of utilizing collected data for Engineering, Quantification and Engineering Calculations. We will expand on internal and external challenges we face in our sector specifically related to drone operations and the processing of data. Bigger is not always better, the right tool for the job. We need to know where to apply what technology.

We will be ending with a challenge to our fellow operators and interested Parties.


Richard Matchett:

He is the Digital Practice Leader for Aurecon Africa. He is a Civil Engineer with a background and specialization in Geometric Design. He is also the Aurecon “Drone” Accountable Executive.

This presentation will be covering: Drones in Construction, not just photos!

This presentation will be done with Louis de Klerk

The session will focus on Who we are, our Current Status Qua and our Digital Journey. We will put the focus on case studies of our projects around the world (incl. Rwanda, Australia, New Zealand and Lesotho) where we have implemented drones and digital tools, combined with machine learning. We will also highlight the importance and benefit of utilizing collected data for Engineering, Quantification and Engineering Calculations. We will expand on internal and external challenges we face in our sector specifically related to drone operations and the processing of data. Bigger is not always better, the right tool for the job. We need to know where to apply what technology.

We will be ending with a challenge to our fellow operators and interested Parties.


Dean Polley – Founder of Aerial Vision Africa:

Dean Polley has a 30 year career in Information Technology, having worked for computer giants Compaq Computers, Hewlett Packard and Juniper Networks. He spent 10 years of his IT career in the Middle East, mostly the United Arab Emirates and 2 years in Saudi Arabia.

He founded Aerial Vision Africa in 2015 and based the company’s business model on the IT systems integration model he became accustomed to, selling solutions. The company focuses on providing drone based solutions, with a portfolio of Sensors, Aircraft and Software, all backed up by professional services.

With the company’s headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa, Dean’s vision is to take drone technology and solutions into the greater African region. Aerial Vision Africa is a registered company in Botswana and a member company of the Botswana Innovation Hub, an economic development zone initiative of the Botswana government. The company is also a licensed drone operator in Botswana.

He has provided drone solutions in Botswana to manage human elephant conflict, drone sales and drone flight training in Tanzania to the Tanzanian national parks and wildlife authorities, and has worked on a number of aerial filming projects in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Dean is the holder of a Remote Pilots License issued by the South African Civil Aviation Authority regulations, with ratings on both Multi-rotor and Fixed-Wing drones.

Dean also serves as the President of the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa (CUAASA) and is a member of the Board of Directors of CAASA (Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa. He also serves on the International RPAS Coordination Council for UVS International.

Dean has travelled Africa extensively, both on business and in his private capacity as a passionate wildlife photographer.


Alan Ball – FlyFPVSA and Flying Robot:

Alan has always had a passion for aviation.  He started flying full-size gliders at 15.  He had his GPL at 17  and PPL at 19.  In 2010 he was introduced to drones and FPV through a work colleague and has been hooked ever since.  In 2015 he started Flying Robot an online store that supplies drone and FPV parts to commercial operators and hobbyists.  He also is one of the founding members of FlyFPVSA and currently co-chairman.  FlyFPVSA is a Special Interest Group under SAMAA which governs all recreational FPV and Multirotor flying in South Africa.

This presentation will be covering:

How drone racing and FPV has evolved over the last three years in South Africa. SAMAA proficiencies, how you can represent SA for drone racing (SA Colours), FAI and more


Jacques Swart – Independent Technology Consultant:

Jacques is a design engineer, technology consultant, and entrepreneur with over 23 years of experience in the design and development of real-time mission-critical systems.

Operating primarily in the aerospace, safety & security, transportation & logistics, infrastructure, communications and medical industry sectors, he has effectively designed and integrated numerous disruptive technology solutions into the business processes and products of established organizations and start-ups alike.

He will demonstrate how the true disruptive potential of Unmanned Aircraft Systems can be achieved through the smart integration of knowledge, experience, and solutions derived from multiple disparate technology-based industry sectors.

This presentation will be covering:

Drone Deployment in Disruptive Safety and Security

Jacques explores a real-world Safety and Security solution that integrates Unmanned Aircraft Systems, artificial intelligence, IOT and big data on multiple levels.

Disruptive Influences in Drone Technology

Jacques takes a closer look at some of the disparate technologies that have and continue to influence the disruptive potential and use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in multiple industry sectors.

Matthew Buttle – Senior Project Manager at Epsilon Engineering:

Matthew Buttle is a senior project manager at Epsilon Engineering, the largest drone manufacturer on the African continent.

Matthew cut his teeth working on development programs for the likes of Airbus and Boeing before moving into bespoke solutions for the commercial transport aviation giants such as Comair and SAA and then general aviation.

Matthew has been intricately involved in the ways of manned aircraft, fixed wing, and rotary wing. Designing and certifying everything from structural and aerodynamic mods to engines changes and everything in between. This includes the full design and certification from pen to product of successful light sports aircraft. Now working in a mixed civil and military environment a deep understanding of aviation is present in his approach to Unmanned Aircraft.

Matthew was also the founder of the Association of Aviation Design Organisations and sits as a member of the Civil Aviation Regulations Committee (CARCOM).

This presentation will be covering:

Unmanned aerial vehicle manufacture, the big picture.


Henno Morkel – UAS Segment Specialist at Optron (Pty) Ltd:

Hi, I’m Henno, I am a dynamic geospatial professional that has a great variety of expertise and experience within the geospatial industry.

Currently, I am working for a well-known advanced positioning equipment and solutions provider in sub-Saharan Africa – Optron (Pty) Ltd.

I have the privilege to be working within the UAV/drone industry at the moment, which involves the promoting, selling, training, and integrating technical support and flying very cool unmanned aerial vehicles, with all the advanced and cutting-edge technology that they come with.

I have extensive knowledge of aerial surveying and it’s workflows and survey principles.  I have worked with modern airborne manned LiDAR and digital imaging systems and have processed many big projects to within survey grade accuracy.

I have also obtained my RPL – Remote Pilot License to be authorized to fly various drones/UAVs within the law and also always with the safety aspect first.  Since working in the drones/UAV space, I have demonstrated, sold, and trained various happy clients within the fixed-wing drone industry.

I have a passion for all things geographical and the amazing surveying equipment and instruments that can capture reality accurately be it with laser scanning technology, aerial photography and photogrammetry via imaging drones/UAVs, or all things geospatial.

I am a very dedicated, authentic, loyal, hardworking and driven individual, and I love to tackle new challenges every day. 

This presentation will be covering:

Looking at and comparing the survey accuracies and workflows between different surveying methods and techniques by using UAV aerial photogrammetry, UAV aerial laser scanning, and Mobile Mapping laser scanning technologies.

The main objective of the comparison will be to determine which one of these technologies are the fastest and easiest to use, and the most efficient to produce the required best survey grade accuracies and results.  The comparison will be done on coal stockpiles to determine its volume accurately.  Coal stockpiles are notoriously difficult for laser scanning technology to pick up enough laser “returns” from the fact that the coal have a very dark black colour.

Heidi Patmore – Consultant at Stellaris Group:

Heidi Patmore is a marketing consultant specializing in technology that is changing the world and how consumers behave, including crypto-currencies, artificial intelligence, fintech, virtual reality, drones and the Internet of Things.

This presentation will be covering:

A look at the industry players trying to make flying cars a reality. 

Franz Fuls – Compact Aerial Services:

Franz is an Engineering Technologist, Member of the South African Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, Past OHS Act 16(2) appointment (Heavy Industry), and Managing Director of ROC holder Compact Aerial Services.

This presentation will be covering:

Each workplace has at least one person responsible for Occupational Health and Safety. This starts with the CEO which is an automatic statutory appointment based on the OHS Act 16(1). The CEO is hereby made responsible in his person for the safety of the Workplace. In the case of a fatal accident in the workplace, the CEO may be charged with manslaughter. Most workplaces have extensive Safety Management Systems and they work. However, never before was it necessary for Workplace Safety Management to consider Aviation Safety Management. This is until the advent of Drones. Drones has brought aviation regulatory compliance directly into the workplace. It is of critical importance that Chief Executives, their delegated 16(2) appointments, Line managers and Safety Officers are up to date with the requirements of the Drone Regulations to prevent liability for their organizations and their person when bringing drones into the workplace. The presenter will make use historical data, hypothetical Incident Causation Models and Risk Management Techniques to guide delegates to making their own informed decisions on how to manage Drones in their own workplace. This seminar/presentation will explore the impact that South Africa’s Drone Regulations have on the workplace, what is required to comply with the law, and how to determine if a Drone Operator is in fact legally compliant. Drone Operators and Pilots will gain a better understanding of the liabilities and risks of their trade and will understand the worst-case scenarios for non-compliance. This will empower them to better manage their operations to limit and reduce risks & liability to be prepared should an incident occur and to mitigate the risk an exposure they present to their clients.

Raj Wanniappa – CEO: Future Horizon Technologies:

Raj Wanniappa is the Founder and CEO of Future Horizon Technologies which is a Venture Capital company investing in Disruptive Technologies, Telecommunications, Big Data and Analytics and Cryptocurrency initiatives throughout the world.

This presentation will be covering:

Positioning drones within the 4th Industrial Revolution

Dr. Debbie Jewitt – Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife:

Dr. Debbie Jewitt is a conservation scientist using drones for conservation monitoring. She has my Ph.D. investigating global threats to biodiversity and is a licensed drone pilot.

This presentation will be covering:

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, have the potential to revolutionize conservation and spatial ecology. Conservation agencies are required to monitor species populations, their habitats, and management actions. Drones provide the opportunity to collect this data and high-resolution imagery in a better, cheaper, faster and safer manner. I evaluate the use of drones across a variety of scenarios and illustrate the benefits and challenges associated with the use of UAVs. Drones offered significant improvements on counting specific species and provided excellent mapping products. The application of drones for conservation remains to be explored in depth with room for innovation.

Timothy Willis – CFO Aerobotics:

Tim is a qualified CA(SA), joining Aerobotics from Uber to manage it’s finance and growth teams. Growth includes growth marketing, international expansion, and new business channels.

This presentation will be covering:

(1) The growth story of Aerobotics, and (2) The use of aerial imagery in the agricultural space.  We will focus on how Aerobotics uses drones to capture aerial imagery and then uses machine learning to turn this data into insightful analytics for Farmers.

Duran De Villiers – ALTI UAS:

Director and owner of ALTI UAS, Africa’s premier commercial unmanned aircraft manufacturer, developing and exporting class-leading VTOL fixed-wing aircraft systems.

This presentation will be covering:

An overview of manufacturing in the unmanned aircraft industry, closely looking at how ALTI went from small multi-rotor systems to a world-leading VTOL fixed-wing manufacturer, including manufacturing processes, technical engineering aspects, flight control and more.

Prof Filippo Tomasello – CEO EuroUSC Italia:

Member or chair of several ICAO Committees, Panels or Study Groups, including the UAS SG which developed the ICAO “Manual” on the subject. Rapporteur of WG/2 (organisation) in JARUS. Earlier Professor of international aviation safety regulation at University “Parthenope”; now he teaches ATM and aviation safety at

Having left EASA in January 2015, became Technical Director of EuroUSC Italia, where now he is CEO. He also supports the Qatar participation to JARUS and, in ICAO, is a member of the Space “Learning Group”, and an observer in the RPAS Panel.

This presentation will be covering: An International Perspective.

Deon Nel – Owner of MapErp Solutions:

Entrepreneur and business owner for more than 20 years. Has 25 years of experience in design, build and implement business operational systems. Worked with various industries in different countries.

This presentation will be covering:

How to bring drone data into business operations. How to use drone data in your business operational systems. Example – Counting stock with your drone. Business Intelligence reports with Excel and drone data. How to implement a drone as an extra worker on your farm. Business opportunities between drone data and ERP systems. Let your data do the talking.

Bryan Verpoort – Head of Unmanned Aviation at ITOO Risks:

Bryan Verpoort is the Head of Unmanned Aviation at ITOO Risks, a division of Hollard Insurance. He was the first insurer to launch Commercial Drone insurance as a stand-alone product to the South African UAV industry and covers drone risks across the African Continent.

This presentation will be covering:

Currently, there is no distinctive branding for RPL pilots who are performing official / sanctioned flight missions. This is a problem as the public cannot distinguish between legal and illegal drone operators and may cause confusion when responding to a disaster or public interest event (e.g. First Responders). Should the industry drive public awareness to ensure that the image of licensed operators is upheld? Bryan will share some of his experiences in the local insurance industry relating to the legal and illegal operations of drones.

Joseph Davis Sr – Principal Partner of Mowiti-Thanda International:

Joseph Davis is an FAA Certified License sUAS pilot in the USA and serves as an Honorary Consul for the Republic of South Africa in Wisconsin. I work with local, State, and National governments using my international business experience. Our aircraft is named the “Siphiwe” after my late mom who we recently lost in South Africa.

This presentation will be covering:

A comparative analysis of why it’s important to work with existing businesses in South Africa to maximize their business objectives and output. The content will apply the understanding of how to link government, business, and emerging world economies strategically together revealing a clear vision for the attendees as they discover a pathway to complete their personal objectives effectively and efficiently. Finally, the proposed outcome of the presentation will be to establish a way forward on how, why, and when to consult with public and private entities, realize and maximize the benefits for all sectors of the market, and achieve an above average return on investment.

Dale McErlean – Former SACAA Inspector:

Dale is the holder of a Frozen Airline Transport Pilot’s License with 2000 hours on fixed- wing twin turbine aircraft.

Later she joined the SACAA as Part 91 and 93 inspectors, involved in the development and implementation of Part 101 Dale was responsible for the accreditation of RPAS operators and issuing of RPAS operators certificates. Dale participated in the ICAO RPAS Panel, the ICAO Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Advisory Group and Joint Authorities for Rulemaking of Unmanned Systems.

This presentation will be covering:

A practical approach on how to safely operate RPAS, under BVLOS conditions, in South Africa within the realm of Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) Part 101 and Civil Aviation Technical Standards (CATS) 101.

Sam Twala – Former SACAA Inspector:

Started a career as optical systems Engineer in Training. Later joined the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) as aircraft certification engineer and later as UAS Specialist. Recently left Air Traffic and Navigations Services (ATNS), where he worked as Senior CNS Systems Engineer. Sam served as a member of International Civil Aviation Organisation panel and Joint Authorities for Rulemaking of Unmanned Systems. Sam is a recipient of the European UVS International Catherine Fargeon award

This presentation will be covering:

The options available to municipalities on how to utilize UAS as a standard tool to enhance service provision.

Considering the existing CAR Part 101 (and CATS 101) requirements, the following topics will be discussed to propose how municipalities could become operators of UAS;

  • The concept of Operation (CONOPS): Specific to municipalities
  • Regulatory requirements: CAR Part 101 and municipality as an approved aviation entity
  • Operations: Possible dispensations from regulatory requirements
  • Operational considerations: Safety of other airspace users, people, and property on the ground

This topic is intended to provide a practical way of unlocking possibilities and enabling municipalities to utilize UAS to improve their service provision and customer experience. We will also consider global perspective and benchmark similar activities across the industry.

Master Class Speaker

Sonet Kock – Managing Director of Avicomply (Pty) Ltd:

Premier Aviation (Pty) Ltd is the first and perhaps the only female managed ROC in South Africa. 

Holds a Law degree obtained from the University of South Africa. Extensive experience in Aerial Surveying Services and aviation legislation compliance for manned and unmanned aviation. Specialization in Quality and Safety Assurance for Flight Operations. 

The following topics will be discussed in two presentations:

(1) The focus thus far has been on obtaining a ROC – the focus now has to shift on keeping the ROC valid. An overview of what is expected from the Nominated Postholders in terms of the Domestic Air Services Licensing Act and the Civil Aviation Regulations, and (2) an overview of the duties and responsibilities of the ROC holder in terms of Flight Operations Safety and the implementation of an SMS (Safety Management System).

More speaker announcements coming soon…

Key Learnings

Drone Flying Cage

Vast Exhibition Offerings

Informative Presentations

Networking Sessions

Masterclass Programme

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