Soki Ohmae of Drone Fund has a vision: to make drones useful to human society.
As a dronographer and co-founder of Drone Fund, a venture capital company that invests in drone startups, Soki Ohmae believes that the way to improve the drone industry is by fostering cooperation between Malaysia and Japan, and also between drone companies and governments. In order to make drones useful to our society, he emphasizes on addressing four global issues: population, changing weather patterns, aging infrastructure and natural disaster.
The population issue affects most countries in the world, like aging population, underpopulation, and overpopulation. This issue causes difficulty in maintaining a steady workforce, which could lead to lack of experts and high unemployment rate. Changing weather patterns refers to the current unpredictable weather changes that are facing by all countries. Climate change, irregular rainfall, thunderstorms and droughts affect a lot of countries, causing a depletion strain on basic necessities like water.
Aging infrastructure refers to the old, outdated infrastructure like roads and bridges that become increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain. The Morandi Bridge collapse in Italy killed 43 people and made 600 people homeless, making aging infrastructure a hazard, too. Natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunami cannot be predicted by humans, or machines, but this issue can be tackled by changing the efficiency in responding and handling the matter when a disaster occurs in a country.
These issues need to be addressed by faster and cheaper solutions: drones. Society needs to start thinking third dimensionally and make drones the new expert in aiding humanity. Drones can benefit society by reducing operational costs, being versatile enough to be adapted for multiple situations and make people safer. Among the solutions that can be offered with drones are harvest forecast, crop mapping solutions, peptide spraying – which benefit the agricultural industry.
For city planning and traffic management it would be analyzing traffic patterns for better infrastructure and functions as alternative transportation: drones can turn into the futuristic concept flying cars from our imaginations through air mobility! Not limited to that, drones can help in terms of risk and disaster management by keeping rescue crew safe and gathering information before a human team of first responders to a crisis sets out for their rescue mission.
DroneFund can contribute in realizing this vision by providing capital, offer business development and foster an environment that encourages startups to discuss ways to incorporate drones into society. Soki Ohmae also highlights the importance of government’s understanding and cooperation of drones, and DroneFund invests in lobbying for better drone policies and regulations in willing countries like Japan.
In conclusion, the drone industry can be further developed in helping society as a whole. Like Soki Ohmae said, drones are technology that can truly benefit mankind.