Queensland’s drone industry was centre stage in Japan recently, with Queensland drone experts speaking at a major conference and signing a significant research agreement.

Representatives from Queensland’s World of Drones Congress, Barcaldine’s Outback Aerodrone symposium, and drone business Little Ripper were all in Tokyo to attend the Japan Drone Expo.

The Outback Aerodrone symposium was represented by officers from the Central West Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board and Barcaldine Regional Council.

The Queenslanders were hosted at the expo and a range of business meetings by staff from TIQ’s Tokyo office, who have been building the profile of Queensland’s drone industry in Japan.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Japan Tak Adachi said Queensland had real potential to become a global centre for drone-industry development and testing.

‘The World of Drones Congress brings the world’s leading drone researchers and businesses to Brisbane every year,’ he said.

‘And now we also have the Outback Aerodrone Symposium, which gives delegates from overseas the opportunity to travel to Western Queensland and see how Queensland’s wide open spaces are ideal for drone testing.

‘TIQ Tokyo accompanied Japanese drone delegates to both of these events in 2018, and we’re very pleased to now see Queensland’s drone leaders coming to Japan to further build relationships.’

Queensland drone expert Dr Catherine Ball from the World of Drones Congress spoke at the Japan Drone Expo, as did Little Ripper CEO Eddie Bennet BM.

Little Ripper, which has its engineering headquarters at Carrara on the Gold Coast, is attracting worldwide interest for its pioneering use of drones for search and rescue.

Mr Adachi said that the World of Drones Congress and Little Ripper had also used their visit as an opportunity to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Japan UAS Industry Development Association, committing all parties to ongoing collaboration on drone education and industry development.

The Queensland drones delegation was in Japan 11–15 March, and attended the Japan Drone Expo from 13–15 March.

The aerospace sector is identified as an emerging export priority in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.