On the last day of ADW Hybrid - Thursday, March 31 - Marta Cejuela, Safety Manager and Head of Airworthiness at FlyingBasket and Anne Marie Haute, CEO of Pilgrim Technology, sit down with Eszter Kovac of DroneTalks at the ADW Xpert Theatre. In a special edition of 'Women behind the drone revolution' they talk about their role. Both ladies introduce themselves.
Anne Marie Haute is CEO at Pilgrim Technology, a leading specialist in industrial inspections in France. The company has developed its own drones and robots to enable its own staff to do their work faster and better, but above all safer. With these tools, they carry out inspections of infrastructure, collect data and conduct geographical research for, among others, Total, ENGIE and the French army. Haute started the company 10 years ago with a partner and is responsible for R&D and project management, among other things.
Marta Cejuela is Safety Manager and Head of Airworthiness at FlyingBasket, an Italian company that designs and manufactures special drones that can transport heavy loads in hard-to-reach places. In addition, FlyingBasket is also UAS Operator providing maintenance and service and operating the drones for our customers. Cejuela: “In 2020 we started with our first drone, the FB3. It has a payload of 100 kilos and we use it to supply mountain huts in the Alps, among other things. But our drones are also used in forestry, at energy companies and the installation of solar panels. Within FlyingBasket I am responsible for safety and airworthiness.”
Anne Marie, you have been doing this work for more than 10 years: what are the most important changes in terms of technology or regulations in that decade?
“Certainly in the field of technology, quite a lot has changed in the past 10 years. Mainly due to the rapid development of mobile telephony and sensor technology. What started with a bunch of enthusiastic people building a drone in their garage has grown into an industry with its own standards. Huge strides have been made. In the field of reliability and digital fencing, for example, there is still a lot of work to be done. I think we're only halfway where we want to be eventually. And the same applies to legislation and regulations.
To Marta, what are the main challenges in your field of work? And what is your contribution to tackling those challenges?
“Those are roughly the same challenges that Anne Marie mentioned: there is still a lot of work to be done in the field of legislation and regulations. Since Flying Basket works with a different category of drones - with a payload of up to 100 kilograms - we have to deal with even stricter rules. For example, when we want to fly over an urban area. That is why I participate in various working groups and I try to take the regulatory framework to the next level.
How important is it for women to be part of the drone industry?
Marta: “Very important. But of course that also applies to other sectors. In my opinion, the percentage of women is far too low. I believe that the women who are already working in our sector have to become more visible. For example with the help of social media. In this way, younger girls see that it is normal that women also choose a technical profession. Female role models are important.”
Anne Marie: “I agree with Marta. Much progress can still be made when it comes to the position of women. Not just in our industry, but in society as a whole. It has nothing to do with skills, but with the image. What attracted me to technology was a passion for R&D. I am a researcher and my job is to discover new possibilities. The world of drones and robotics then offers a great many possibilities. I consider myself lucky that I was born in France and not in a place in the world where women can't do what I do: do what you like most. And for that reason, I also participate in several French initiatives to promote the position of women in technology and science.”
How important is a platform like ADW to the industry?
Anne Marie: “Amsterdam Drone Week connects many parties. And that is very important for a young industry. So that we can become a community. We can only solve many challenges together and then it is important that there are facilitators and distributors of knowledge who make it possible for us to continue to grow.
What is the most important message you want to convey to attendees of ADW Hybrid?
Marta: “Stop dreaming and start doing. Now is the time to act as a community. In an inclusive way. And do not exclude half of the population, but use all the potential.”