Callaghan Innovation aims to inspire some literal blue sky thinking through drone tech prize

Recent market research has forecast the economic impact of drone technology in the USA alone to be $82 billion dollars by 2025 and it’s predicted that 80 percent of the commercial market for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) will eventually be for agricultural uses. Given our reliance on that sector, and our history of agricultural innovation, New Zealand stands to benefit from this development. But Callaghan Innovation is also hoping to drive its use in the film and screen industry through an innovation competition.  

Specifically, the goal of the C-Prize is to encourage Kiwi innovators to develop cutting-edge UAV technology that solves the technical challenges of improving the recording and reproduction of high-definition sound, operation in rough weather, and the tracking of objects for augmented reality and visual effects purposes. New Zealand-based innovators are invited to submit initial concepts that overcome these three challenges. 

  • Check out what Kiwi production company Reel Factory did with drones for the Cricket World Cup here

“The New Zealand screen industry has a reputation around the world for exciting film-making,” says Callaghan Innovation chief executive Dr Mary Quin. “Increasingly directors are using unmanned aircraft to capture new visual perspectives to tell their stories. The C-Prize recognises that these factors, combined with our open airspace and progressive regulations, present a great opportunity for Kiwi innovators and entrepreneurs to commercialise world leading UAV technology for the screen industry. Innovation prizes have a successful track record internationally for stimulating progress in technically challenging industries such as space flight,” Dr Quin says.

Concepts making it through the first round will each receive $10,000 and support from Callaghan Innovation and Creative HQ to develop prototypes. The grand prize winner – to be announced in December — will receive $50,000.

Entries close on 5 July 2015. 

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