Every day is a celebration, especially Saturdays as it is the first day of the weekend. Here at heART of COOL, we like to Wake Up and StartUp the day with discovering new entrepreneurs and startup companies that are blazing new trails worth mentioning. This Saturday, we take a look at Drone Airspace Management (DAM), an organization committed to ‘getting you to The Drones’.


“DAM is mostly comprised of African Americans who also have a long expertise in aviation. We’re like the Tuskegee Airmen of drone airspace”.

– DAM team

Jump below to check out HoC interview with two of DAM’s team members Avery Brown and Wachira Reed.

What is a Drone and why was it invented?

A drone is a robot. Usually, a radio or remote controlled robot but increasingly a machine that can learn from its own information and make decisions. Today, it’s usually used to describe flying robots or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

I guess the short answer for why drones were invented would be, because he could. The he is, Nikola Tesla, the inventor who they named the car and company after. He made the first drone over 150 years ago. It seemed to be a natural extension of Tesla’s work on transferring electricity with machines and showed what machines could do, without being manned.

What is a Drone-treprenuer?

DAM works with innovative technology businesses in the drone space.  Some may be startup entrepreneurs.  It is a tough road to get into the drone market. DAM identifies new and original technology and partners to get it developed.

What inspired you to go into the Drone professional space?

DAM’s team includes members with 30+ years’ experience in aviation and technology. They have helped keep the National Airspace System (NAS) one of the safest travel zones.

We knew what good technology looked like to manage and navigate airspace. When we saw how smart technology was being created and brought to lower airspace and the ground, like Google’s autonomous cars; we knew we had relevant expertise.

Since we also had entrepreneurs on the team, we knew the pain and stress it took to make it to market.  We wanted to help bring good technology to the drone space.  We did not want to run someone else’s company, instead show it how to grow and play a role.  The best way to prove out the technology and bring the best innovators to market was through low cost funding strategies and partnership.

We came up with the DAM model.

DAM crowdsources innovative technology when commercial drone technology companies join its membership.  Some members simply want to be represented in rules being created for the drone market.  Most companies want funding to get to market.  DAM deep dives into their technology and business model and looks to its network for grant, debt and other low-cost funding strategies to get it to market.

How does your company build the drone community and drive innovative technologies into the current market?

DAM builds the drone community by helping get original and creative drone technology proven out.  From the research and development stage, through testing with real data that shows it works and drives it into the market.

What will it take to “free the air”?

“Free the Air” is DAM’s call to action.  For us it means opening up the airspace so drones can fly fully integrated with other vehicles.  It will involve increasingly better technology to make the air safe and coordinated.

What is your take on the initiative of Smart Cities and how does Drone Airspace Management play a role in that space?

Smart Cities are coming. The architecture to build them is already being laid.  Smart Cities are those that are looking to implement innovation and technology to bring more services efficiently and at lower costs to its people. Smart Cities are looking to new innovators to use internet-connected devices aka the IOT (Internet of Everything), to collect incredible amounts of data to offer the public useful information to make everything in the city work better.

We have seen everything from talking trash cans which will communicate when they are full for pick-up to automatically dispatched emergency services including quick delivery of anecdotes for people who are overdosing on drugs to save their life.

It will just be determined by how deep the technology goes. It is a revolution to the next stage of building on the internet platform.

Describe the UAS rules at this juncture? Are they promoting or hindering the growth of Drone technology?

In general, in the US, if it is for commercial business use, drones are limited to flying in restricted airspace under an authorization from the FAA. If a business wants to research or test its drones, it will have to get special airspace assigned.

The FAA is responsible for safety in the airspace so that drones are not flying into crowded places, colliding with planes or falling out of the sky everywhere. They are slowly expanding the use of drones looking at the data to prove safe integration into the airspace.

The challenge is getting the data to establish safe flight of commercial drones which will proliferate the sky.  That data comes from research and development of better technology and testing.  That r&d and testing comes from funding.  That’s where DAM comes born. To get that cheap funding.

What are the top 3 ways to monetize UAS technologies?

  • Identifying creative and original technology.
  • Thorough research and development of that technology.
  • Data from testing of the technology.

What are some of the challenges that drones present?

“Freeing the Air” more for drones to fly will allow for testing of systems and technology.  Then, the robots can operate more like humans but more efficiently.  They will be able to avoid obstacles, stay in air lanes, respond better to commands and become more useful to society.

What makes drones cool?

Drones are tools so they should be used to make people’s lives better. They will do dangerous and routine things people don’t want to do or shouldn’t. They will produce things cheaper and more efficiently. They will heal people more effectively such as medical nanobots which will be injected into your body and repair things. They will bring information from different and deeper places in real time. The uses are endless. That’s cool!

They will also be able to learn from the data they collect and make decisions faster. So we must protect from the “Rise of the Machines” (Terminator movie) used for the wrong purposes. Not cool!!

What is the heART of COOL to you?

It’s like innovation. It’s creative, original and goes down easy.  You know it when you see or feel it and it feels good!



For more about Drone Airspace Management See here

HoC Contributor