Welcome to GUTMA “Meet Our Members” interview series, where each month we feature a different Member. 

This month we speak to Manuel Ignacio Pérez Pandávila, CEO & Cofounder of Updrone. Thank you Manuel, for taking the time to share with us your activities and industry outlook!

Introducing: Manuel Ignacio Pérez Pandávila, CEO & Cofounder of Updrone

Manuel has more than 10 years’ experience working with RPAS and holds an RPA Class 3 license with certified credentials to perform operations with RPA in Venezuela and others countries from LatinAmerica. Manuel was predominantly attracted to be involved with UTM for the operational security of Updrone’s services. Three years ago, Manuel and the Updrone team started a project in Caracas Venezuela to monitor land traffic with RPAS with the most important radio circuit of Venezuela FMCETER, Traffic Center. “It was there that we saw the need to carry out a system that would successfully integrate aviation manned with the remote aviation manned. After conducting research on what was happening in the world in reference to this topic Manuel discovered GUTMA, Manuel says “I understood that we should be part of this association and listen to the experiences of all the members to carry out a successful project and verify that our idea was the correct one”.

Updrone are a leading contributor to the UTM ecosystem by promoting and sowing the aeronautical authorities, users of all kinds and service providers the importance of creating a UTM System that increases the operational safety of RPAS, which will allow the aeronautical sector to grow safely and effective. Updrone are a company with ROC (Operator Certificate with RPA) that has always promoted the standards and recommendations of the ICAO. Updrone has had many collaborators for various projects, commercial allies such as Agrocognitive with whom they carried out the first mapping and information gathering for sugar cane fields in Venezuela. Likewise, they have been working together with several Venezuelan companies to carry out the Amelia project. 

Manuel recalls “At the time we took the first step to carry out this project, which we called AMELIA (In honor of the first controller of Latin American air space, which was Venezuelan, Amelia Lara Faria), we realized all the challenges that arose, but we understood that one of the most important was to make authorities and users understand the importance of our UTM system project for Venezuela and with a view to being a pioneer in Latin America”.

When asked what inspires him, Manuel says “being able to inform all participants of the ecosystem in real time is something that means a lot to the growth of the Remotely Manned Aviation sector. For me, UTM is equal to true freedom in airspace because it is only in this way that we will be able to fly our aircraft with freedom, security and confidence”.

Updrone have the vision of becoming a spearhead for Latin America, and firmly believe that the operational safety of the sector is key to its growth, therefore are doing everything in their power to contribute to it. To support this vison, Manuel and the Updrone team are currently working on two avant-garde projects, the first is Updrone Academy. Updrone Acadamy is an academy focused on the training of professionals in Remotely Manned Civil Aviation through the teaching of aeronautical sciences. An interesting thing about this project is that it was born based on the Inactivity caused by the COVID19 pandemic, since UPDRONE ACADEMY is a purely online e-learning and t-learning training academy. The second project is the formation of the first Venezuelan RPAS association (AVERPAS) which Manuel currently chairs. This association has brought together more than 35 companies in the sector and has guided several to their certification with the Venezuelan aeronautical authority. 

Find out more about Manuel Ignacio Pérez Pandávila and his work on his LinkedIn profile here or by visiting the Updrone website here.

Feel free to contact us at GUTMA if you have any questions for any of our interviewed members. Please do visit our blog again soon for more upcoming interviews! 

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