Doing Good

Women of Reality Capture: Jackie Dujmovic

March 29, 2023

Dujmovic was inspired by the belief that drones can save lives. Her company has carried this belief forward in their work, focusing on making a difference with drones and other remotely piloted aircraft.

Dujmovic has worked on projects such as monitoring shark migrations in Australia and advancing the regulatory environment for beyond visual line of sight flights.

What led you to start your own company?

I used to work in the marine industry, which was an incredible career where I got to travel the world. The catalyst for me to start Hover UAV was the loss of a friend who fell overboard from a vessel in the frigid waters of Alaska. This incident really made me think: could a drone have saved my friend's life? Could we have attached an immersion suit or dropped a floatation device to give him more time for survival? This incident also coincided with another big life event for me…motherhood. Motherhood meant that I needed a shift in my career away from long sea voyages.

With a firm focus on what I desired, I founded Hover UAV. The company quickly became an industry leader in utilizing drones for marine conservation.

The first major project for Hover UAV was documenting shark migrations. This was a multifaceted trial using drones to detect sharks in the interests of public safety and gathering a research-focused snapshot of the marine fauna (both resident and transient) on the New South Wales coastline of Australia.

I saw more and more use cases for drone technology and I started working with companies, inventors, manufacturers and governments. Hover UAV evolved into a consultancy and systems management company to assist others in advancing their drone programs.

Jackie flying large drone over a park field

Why are you interested in the drone and reality capture industry?

My interest extends to the expansion of RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) both in Australia and internationally. I firmly believe the work we do at Hover UAV is setting up the RPAS industry for an explosion in drone technology adoption. These new tools will enable us to solve problems ranging from connecting remote communities to mitigating the environmental and fiscal costs of logistical operations.

My core focus is to  enable the future of RPAS/drone usage across Australia. Remote operations enable pilots to be stationed in central locations, close to their homes and operate drones across the country. These remote operations centers (ROCs) will help us create a truly connected delivery and service network for drones.

To enable this future, I engage and lead educational and safety work around the country and overseas to share our collective knowledge with the RPAS industry and the broader aviation industry. I regularly present my experience with setting up complex RPAS systems, developing safety cases and overcoming regulatory boundaries at international and domestic conferences.

I also advocate for women in tech and the early engagement of young Australians with drone technology, supporting a new generation of innovators.

Jackie presents to group of potential users with a drone and rescue dummy

How does Hover UAV promote diversity in the reality capture industry?

We try to instill diversity in every aspect of our business. It is one of our key values,  along with ethics in business practice, which in turn allows Hover UAV to engage with our clients and industry stakeholders with transparency. These values have ensured our engagement with clients doesn’t embellish the products and services we provide, which influences our working and hiring culture.

Our honest approach helps us overcome unconscious bias when hiring – giving us a strong and diverse team of professionals that keeps our business at the forefront of an expanding industry.

How have you seen drone use spread throughout the APAC region?

Drone use has spread not only through APAC, but globally. I think the biggest positive change I have seen is that many organizations, governments and individuals are now changing their drone programs from proof-of-concept trial programs to full implementation after seeing the value add – saving time, the financial bottom line, and in some cases, literally saving lives. Drones have become an essential tool to so many, the technology is now a vital day-to-day requirement that can’t be denied.

Jackie on a field with a full-sized UAV

If you had one piece of advice for other women looking to enter the field, what would it be?

To never lose sight of their dreams and strive to achieve them no matter the adversity encountered or what others might say. It is important to always remain focused and positive and above all commit to what you are passionate about. If you do this you will always succeed – no matter the odds.

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