Drone Consultants Ireland investigating new ways to match drones and satellites

Galileo Masters Winner Drone Consultant

The aircraft deployable drone system nicknamed „Jack in the Box“ – winner of the Galileo Masters 2018 Ireland Challenge – provides multiple data streams via satellite to emergency personnel in remote and dangerous locations. Responding to wild fires is hazardous, difficult to communicate effectively and assessing the big picture is currently almost impossible. We are providing the tools to combat these challenges in one effective solution and adding great value in the process.

Using Copernicus Earth observation data, we identify our intended landing zones. Post deployment we transmit pin point location data from our home point which allows us accurately identify the location of assets, people or events unfolding on the ground over vast areas from a fixed position. We will be applying similar strategies of deployment to that of Mars or Lunar landing equipment.

Upon impact we remotely deploy our tethered drone to a height of 100m, with the advanced camera system. We can stream a live video feed and thermal capability offering an aerial view of 300sq km or the ability to identify a human from as far as 10km. As the UAV is tethered, we can provide power from the ground up and have a flight time of 500hrs with a quality data stream down. We can also safely share the airspace with fixed wing and rotor craft as the UAV remains in a fixed position. A final benefit to both ground crews and civilians is the ability to provide internet connectivity remotely during and after the emergency that improves communication exponentially.

Applying surgical precision

By applying surgical precision using state-of-the-art drone & space technology, we are providing the ability to rapidly respond to a developing crisis, we will bring expansive emergencies to a faster conclusion, while saving lives, limiting cost, protecting assets and being friendlier to the environment far beyond what is currently achievable using traditional methods.

Merging UAV and satellite capabilities

Galileo Masters Winner Infographic Drone ConsultantsThe individuals that make up our team come from a variety of industries and walks of life. We initially banded together through our passion for drones and what the future may hold for this exciting new technology. Little did we know where it would lead us when we set out. The merging of UAV and satellite capabilities seems like an obvious step now, however when we initially started plotting our course, we were investigating property photography, agricultural monitoring, construction and mapping. Like many others we have come a long way in a short period of time and expect the evolution to continue.

We have evolved by studying the markets and needs by developing concepts that address problems we have identified through the course of our work, primarily supporting first responders, advising a selection of government bodies including aviation authorities and planning the future of drone capabilities. It is a hard task trying to stay at the forefront of an expanding technology that is still very much in its infancy.

Even in the relatively short space of time since the Galileo Masters, we have been afforded a vast amount of opportunity and taken great strides. We are considerably nearer achieving our goals and have mapped out a plan to move forward. Here is a brief overview of the highlights:

  • While attending the Galileo Masters, we received notification of acceptance from Propeller SNN, a global aviation accelerator supported by Boeing X, The Irish Aviation Authority and Datalex. We received €45K in funding and help in focusing our direction.
  • On this particular journey, we made a trip to San Francisco, visits to Dublin & Shannon, Ireland. We have had the opportunity to pitch to industry giants and aviation experts, meet with VCs all the while honing and expanding our skills and building our network.
  • We received matched funding from our Local Enterprise Office (LEO) to assist in travel and attract new customers, this has really helped to improved cash flow. One such trip afforded us the opportunity to visit the Inmarsat control centre in London, this was definitely a highlight.
  • We recently partnered with Thales France to apply for H2020 assistance to develop and manufacture satellite data chips to improve pinpoint accuracy for a variety of downstream applications. We have built a strong relationship with the Thales team and would be delighted to partner in further activities.
  • While we are actively seeking investment to build “Jack in the Box”, we have been approved for substantial matched funding from the Irish Government business development mechanism, this improves our ability to attract investment but also provides access to a supported global business network with strategic partners and international offices.
  • Through previous endeavours like hosting Drone & Tech Expo Ireland, we have received media attention. This has grown considerably in recent months with features on multiple news outlets, TV and print with frequent radio appearances.
  • Our team were invited to meet the Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar where we were presented with a special award. A short time later we were listed as a ”Hot 100 Company” 2019.

I have always enjoyed presenting at conferences usually on UAV capabilities and learning through the process, most recently I was excited by an invitation to present in the GSA in Prague, not something I would have considered before the Galileo Masters.

We are in the process of expanding our team, we have engaged many great candidates on our travels and hope to begin the formal hiring process in the near future.

Benefits from the Galileo Masters

Our participation in the Galileo Masters could not have come at better time. The drone industry is beginning to materialise into a stable entity with vast capacity for growth and satellite integration. I am firmly of the opinion that we have not begun to scratch the surface of the possibilities yet to come.

Through the process of the competition, we met Bruce Hannah and Rory Fitzpatrick of The National Space Centre Ireland. They have given us amazing support, solid mentoring, introductions to new opportunities and welcome advice, this led to additional benefits from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology where our offices are now based and provides us with generous research and testing facilities.

We have yet to maximise all the benefits of our accelerator prize from the E-GNSS Accelerator, we are first gathering all the other pieces of the puzzle so we can approach the manufacture of our concept in a co-ordinated fashion and go to market, having the additional capabilities and all that comes with it at our disposal has made the task easier.

Our ESA BIC application has just been approved and granted, David Gibbons of The Tyndall Institute and Enterprise Ireland who manage the BIC in Ireland have helped us tremendously and given us the confidence in their support and our own abilities.

Aside from the obvious a few surprising benefits have materialised that were unexpected: Clients are less likely to question our consultancy rates. When we make a call to reach out to a new company / individual, I have noticed we are more likely to get a positive call back. Our credibility has grown exponentially and with it our ability to deliver has improved.

We are in the process of engaging investors so feel free to get in touch:  Ian Kiely, CEO Drone Consultants Ireland: ik@droneconsultantsireland.ie

About the author

Galileo Masters Winner 2018 Ian KielyIan is CEO of Drone Consultants Irl & Drone Expo Irl, an experienced UAV operator, thought leader and visionary. Ian leads a multi award-winning team and is a regular media contributor. Currently developing new technologies focused on UAV and Satellite integration, mostly their work to date has been with government entities and blue light services.

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