Irish Jack-in-the-Box drone picks up ‘space Oscar’ worth €62,000

6 Dec 2018

Little satellite awards presented at the Galileo Masters 2016 awards. Image: Galileo Masters

Drone Consultants Ireland was awarded a bootcamp accelerator prize at this year’s Galileo Masters 2018 SatNav competition in Marseille.

In October it was revealed that start-up Drone Consultants Ireland was named a winner of an Irish competition for its Jack-in-the-Box drone concept, giving it a place at this year’s so-called European ‘space Oscars’.

Now in its 15th year, the 2018 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC), also known as Galileo Masters, aims to develop satellite navigation and Earth observation technology, with various groups submitting their latest designs.

Following the big ceremony held in Marseille, France, this week, Drone Consultants Ireland walked away with a business incubation package worth €62,000 as part of the Satellite Navigation (SatNav) accelerator. The programme aims to support entrepreneurs and start-ups to bring their technology to the skies, orbit and beyond.

How it works

The Jack-in-the-Box drone that won them the prize is a self-sustaining, aircraft deployable drone system and can be parachuted to remote and inaccessible locations, supplying flight bursts of 10 continuous hours, as opposed to the 25-minute flight time for a standard drone.

Its designers believe it has immediate applications in search and rescue, environmental, and disaster scenarios. One of its key features is that it not only livestreams video via satellite for emergency services, but it can also transmit 4G signal to people trapped or in danger. It also comes equipped with an optical zoom camera capable of surveying areas up to 300 sq km, more than twice the area of Dublin city.

The start-up was founded in 2016 by Peter Downey and Ian Kiely to provide consultation and support to emergency response services, government organisations and private clients. The firm was also behind the establishment and hosting of the Drone & Tech Expo industry showcase previously held at the RDS in Dublin.

As the company’s chief operating officer, Kiely has been a public advocate for drone technology and, earlier this year, gave a presentation at TEDxDIT about the benefits of the technology for now and the future.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic