Adelaide, Australia-based Wright Technologies aims to conduct field trials of its drone identification and tracking system before the end of the year enabling precise location of the devices.
“We’re working on being able to understand what device is where with absolute certainty with something called proof-of-location,” Wright Technologies CEO and co-founder Kosta Canatselis says.
“In the context of air safety and security, airspaces at the moment are very closed off and restricted because of the danger of having drones there and not being able to understand where they are.”
“We want to integrate with drone traffic management providers and if the value is shown we want to licence out the technology to them but it’s a universal problem so our go to market strategy would be to licence it out to all different traffic management providers, he says.
Drone incursions at airports hit the headlines in late 2018 when London’s second largest airport, Gatwick, was brought to a standstill for over a day, with three-days of scheduling chaos ensuing, due to a drone incursion. Most recently Dubai Airport was also forced to close its airspace on 15 February for 30 minutes due to a drone sighting, severely disrupting flights at the world’s second busiest airport.
Canatselis said GPS on its own was not secure and could be “spooked”. He said his tamper-proof Blockchain technology would also be particularly valuable in applications dealing with the freight of high-value goods.
“With autonomy, as soon as you can start increasing the level of trust between different stakeholders you can start letting go of human interaction,” Canatselis says.
“Basically how Blockchain works is there is an immutable ledger (a record that cannot be changed) where all the actions are recorded and you can start seeing things like a drone delivering something to a house, proving it has been to the house and then releasing payment and things like that.
“Peripheral location is a problem that exists – there’s a few other companies trying to do it as well – but our big differentiator is that we are able to operate on resource constrained devices such as drones and small devices that other competitors out there aren’t able to do.”
Last year the fledgling company won the International Grand Prize at the ActInSpace innovation contest, organised by the French Space Agency (CNES) with support from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the ESA Business Incubation Centres network.
Next week the company will head to France to meet with major defence and aerospace companies. “We’ve got some meetings scheduled with some big defence companies and we’re hoping to establish some networks in that Aerospace Valley in Toulouse so hopefully something comes out of it to help get the ball rolling,” Canatselis says. The company has already been in talks with a defence company in Australia.
Wright Technologies is based at the University of South Australia’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre.
The startup is also a finalist in next month’s $100,000 Blockchain Innovation Challenge, which will be held as part of the ADC Global Blockchain Summit in its home state of South Australia from March 18-20.