Drone Consultants Ireland, a consultancy group founded in 2016, has been named as the winner of the national leg of the 2018 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). Now in its 15th year, the competition aims to develop satellite navigation and Earth observation technology with various groups submitting their latest designs.

The Irish entry to this year’s competition, set to take place on 4 December in Marseille, will be the Jack-in-the-Box concept.

What it could do

The self-sustaining, aircraft deployable drone system 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.

It comes equipped with an optical zoom camera capable of surveying areas up to 300 sq km – more than twice the area of Dublin city – and can livestream video via satellite to emergency control centres or rescue teams, while transmitting location data. It can also provide a 4G communications network to people trapped or in danger, and carries a backup battery in order to return to its box in case of fuel failure.

Presenting the award, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, TD, said: “I would like to warmly congratulate Drone Consultants Ireland on being named as regional winners of ESNC 2018. It’s great to see Ireland competing at this level in Europe and it’s yet another example of how, as a country, we are leading the way in the tech sector.”

Receiving the award, Drone Consultants Ireland COO Ian Kiely said: “We are really excited to receive this award and are also looking forward to attending Space Week in Marseille in December to compete for the top awards.

“We believe this product has significant potential and are working to bring it to market.”

Colm Gorey

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