Fotokite, a Switzerland-based company that developed a kite-like, tethered drone that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, won the $1 million grand prize in the Genius NY business competition Monday.

Fotokite’s drones can fly a few hundred feet in the air attached to a retractable cord, then fly fully autonomously and beam live video to operators on the ground. Most drones can fly for less than 30 minutes on battery power, but Fotokite says its drones can fly 24/7 when connected through the tether to a power source.

Company CEO Christopher McCall said the company is focusing its sales efforts on fire departments and law enforcement agencies, but also sees a market among broadcasters and sports teams.

“It flies all by itself, without the need for an operator, without the need for GPS,” he said.

Fotokite was one of six finalists in Genius NY, a state-funded competition for start-up companies focused on the growing unmanned aerial systems industry.

The contest is administered by the Syracuse Technology Garden and CenterState CEO. It is based at the Tech Garden, a business incubator run by CenterState on Harrison Street in Syracuse.

The other five finalists received smaller cash prizes:

  • Quantifly, of Detroit, Mich., received $600,000. It uses advanced image processing technology to analyze and quantify changes in the urban environment.
  • TruWeather, of Virginia, received $400,000. It is building a service to improve the accuracy and communication of weather intelligence.
  • Dropcopter, of Corning, Calif., received $250,000. It has developed technology that allows farmers to pollinate orchards using drones.
  • Precision Vision, of Edgewood, N.M., received $250,000. It creates image processing technology that makes real-time precision imaging affordable.
  • UsPLM, of Syracuse, received $250,000. It develops integrated, scalable drone fleet management software for unmanned aerial systems operations.
 The awards were determined by a panel of judges after each of the six teams made presentations Monday evening at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown Monday evening.

The companies will be required to operate their businesses in Central New York for at least one year.


UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert, Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache.