Startup Company of the Year
The Startup Company of the Year award went to Drone Amplified, headed by co-founder Carrick Detweiler, Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of computer science and engineering. The company’s drone-mounted technology uses ping-pong sized spheres that ignite prescribed burns and backfires, starving incoming wildfires of potential fuel. It also provides a safer alternative for crews who would otherwise fight wildfires by aircraft or vehicle.
icon search Searchable Transcript
Toggle between list and paragraph view.
[00:00:00.285](upbeat synth music)
[00:00:01.710]Drone Amplified is a start up that came out
[00:00:03.890]of the University of Nebraska research lab.
[00:00:07.520]I co-direct the NIMBUS Lab.
[00:00:10.040]And Drone Amplified is focused on developing
[00:00:13.010]a aerial ignition payload for drone systems.
[00:00:16.830]So, basically this allows us
[00:00:18.830]to, from the air, start prescribed fires
[00:00:21.640]and also back burners for wildfires.
[00:00:26.850]So what we do here at Drone Amplified
[00:00:29.090]is we've developed a drone and
[00:00:31.770]the associated payload we call IGNIS,
[00:00:33.810]that can start these back burns with the drone,
[00:00:37.690]that's much safer and much more successful and reliable.
[00:00:44.150]So the system we've been developing to save lives
[00:00:46.950]by moving the firefighters out
[00:00:49.250]of the aircraft and moving them outside
[00:00:50.960]of the danger posed by the fire.
[00:00:57.260]So our customers range from the U.S. Forest Service
[00:01:00.540]to private contractors who are doing burns
[00:01:03.630]for local land owners.
[00:01:05.740]And, you know we manufacture these systems,
[00:01:08.430]both parts are built in-house,
[00:01:10.790]we also then contract out to other companies and link in
[00:01:13.920]other places in the United States to build parts for us
[00:01:16.910]that we then assemble locally here in Nebraska.
[00:01:22.280]So we started working on this concept probably
[00:01:25.250]four or five years ago in the NIMBUS lab at UNL
[00:01:28.480]and the first system we had could drop
[00:01:31.130]four or five of these ignition spheres.
[00:01:33.520]Now we're up to a system that can carry and drop
[00:01:37.060]four or five hundred of these ignition spheres.
[00:01:39.580]And over the years, this started in the research lab,
[00:01:43.430]really proving the concept, testing, you know,
[00:01:45.830]can this even be done,
[00:01:47.320]as nobody else been able to do this.
[00:01:51.010]So the research we did in the lab was really critical
[00:01:53.970]to prove the concept and develop
[00:01:57.360]some of the core safety systems
[00:02:00.020]and the kind of technology to make this possible.
[00:02:04.760]This is now, we then transitioned it into a company,
[00:02:07.270]so we started Drone Amplified,
[00:02:10.222]myself and a former faculty member and some former students,
[00:02:13.000]and basically we've now taken it and really done
[00:02:16.090]the last hard part of making it
[00:02:19.160]a really robust and easy-to-use system
[00:02:22.930]that now firefighters around the country are purchasing.
[00:02:26.630]Now that we've actually commercialized the system
[00:02:29.210]we're actually seeing people using it on a daily basis,
[00:02:32.510]not only saving costs and helping with land management,
[00:02:36.680]but we're actually saving lives
[00:02:38.530]by getting people out of harm's way.
[00:02:41.391](drone propellers whir)
Log in to post comments