Donegal based startup, DroneSAR Ltd has won the European Commission prize announced last night (7 November 2017) in Tallinn, Estonia at the awards ceremony for the 14th European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) winners. DroneSAR Ltd were awarded this prize for the development of software which transforms standard “off-the-shelf” drone and mobile device pairings into enhanced search and rescue (SAR) data transmission technology that will save lives.

The European Commission Prize – the Copernicus Masters Services Challenge – is one of a range of challenges and prizes on offer to the 321 finalists in the ESNC competition. It is awarded for innovative uses of the European Commission operated Copernicus program products. The Copernicus program is a European Union Programme aimed at developing European information services based on satellite Earth Observation data and implemented in partnership with Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA) and a number of other European organisations.

DroneSAR Ltd were presented with a cheque from the European Commission, which is in addition to their award as Ireland Region Winner. The Ireland Region Competition for the annual ESNC awards has been organised and sponsored by National Space Centre Ltd since 2012.

DroneSAR Ltd is the brainchild of it’s four co-founders who each possess expertise and skill-sets specific to the world of drone technology, network and satellite communication and SAR coordination and emergency response.

CEO Oisin McGrath said “DroneSAR makes it possible to use affordable, “off-the-shelf” drone technology to expedite successful outcomes during emergency response incidents. It delivers the right data to the right people at the right time when agencies are faced with time and resource constraints. We are delighted to have won this award from the European Commission.

Each member of the DroneSAR team has contributed to realise a software product that will play a major part in ensuring that emergency response time-frames, incident coordination, decisions and successful outcomes will be realised across all sectors of the emergency response and humanitarian relief environment.”

To deliver the service, DroneSAR Ltd has partnered with leading outdoor pursuit software providers Viewranger, global maritime distress software company SafeTRX and medical distress location software, Medimee, all of which will allow victim position data to be sent to DroneSAR software for automatic flight to the location.

Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO National Space Centre said “This is worthy recognition for an outstanding product that has both commercial and lifesaving potential. We are incredibly proud to see this young Irish company perform so strongly on the international stage.”


About DroneSAR founders:

Oisin McGrath, CEO. Oisin is a Military helicopter instructor/examiner. He has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and has a passion for unmanned aircraft technology. He is co-founder of Fly Ryte Drone Academy, Irelands leading unmanned aircraft training centre and a certified military and civilian RPAS instructor and examiner.

Matthew Kelly, CTO. Matthew is an award winning app designer and has developed a number of app solutions that directly integrate with drone technology. He is qualified in Electronics engineering and in Network & Satellite communications. Matthew has been a successful participant of both stages of Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme 2015.

Gearoid O’Briain, Sales & Marketing Director. Gearoid is a Military flight instructor. His background is in fixed wing operations and is a qualified instructor. He is also a co-founder of FlyRyte Drone Academy and is a certified military and civilian RPAS instructor and examiner. Gearoid has a degree in Business & Aviation Management, a diploma in psychology and is pursuing an MBA at Smurfit Business College.

Leo Murray, R&D Director. Leo is an R&D Engineer with the Contract Research Unit (CRU) specialising in new product and service development. A member of one of the countries busiest mountain rescue teams (DMRT) for 10 years holding the position of Deputy and Team lead co-ordinator for the past 6 years. He led the testing phase of the European based DJI & EENA collaborative project that focused on the application of drone technology for emergency response. Leo has a MSc in Energy Management and a BSc in Project Management.