Bruce Hannah, CTO National Space Centre Ltd; An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Ian Kiely, COO, Competition winner – Drone Consultants Ireland. (Pic: Owen O’Connor)


Drone Consultants Ireland have been announced by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as winners of the Ireland Region Competition of the 2018 ESNC (European Satellite Navigation Competition) awards.

Drone Consultants Ireland were selected as Ireland Region Winners for their Jack-In-The-Box concept and will proceed to the European Finals which take place in Marseille at the ‘Space Oscars’ during European Space Week on 4 December 2018.

Jack-In-The-Box is a self-sustaining, aircraft deployable drone system that can be parachuted to remote and inaccessible locations, supplying flight bursts of 10 continuous hours for up to 500 expedition hrs as opposed to 25 minutes flight time for a standard drone. It has immediate applications in search & rescue, environmental and disaster scenarios.

The hardwired UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is equipped with an optical zoom camera to survey areas of 300sq KM from a fixed position (Dublin City is 115sq KM), and can live stream video data via satellite to emergency control centres or rescue teams, while simultaneously transmitting pinpoint location data of assets, people or events.  It can also can provide a 4G communications network to persons in danger or trapped and carries a backup battery in order to return to its box in case of fuel failure.

Drone Consultants Ireland was founded in 2016 by CEO Peter Downey and COO Ian Kiely to provide consultancy and support to a variety of emergency response services, government entities and private clients as well as organising and hosting Drone & Tech Expo, an industry showcase in the RDS and the only Drone Expo in Ireland. The company recently welcomed Keith Tracey to the development team as CTO and plan to develop many other concepts.

Presenting the award Taoiseach Leo Varadkar 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 Ian Kiely COO, Drone Consultants Ireland 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. Drone Consultants is a growing company, looking at partnerships and preparing for funding in the immediate future to launch a successful commercial product.  We are grateful to the New Frontiers programme and for the ongoing support from Enterprise Ireland and The Media Cube in IADT (Institute of Art Design and Technology) in DunLaoghaire where we are currently based.”

Bruce Hannah, CTO National Space Centre Ltd and head of the Irish judging panel said “The Jack-In-The-Box entry from Drone Consultants Ireland demonstrates the potential which satellite navigation data holds to deliver lifesaving new technologies to the world stage.  Drone Consultants entry leverages existing technology alongside innovation with exponential potential.  We wish the Drone Consultants Ireland team every success in Marseille.”

The ESNC competition, now in its 15th year, is an innovation competition that annually awards the best services, products and business ideas using satellite navigation and earth observation data in everyday life. Its mission is to spur the development of market driven applications based on satellite navigation technologies.  The burgeoning SatNav market is expected to grow to €240 billion by 2020.

The Ireland Region Competition for the annual ESNC awards has been organised and sponsored by National Space Centre Ltd since 2012.