I am Davide Venturelli, the acting CEO of Archon.
Archon consists of a system where several flying drones can interact with each other in a perfectly automatic way, to perform a series of complex operations – including recharging automatically - without the direct intervention of people. Briefly It is about smart scheduling of multiple robotic intelligences.
It all started in Silicon Valley – as a lot of other high tech stories. We were two Italian entrepreneurs, sharing not only the same origins but also the same first name - and attending the same course at Singularity University in California.
We also shared the belief that the timing was right for drone-technology and full-robotic substituting of the tasks that humans don’t want to do, so for a year we joined a collaboration with a U.S. drone startup to learn the tricks of the trade - and subsequent Archon was founded.
The name is from ancient Greece: the “chiefs” in various Greek city states was called Archon. It has a strong reference to the Fantasy & Sci-Fi culture and we like the picture of creating a “mastermind” - a sort of embodiment of the artificial intelligence system we have committed us to develop and to implement.
Our overall objective and our final goal is to substitute people involvement in dangerous and repetitive operations with robots that can perform the same tasks with great efficiency and no risks.
The FIWARE contribution?
We found ourselves fully aligned with the overall approach of FIWARE technology: the shared protocols, a common language, and the vision of catalyzing the interactions within the Internet of Things. It eases the development of technology.
Why apply for INCENSe?
Our project is very visionary – and it is actually ahead of what is allowed by the current regulatory environment at the moment. Hence we need a lot of support both financially and logistically. INCENSe could help us in both directions and the program not only provided a small but significant funding for our development needs but also very attractive connections to two large industry players in the energy sector, Enel and Endesa.
The program supports us in finding the right product-market-fit in the cleantech world - and it is always good to get feedback and input from the coaches in order to be on track.
Significant road blocks so far?
Our interaction with the regulatory bodies is a constant frustration in our daily operations. As a start up the urgency is important and most of our R&D is constrained by governmental processes
And we try to anticipate likely regulatory practices and at the same time lobbying/educating the civil aviation agencies. Processes are of course aimed at ensuring that the technology is safe and reliable – which is of utmost importance.
We have been funded mostly by grants and awards, so some of our significant highlights regards financials - including being finalists of Premio Marzotto, and track winners of Hello Tomorrow Challeng. But our biggest satisfaction is the attention from the corporate world: the innovation departments of fantastic potential customers like in INCENSe with Enel and Endesa but also Total and AirLiquide.
The coming 12 months we need to complete the tests and the experimentations and close some deals with large customers. This is the way we can verticalize our data-collection platform and we will be able to scale our end-to-end solution to tens, hundreds of similar use cases in 2017-2018 when the regulatory barriers will be completely lifted.