The “Wright Team Incoportated” is flying high after seeing off competition from 32 countries to win the global ActInSpace hackathon at the Toulouse space show.
The foursome — Adelaide University students Kosta Canatselis and Bez Mohammadi along with BAE System’s Michael De Angelis and Levin Lian who works for SAAB — came up with a unique tamper proof system for drone registration with real-time tracking — Seraph — so that at any one time, all airborne drones, can be logged in terms of departure and destination.
With around seven million drones forecast to be in the skies by 2020, according to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the Wright team saw an opportunity when UniSA’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC) ran the first Australian 24-hour event in May where the winning team would be taken to France for the world final.
The team worked on a challenge set by French Space Agency, Centre National D’etudes Spatiales (CNES), to create new innovative traceability services.
“We all met at hackathons around Adelaide. It takes a certain type of person to do well at these events,” Mr Lian said.
“We named ourselves after the Wright brothers (Orville was an early contender). I worked for 24 hours non stop, you have your best ideas at 1am just as about to turn in and then you can’t sleep.
“We are interested in the ecosystem of drones, which are really flying robots. There is a big potential for drones beyond the recreational, such as automated delivery, taxi services, policing. We want to develop that ecosystem, to see how drones flying past your front door would look.”
Around 2200 people took part in the initial events with 550 teams across 35 countries and 70 cities.
After the Wright team won the only Australian ActInSpace event, they went to France in late June for the final.
“The judges there were more interested in the business side — how we can commercialise it — than the technology. We have been in touch with a few stakeholders since, we want to take it forward.”
SA Space Industry Centre chief executive Richard Price said the win highlighted SA’s vibrant space ecosystem.
“There is so much happening in the space industry in Australia,” he said.
“This huge win will open doors for the team and it shows there are opportunities in this exciting industry that can start right here in SA.
“We are continuing to build on our industrial academia and research and development to demonstrate why SA is the undisputed champion of this industry.”