CHF 100’000 Tech Seed loan for a start-up that aims to revolutionize the drone industry

FIT | 29 April 2021

Switzerland has nearly 100 companies specialized in drones, leading to the nickname “Drone Valley”. The start-up Dpendent has decided to focus on this fast-growing segment by developing a new technology aimed at increasing the independence of these new “devices of the sky”, which are still very dependent on human intervention. This is a major step forward, which is likely to interest many sectors already convinced of the enormous potential offered by drones. Dpendent has just received a loan of 100’000 Swiss francs to support its development. 

Today, drones are used for increasingly complex missions, requiring the tool to be as efficient as possible. Although the technology is evolving, with more precise, smaller and quieter machines, there is still a hurdle: their dependence on human action. Thus, on average, drones are only 20% independent, the remaining 80% being carried out by humans in the context of mission preparation and frequent and intensive ground handling operations. This human intervention limits the impact of drones, which are subject to human error and also pose a risk to people working on the ground – for example during operations in natural disaster or conflict zones.

Dpendent intends to solve this issue with its technology that increases the independence of drones. The start-up has developed an Unmanned Drone Ground Handling Station (Drone Port) called “D-LOG One” with a docking system compatible with most professional drones. The station can be installed on any vehicle (military car, police/fire/rescue service, unmanned car, etc.), and can also operate on its own. Thanks to a robotic arm and accessories, tasks such as replacing drone batteries, changing their sensors, resupplying them, or even retrieving medical samples and filling phytosanitary products can be carried out remotely and completely autonomously.

Mobile version of D-LOG One

This will make it possible to deploy drones 24 hours a day, over greater distances, more safely and efficiently. Given the enormous potential, it is not surprising that the start-up is targeting markets worldwide, mainly in sensitive segments such as security, defence or surveillance, where precision, time investment and high standards are paramount. But not only that. Dpendent also addresses the agricultural and wine-growing sectors, as well as the delivery industry.

At the head of Dpendent are two men with complementary profiles: Lucien Moser, an economist, and Loïc Desfayes, an expert in electromobility. The engineering of the “D-LOG One” station was carried out in collaboration with the Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology and the HEIG-VD.

The Tech Seed loan of CHF 100’000 granted by FIT will enable Dpendent to reach their short-term objectives for the next six months, which include completing the prototype of the station, hiring a team, and producing a promotional video for the project.

Lucien Moser & Loïc Desfayes

Useful links
Press images