With drones making their way into a whole spectrum of sectors, startup Marble has decided to take on the maritime surveillance department.
Marble has recognised the need for a cheap and effective solution to the expensive use of dedicated maritime surveillance aircraft or the mostly fruitless alternative of using boats, which co-founder Mathieu Johnsson tells us: “can barely inspect 1% of the territorial waters per day!”
“At the intersection of drones and airliners will be a new category of personal vehicles”
The company are seeking to offer a helping hand to small Carribean islands who are suffering from the limitation of choice. Mat explains, “Theses islands have very large areas of territorial waters and have to deal with drug trafficking, poaching and illegal immigration daily.”
He adds, “We are producing unmanned aircraft which, for the same daily cost as a boat, can survey the whole territory. To make that happen, you need a system that is – literally – a million times more reliable and has ten times the range of hobby drones available today, whilst still being affordable for small governments.” And Marble decided to focus all its droning expertise into this project.
A higher point of view
This progress has inspired the Marble team to look to the future. Mat tells us, “We believe the most transformational change will be in air transport. At the intersection of drones and airliners will be a new category of personal vehicles, 100% electrically powered, and designed to transport you routinely in the air over short distances, completely redefining urban logistics.”
“Bristol is the obvious place to find the best talent: it is the aerospace capital of the UK and the host of some of the best robotics research”
This doesn’t come without its challenges, though. “The most difficult part of that problem is to figure out the right vehicle to satisfy safety, performance and cost requirements,” Mat explains. “And we believe the best way to get there quickly is to develop all the required technology on a small scale, starting with advanced unmanned aircraft for maritime surveillance.”
Building in Bristol
Marble was born in Bristol, but the company is currently based in London because of an opportunity to be involved in the Entrepreneur First accelerator.
Mat says the South West provided them with the tools needed to allow the business to take off and the startup looks forward to returning once the seed fundraising is complete. Mat elaborates, “Bristol is a fantastic place to build a business: there is a growing startup scene providing a great sense of community and support when needed, and an easy access to some of the best capital in Europe through the proximity to London.
“For Marble, in particular, Bristol is the obvious place to find the best talent: it is the aerospace capital of the UK and the host of some of the best robotics research in Europe.”
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