Let’s go on with our popular «9 questions series». This time we had the chance to talk to Christopher McCall, CEO of Fotokite. Their mission is to make aerial sensing simple and safe – with a tethered flying camera.
Christopher, what’s the idea behind Fotokite?
The main idea and Fotokite’s mission is to make aerial sensing simple and safe. We solve some of the major problems that are keeping commercial drones out of the air today, such as flight time, safety, and regulation. With the unique technology used in Fotokite systems, our customers are able to fly safely in cities and close to crowds of people where much of the interesting content is for sports and news broadcast and public safety uses.
What’s happening right now?
We’re working hard on what’s next in broadcasting, industrial inspection, and public safety markets.
Is there something you would do differently with the knowledge of today?
Of course! One thing that took us a lot of time and experience was learning how to manufacture over a thousand Fotokites, which we did last year. Our team learned a lot from that set of experiences.
Who are your customers?
Major news broadcasters, professional sports teams, industrial inspection operators, film industry, and many more- anyone who needs a quick and easy way to gain an aerial perspective within 50 meters around them.
What about competitors?
There’s a few companies making tethered systems for off-the-shelf drones but fewer making the fully integrated systems. CyPhy works is leading the space in terms of size and maturity and no drone competition conversation has ever past without mentioning DJI. In the end, competition is healthy. We think it ends up funneling value-seeking customers in the professional tethered drone space to us.
What’s your background?
I have 10 years’ experience leading multidisciplinary teams in autonomous aerial and ocean robotics teams in CH and the US. I started my career with mechanical engineering as well as project and program management and have continued to enjoy working with talented teams on exciting systems so far.
What are the next steps for Fotokite?
We’re working on the next generation of products, building in more intelligence (i.e. computer vision related tasks) and connectivity to make the operation and real-world value of using a Fotokite as accessible and easy as possible.
Get some impressions of what Fotokite’s daily mission is: