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Luton-based company joins with European partners to design, build and launch the worlds first indoor drone

18 December 2017

Luton-based film making company Clearhead have joined forces with The University of Valencia and companies in Belgium and Spain to design and build the world’s very first indoor drone.

The 1.4million Euro, ‘AiRT’ project, is funded via Horizon 2020, the EU’s biggest research and innovation programme, and is this month at its half-way point.

The project, firmly under wraps until now, is a close collaboration between Clearhead, the Spanish university, Belgium-based Pozyx Labs which specialises in indoor positioning hardware and software and Madrid-based AeroTools UAT, experts in hardware and manufacturing.

Gavin O’Brien, Partner and Business Director of Clearhead, said: “Winning this job has been a huge coup for us and the UK as a whole. So much of the film equipment we use comes from China or America so to see Europe leading on this and to be playing a key part in the creation of a world first is extraordinary.”

For the last 12 months the Clearhead team have flown back and forth to Spain, documenting the drone’s development on film.

As well as leading on the branding and marketing of the drone, Clearhead has led on the research and focus groups, which were held throughout 2017 in the UK and Spain. These brought together a mix of Europe’s best film makers, photographers, theatre performers and architects.

Alex Lawrence, Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Clearhead, said: “These focus groups have enabled us to understand what creative professionals need and would most value from an indoor drone, how it could be used and what needs to be included in the design. People told us they wanted an indoor drone and one that is safe, easy to navigate, nimble, with a high spec camera and good battery life.”

The potential of the drone is extensive, as Gavin explained: “Architects will be able to see if there is damage at the top of towers, in a theatre you will be able to shoot over a crowd and behind the audience. For film makers there will be motion trackers, so the drone can lock on to a person and follow you as you walk. Exciting times ahead.”

The new drone is expected to be ready for trade shows by June 2018.

The project is led by The University of Valencia, whose research team wanted to make the world’s first indoor drone from scratch and approached the Horizon 2020 programme for funding.

The next stage for the project is testing.

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