Autonomous flight control for the electric personal aircraft of the near future

ABOUT

Daedalean is a Zürich-based startup, and our mission is to build a certified airworthy autopilot that can also pass the exams for human pilots.

The Opportunity

After more than a century of powered aviation the navigation, guidance and control of aircraft is still a very manual affair, with many functions relying directly on the human pilot. This presents a technical hurdle to expanding the economic applications of flight. It is bound to become a more pressing problem with more than 100 companies trying to bring small (mostly electric) VTOL aircraft ("flying cars") through certification and to market. Replacing the human in the loop with modern robotic systems will become a crucial enabler for whole new markets in aviation and urban transport.

The Challenge

Safety is tightly regulated in aviation and rightly so because it has made flying one of the safer means of transportation. Yet these regulations and the built-in desire for proven solutions also present a barrier to the adoption of new technology. There is no incremental path from uncertified UAV control to certification for personal transport (DAL-A), nor one from current DAL-A level avionics to full autonomy. To justify the absence of a human pilot we need to build a system that is sufficiently deterministic to pass certification, yet can deal with unexpected situations.

The Innovation

Relying on our expertise in robotics, computer vision and machine learning, as well as a thorough foundation in classical systems engineering, avionics and piloting, we have set out to build guidance navigation and control systems that replace and outperform the human pilot on every measurable scale. To autonomously fly in VFR, without relying on extra rules or infrastructure, requires that navigation, guidance and collision avoidance are able to use visual information first and last, alongside other instruments currently available in the cockpit. Our visual systems provide situational awareness and semantic understanding to safely guide any "flying car" from take-off to landing.

TEAM

Luuk van Dijk, Founder and CEO

PhD in Physics (UvA, RuG). Google (Gmail, Maps, Go), SpaceX (flight software).

Anna Chernova, Co-founder and CPO

BSc in Physics (СПбГУ), mathematical biology (Univ. of Oxford) and bioinformatics (NIMR MRC). Google (Maps). PPL(A) student (30 hrs), PPL(H) license holder (270 hrs).

Daniel Danciu, CTO

PhD Artificial Intelligence (Babeș-Bolyai University). Google (Shopping, Flights), YouTube (Live, Cast, API).

Thomas Kindler, Legal

Dr. jur. (Bern, Switzerland), LL.M. (Georgetown, Washington DC). Legal counsel for siroop AG.

Matthias Kraft, Computer Vision

PhD in Physics, plasmonic systems (Imperial College London). Imperial College London Mathematics department (MCMC samplers and application to machine learning).

David Haber, Deep Learning

MEng Computer Science (Imperial College London). Cognitir (co-founder), Soma Analytics (machine learning/software engineer).

Philipp Krüsi, Computer Vision

PhD in Robotics (Autonomous Systems Lab, ETH Zürich). Carnegie Mellon University, Hilti, Porsche.

Alexey Gronskiy, Deep Learning

PhD in Machine Learning (ETH Zurich), MSc/BSc in Mathematics (Moscow SU). Google Research (SWE intern, NLP), ABBYY (C++ SWE). EASA PPL(A) student pilot (50 hrs in Aquila A210).

Alexandru Băluț, Devtools

BSc Computer Science (Transilvania University). Google, Triposo, Pitivi.

Daila, Street Dog

Can open any door, as long as there's a guarantee of food on the other side (Google, Streets of Barcelona).

Bas Vermeulen, Platforms

BSc Laboratory Informatics & Automation (Hogeschool West-Brabant, Etten-Leur). Nokia, Novero, Laird.

Boris Videnov, Systems

MEng Mechanical Engineering (Imperial College London). Rolls-Royce plc (graduate scheme, Development Engineer - civil jet engines), Omnilid (co-founder).

Tatiana Yusupova, Autonomous Flight

PhD in Mathematics (Number Theory, University of York), Basics of Information Security (Moscow State University). Worldpay UK (Software Engineer and Team Security Champion). EASA PPL(A) license holder with SEP type and night rating (140 hrs in Cessna 172).

Armin Burgmeier, Simulation and Integration

PhD in Physics (KIT). DESY (Higgs Search at CMS), Bloomberg. FAA PPL(H) student (100 hrs in Robinson R44 II).

Corentin Perret-Gentil, Computer Vision

PhD in Mathematics (ETH Zürich), Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (Berkeley, CA), Centre de recherches Mathématiques (Montréal).

Zoltan Pillio, Computer Vision

MSc in chemistry (SZTE). Aero Glass (software engineer).

Harleen Hanspal, Systems (Intern)

Pursuing M.Sc. in Robotics, Systems and Controls (ETH), B.Tech in Electrical (IIT Bhubaneswar).

Łukasz Janyst, Autonomous Flight

MSc in Computer Science (Jagiellonian University). Institute of Nuclear Physics PAN (ATLAS experiment at LHC), CERN (Compilers, Massive Data Handling Systems).

Emmanuel Mogenet, Research

DEA/MS Computer Science. Google (Sr.Eng. Mgr, Head of Research), Apple (Sr. Scientist), Sony Pictures.

Ruben Polak, Deep Learning (Intern)

Pursuing MSc in Artificial Intelligence (University of Amsterdam), BASc in Aviation Engineering (University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam). Aiir Innovations (Computer Vision Engineering, Sales), AerData (Technical Consultant).

Sasha Tsvyashchenko, Autonomous Flight

MSc Computer Science (Kyiv National University), Materialise (CAD / 3D printing), Automated Industrial Machinery Inc (CAD / CAM), Google (applied ML for YouTube / Ads /..., ad fraud detection).

Janet Darling, Operations

B.Sc.(Hon). Business Links (Consulting, Ops), IBM (Fin. consulting, Bus. transformation, Project management), CitiGroup (Process optimisation, TQM, SixSigma), iDarling GmbH (Process consulting), ClearSight (Fund of Fund ops), PALA (Mining investment, Ops, HR and IT), Agys (Fintech, Bus. Automation, Market Dev).

Karol Rychwalski, Recruitment

MA in Sociology (Warsaw University of Life Sciences). Roche, Toolbox for HR (cooperating with various tech start-ups).

Grigory Yakushev, Simulation & Modelling

MSc in CS (МГУ), Eagle Dynamics, Google (Calendar, Search), Mediahead, NVidia (Gameworks).

Theo, Emotional Support Animal

Italian sheep dog, anti cat and squirrel defense.

Peter de Lange, Simulation & Modelling

Msc in Mechanical Engineering (TU Delft), Pilatus Aircraft (simulation), Moog Inc. (haptics).

Christian Robertz, System Integration

MSc Aerospace Engineering (TU Berlin, TU Braunschweig). UMS Skeldar (Flight Control, Autopilot). DLR, Lufthansa Technik, Volkswagen.

Louis Schreuder, Flight Technician

BTEC & Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering. Senior Aircraft Maintenance Technician, twin turbine helicopter specialist, fixed-wing and UAV exposure. PPL(A) with 200+ hrs, IMC and night rating & PPL(H) with 120 hrs. Quadcopter hobbyist.

Olga Sternik, Marketing

MSc in Applied Math (Moscow Aviation Institute). Sterno.Ru (internet marketing agency – founder & CEO), BrandSpotter (social media listening tool with ML-based sentiment analysis – founder & CEO)

Andrea Schlapbach, CCO

MSc in Physics/Chemistry (ETHZ). Swiss Re, SIX Group, Hexagon/Leica Geosystems, FLARM (co-founder), SAFEmine COO/CFO (co-founder). EASA LAPL/SPL/FI(S) (over 2000 hrs), UAV expert.

Reza Madjidi, Avionics Certification (Advisor)

BSc / MBA in avionics systems. ConsuNova CEO (strategy, avionics certification programs). FAA Systems & Equipment DER certification auditor, trainer, consultant. Atego, VP Global Services. HighRely Inc., cofounder. Developer of critical embedded avionics and safety-critical systems.

Iljya Kalai, Autonomous Navigation

BMath Pure Math / Combinatorics & Optimization (UWaterloo). Google (Maps).

CAREERS
(f/m)

Generally Awesome Engineer

Your role: to come up with algorithms and code to completely and reliably replace the human pilot, only bound by the laws of Nature and rules of the air. Preferred qualifications and experience: be smart, get stuff done, at least 5 years of hardcore C++ software engineering experience, proven research abilities, and applied engineering skills.

Learn more

Data Engineer

Your role: to help scale data acquisition, processing and storage pipelines for our machine learning training and evaluation tasks. Your role will interact closely with our machine learning and simulation teams.

Learn more

NEWS

2019-05-24 Daedalean and EASA launch Innovation Partnership Contract

On 8 May 2019 Daedalean and EASA concluded a fruitful 3 day workshop to kick off their Innovation Partnership Contract (IPC). The project titled “Concepts of Design Assurance for Neural Networks” aims to examine the challenges posed by the application of Neural Networks in aviation, in the broader context of allowing Machine Learning and more general Artificial Intelligence on board aircraft. Experts from EASA and Daedalean are bundling their expertise to create concepts and safety standards for the application of this branch of Artificial Intelligence in safety critical avionics. The project is expected to run through January 2020 when a final report will be presented.

2019-05-12 Daedalean and Volocopter conduct autonomy-enabling flight tests using artificial intelligence and computer vision technologies

Update:Video released.

Daedalean and Volocopter conducted joint flight tests on Wednesday 27 th March 2019 at the airfield in Bruchsal (D) in order to test Daedalean’s Visual situational awareness system (“Raven”) on board an experimental Volocopter. The tests demonstrated crucial environmental perception capabilities for visual navigation and collision detection in landing and en-route scenarios, using 3 high definition cameras mounted outside the fuselage of the aircraft, the data from which are fed to the on-board computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.

2019-03-12 Daedalean presents Xenon

A comprehensive GPGPU compute platform addressing all aspects of GPGPU computing for safety critical aerospace applications using the family of certifiable embedded AMD GPU devices. Xenon includes the standalone OpenCL 1.1 runtime software stack as well as the complete compiler toolchain supporting both OpenCL and AMD assembler languages. The OpenCL runtime is OS-agnostic, has no external dependencies and can run on barebone hardware. Supported AMD GPU devices currently include Radeon E8860, E9171, and E9260. The cross-platform software development kit for Linux is available.

CONTACT