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


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.


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).

Alexey Gokhberg, High Performance Computing

CSc in Physics and Mathematics (VAK). Fragata Computer Systems AG, ETH Zurich (Native Systems, Computational Seismology).

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).

Ákos Maróy, Autonomous Flight

MSc in Computer Science and Economics (JATE, Hun.). EU Edge (co-founder), Aero Glass (founder), Scarab Research (co-founder). EASA CPL(A) license holder with ATPL theory credit and ME-IR ratings (370 hrs in Diamond DA-40 and DA-42).

Emmanuel Mogenet, Research

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

Gavrilo Bozovic, Systems

MSc Microengineering (EPFL). 500 Startups alumnus.

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).


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, Civil Aviation and budget. 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


2018-10-11 CNN Money Switzerland interviews Daedalean: Will we really have flying cars by 2023?

CNN's Hannah Wise interviews David and Luuk on the topic of self flying cars for their Front Seat Magazine.

Short facebook bit and long interview

2018-07-18 Daedalean AI on display at Farnborough International Airshow 2018 in Mercury Mission Systems Inc booth

CES/Mercury Mission Systems Inc invited Daedalean AI to demonstrate their Computer Vision and AI software running on the MSSI Rock2 platform at the 2018 Farnborough Airshow, as reported by Intelligent Aerospace magazine.

Learn more