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DroneHopper: an innovative solution for firefighting through remote-controlled aircrafts.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DroneHopper (DroneHopper: an innovative solution for firefighting through remote-controlled aircrafts.)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-07-31

Wildfires annually affect between 300 and 400 million hectares worldwide, approximately 3% of the land area, causing the loss of many human and animal lives and an immense economic damage. The social and environmental costs include the damage to human health, loss of biological diversity, release of greenhouse gases and damage to recreational values and infrastructures.

DroneHopper has developed a patented technology deployed in a leading edge unmanned remote-controlled aircraft that propells nebulised liquid to be directed towards land. The basic idea is to use semi-autonomous drones to release water at very low altitude over or close to the fire, taking advantage of the dynamic characteristics of the drones. This would outperform current operational performance achieved by helicopters or hydroplanes. We can reach closer distances and use water in a more efficient way, spearing time and avoiding the diffusion of the fire to a wider area.
The feasibility study focused on the forest fire market, developing a detailed analysis of the sector with the aim of developing a roadmap to introduce our innovative solution in different market segments. Thanks to the stakeholder analysis, the necessary alliances were studied for the introduction of the product in the different identified markets. We have developed a very good understanding of the market segments and the stakeholders involved in those markets, so we will be ready for full commercialization when our technical developments are completed.

Thanks to the feasibility study, we were able to realign our initial business model and analyse the best strategies for a complete market introduction. The modifications to the business plan were made through feedback from the partners and potential customers. We have introduced new business lines, focusing on different types of customers, as well as an intermediate solution to be offered as entry option for wild fires. The legal and IP studies have allowed us to ensure freedom of operation, both from the legal and regulatory standpoint, as well as from the current state of the art. The financial forecast will allow us to present to investors and have an overview of the economic potential of our project.

All these studies have given us an important insight into all the aspects of our business model. Now we have a solid business plan and a very clear idea of the introduction of DroneHopper into the market, so we are ready to apply for the phase-2 of the SME Instrument.
DRONE HOPPER is currently developing 4 lines of products derived from our 2 full-size prototypes. These platforms will offer unseen possibilities to fight wild and urban fires and for agricultural tasks. FORESt HOPPER (120 liters) & WILD HOPPER (300 litres) will be offered as a complement to exisiting aerial means both for indirect and direct attack to the fires, while URBAN HOPPER (150 litres) will be used for quick response in city fires. AGRO HOPPER (60 liters) will offer a unique performance and accuracy for irrigation, fertilizaiton and plague control.