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Kiwi drone start-up takes out innovation award

22 Apr 2016

A Kiwi start up company from East Auckland has taken out the Most Innovative Product award at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas this week for their drone.

The NAB is a broadcasting fair in Las Vegas, attracting over 100,000 participants and visitors from around the globe.

Dotteral, run by Matt and Seamus Rowe, Sean Pentecost, Will Barker and Steve Barr, was a finalist in Callaghan Innovation's C-Prize, a competition established to stimulate and develop creative solutions for use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) for use in the screen industry.

While they didn’t win, their creative solution to reducing UAV noise earned them a place at the Callaghan Innovation New Zealand pavilion at the NAB Show, where they are exhibiting for the first time.

Rowe says the idea which caught Newsshooters’ eye was a combination of ‘shrouds’, which mask propeller noise and noise-cancelling technology.

"We make drones quieter – that’s why they’re called drones – because they’re named after the sound – and the issue is that when you fly over people shooting with mics, it ruins the sound,” he explains.

Rowe says winning the award has been "sweet" and that the exposure gained will help promote the company internationally.

“For a small New Zealand company to be named is a big thing – for the rest of the world to know about us is amazing – because once people know you, and you can say you’ve won an award people are eager to work with you,” he says.

"Without going to trade shows you’d never have the chance to meet, ordinarily contact is just emailing back and forth, but through face to face conversations we can really get stuff done,” Rowe adds.

Dotteral's technology reduces drone engine sounds which prove a problem for filmmakers when shooting scenic aerial footage, meaning the noise has to be taken out in post-production taking time and money.

Rowe says, "We started the company last year with funding from the C-prize – without the C-prize we wouldn't have started - it gives people with big ideas opportunities.”

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