Ty Audronis literally grew up in paradise. However, the Northern California town was destroyed in her 2018 wildfires, including Oudronis’ childhood home.
“That’s why it’s called a campfire area,” says the founder, explaining that the flames were started by sparks from a 97-year-old power line.
But Audronis, who literally wrote a book about designing purpose-built drones, wasn’t really going to let it happen again when it comes to designing multiple drones. Wildfire prevention is now limited to the “medieval technique” of using towers miles away to check for smoke signals.
“By the time you see the smoke signal, you’re already in big trouble,” says Audronis.
his thoughts? Replacing that system with his 3D multispectral mapping in real time is exactly where his company, his Tempest Droneworx, comes into play.
When asked how she connected with co-founder Dana Abramowitz, Oudronis admitted it was Match.com, not only do the two share duties at Tempest It was a pre-SXSW brainstorming session in 2021 that inspired the pair to start Tempest.
When Audronis mentioned his vision of a drone battalion, Abramowitz, a serial entrepreneur and founder who prefers to leave the spotlight to his partners, said at a conference that the idea I told him that he should not announce You have to set up a company. After all, Audronis is a pioneer in the drone industry.
“Since 1997 I have been building multicopters,” he says.
As well as publishing industry-standard books, he has also brought his expertise to the film business. However, despite its name, Tempest is a software company and does not manufacture drones.
That software is called Harbinger. Audronis explains that real-time management and visualization solutions can be viewed on virtually any device, including mobile and augmented reality. The system uses a video game engine to display, but as Audronis puts it, “the magic happens” on the backend.
Not only is Harbinger drone-agnostic, it can use crowdsourced data and static sensors. With the wildfire example in mind, battalions can flock to affected areas to notify authorities and stop the fire before it gets out of hand. But fire isn’t the only intended use for the Harbinger.
A civilian version of the Harbinger is expected to go on sale in late 2023 or early 2024. For military applications, Navy veteran his Audronis means the product has just entered Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 5, about 18 months away. From the full demo. The latest news for Tempest is that earlier this month it won a “Direct Phase II” SBIR (Government Small Business Innovation Research) contract with the US Department of the Air Force.
Not bad for a company that until recently was entirely self-funded. He is the founder of Houston, who graduated last February. I teach a lot of connections.
And he and Abramowitz have no plans to end their collaboration now that they’ve grown up.
“Our philosophy behind [our business] I don’t keep my cards near my vest,” says Audronis. “If there is a potential competitor, we would like to be a partner.”
Until five weeks ago, when Tempest doubled in size to include full-time developers, the company was a two-founder. Once Tempest gets his SIBR check, the team grows again and more developers join. They are currently looking for an office in the city. As Audronis puts it, the Tempest Droneworx is “100% made in Houston.” Paradise may have been lost, but Harbinger will soon be available and disasters like this will never happen again.
Dana Abramowitz and Ty Audronis co-founded Tempest Droneworks.Photo credit: Tempest Droneworks