Donecle, attacking airlines with its aircraft maintenance drones
Donecle, the start-up which is developing a control “swarm of drones” for airplanes, wants to become a cost-killer in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market for aircraft operated by airlines. While all the players in the civil aviation chain (companies and subcontractors) saw their margins increase by 12% on average in 2015, according to the report of the AlixPartners firm, only MRO players saw their profits fall, despite the number of flights and fleets constantly increasing. Logically, players capable of creating new profitability in this segment, such as Donecle but also other service providers, are therefore eagerly awaited by the industry. Especially since the manna is important. In 2013, the MRO market, according to this cabinet, generated $ 42 billion in profits.
It is to capture these opportunities with the major airlines that Donecle launched at the end of 2015. Not far from the EADS group based in Labège (Toulouse), the start-up has chosen to be incubated at the Connected Camp of Sigfox. With these “autonomous” drones, browsing around aircraft immobilized between two flights, the young company promises “an inspection twenty times faster and the intelligent recognition of faults” on planes, specifies its CEO Yann Bruner, a former maintenance engineer at Airbus. Donecle was also recognized at the last edition of the MIT Technology Review as innovator of the year. It indicates that it is currently seeking funding to develop its technology.
Leader in cost reduction between two flights, Easyjet is the first airline to have tested in 2014 for its Airbus the use of drones to carry out maintenance on these planes on the tarmac. The Easyjet drones have been developed in-house, and in collaboration with the University of Bristol. Beyond this flying solution, Airbus is also developing a series of new applications capable of detecting anomalies using artificial intelligence. Easyet has also chosen the aircraft manufacturer to jointly develop new detection prediction technologies. Donecle therefore presents itself as a challenger in a market in full revival.
SEE: Interview with Yann Bruner, CEO at Donecle, on the occasion of the visit to the Connected Camp
Founders: Matthew Claybrough
Creation date: October 2015
Seat: Toulouse (Connected Camp)
Competitors: EasyJet, Airbus, SR Technics, specialized subcontractors.
SEE also: A “Connected Camp” to bring the Toulouse IoT Valley onto the European scene
The 10 innovators under 35 awarded in France by the MIT Technology Review