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FLYINSTINCT: IMMEDIATE TAKEOFF TOWARDS MORE SECURITY!

Linked to the stakes of air safety, the services in charge of securing the airport space are watching day and night for the safety of passengers and aircraft to avoid a possible disaster scenario. The start-up Flyinstinct provides a solution to accompany and accelerate the process of detecting suspicious debris using artificial intelligence.

Interview with Arthur Ni, alumni of X and Telecom Paris, CEO and founder of Flyinstinct.

flyinstinct

Tell us about the purpose of the start-up Flyinstinct and its activities.

Flyinstinct is positioned as a start-up that relies on artificial intelligence technology. We have succeeded in developing an algorithm that has the ability to process image data to identify small anomalies. It's a technology that we've managed to develop since 2017, first around offshore oil platforms, but also on nuclear sites.

The market has really been identified from 2019 in the airport sector. It was through my experience as a pilot that I understood the issues at stake, which are part of aviation safety.

The principle is to bring the technology initially developed for the maritime sector to the air sector. It is a very attractive market which is explained by the non-resolution of the problem; this will increase the demand which covers 58,000 airports in the world.

Finally, it is important to know that the customer wants a turnkey solution, not just the algorithm. Thanks to the recruitment, this led us to build our own camera and an adapted PC. The camera prototype was designed and developed in the X-FAB prototyping center of the Ecole Polytechnique's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Department.

Our technology has been specially designed to be attached to cars. Thus, when a FOD (Foreign Object Debris) is detected, the PC is immediately warned of a debris or a suspicious object. It is a digital assistance that saves officers time and allows them to be more accurate during inspections.


Tell us about your academic and professional background and that of your associates. How did you meet?

I am an alumni of the Ecole Polytechnique (X05) and also graduated from Telecom Paris in 2008. My co-founder is also a polytechnician (X77).

We have 12 employees, including a sales manager specialized in airport equipment. His expertise brings us a lot on a daily basis.

Among the closest partners from a management point of view, there is Sylvie Xian GU, the COO on the operational level. Her missions are mainly legal and financial. This helps us to conduct fundraising and contract management. In addition, she is in charge of the whole recruitment strategy, which makes her role indispensable to the development of Flyinstinct.

With my scientific and technical background, I am in charge of the product part, while my collaborator Alberto Eschenasy is in charge of the commercial part.


What did the incubation at Ecole Polytechnique, X-UP, bring you, and why did you join the Telecom Paris incubator? Are there any differentiating elements?

The incubation within the program was a great opportunity. It was the commercial approach that I was missing and this program taught me that the essential points not to neglect are the approaches that revolve around the product.

Does the product meet a demand? Is there a market? The expert in entrepreneurship, Bruno Martinaud, was a great help to us, because he knows perfectly how to combine the business side with science.

For profiles like mine, which are very technical, X-UP was a chance, because they accompanied us at the "early stage" where we had a lot of ideas, but we were looking for a structure and that is the added value of X-UP, for our start-up.

In a second phase, we decided to join another incubator of the IP Paris, the one of Telecom Paris. We chose this one for several reasons. The point that seemed important to us was the strong network in the use of artificial intelligence that it has. Thanks to this incubation at an advanced stage from a technological point of view, we managed to sign contracts with groups such as Aéroports de Paris thanks to these connections.

In short, these two experiences were complementary, because X-UP provided me with the structure at the early stage and the Telecom Paris incubator allowed us to expand Flyinstinct and gain access to a large network of large industrial companies at a more advanced stage.
For the next few years we would really like to develop and exploit the market we currently have. We are focusing first on our developed technology and on expanding the Flyinstinct team in order to export our technology as much as possible internationally. In this regard, we have hired someone who works in Hong Kong, which allows us to have a foothold in Asia. The market that interests us at our level is the European airports.


    Thanks to our connections, they have made themselves known and have signed several contracts with major airports. Pascale Massot, Head of Telecom Paris Novation Center


What would you say to project leaders who want to start up like you?

People who want to become entrepreneurs must persevere, there is a difference between dream and reality and when you hold on, you can have nice surprises at the end.


    Very early on, we confronted them with potential clients [...] it's very important to provide them with a structure, otherwise they may go down a path that is not the right one.
    Pascale Massot, Head of Telecom Paris Novation Center


In the future, do you plan to develop other technologies?

For the next few years we would really like to develop and exploit the market we currently have. We are focusing first on our developed technology and on expanding the Flyinstinct team in order to export our technology as much as possible internationally. In this regard, we have hired someone who works in Hong Kong, which allows us to have a foothold in Southeast Asia. The market that interests us at our level is the European airports.


    Thanks to our connections, they have made themselves known and have signed several contracts with major airports. Pascale Massot, Head of Telecom Paris Novation Center


What would you say to project leaders who want to start up like you?

People who want to become entrepreneurs must persevere, there is a difference between dream and reality and when you hold on, you can have nice surprises at the end.