Technology Startup Company Blue Vigil’s Power Drone Tether now flies with the Inspire 1 along with most 24V aircraft. Harrisonburg, VA, July 24, 2017 – Blue Vigil has announced the ability to integrate the company’s drone power system with the Inspire 1 drone. The company’s Drone Power Tether System is designed to provide the drone user […]
Alexis Miller | The Breeze
The hard work of JMU and local business Blue Vigil took flight Friday when the two-year-old startup sent their drone-powered tether system soaring over Bridgeforth Stadium.
Blue Vigil’s platform provides a low-altitude aerial vantage point that has the ability to carry cameras, sensors and radio equipment into the air without the dependence of someone on the ground.
With the collaborative efforts of both Blue Vigil and the office of Technology Innovation and Economic Development at JMU, Blue Vigil was selected by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer to be in the Top 40 “Best University Startups of 2017.”
Gerard Eldering, co-founder of Blue Vigil, explained how his business activity’s been focused around finding technologies at universities that have the potential to be something more. Once he finds it, his team builds a startup around that technology.
While at the University of Kansas, Eldering’s team found drone tethering technologies that were developed in the 1980s. Even though the system was outdated, Eldering saw the possibilities behind it.
“It was a really good product idea, and we could build it,” Eldering said. “So we said let’s go and we formed a company who could start building the product.”
There are limitations that certain drones have, including limited flight time, battery changes and dedicated operators on the ground. With this new tethering system, those limitations don’t exist.
“It’s the freedom and the ability to put the drone up and leave it,” Eldering said. “Imagine the police are observing a hostage situation. With a traditional drone with a battery in it, they would need to take it down in about 15 to 20 minutes to charge it up again.”
With the updated tethering system, there is no need for an operator on the ground and the constant power traveling through a 150-foot power cable provides the drone with an unlimited amount of flight time.
Todd Stave is the CEO of Blue Vigil and expects that its product will provide vital assistance to certain groups whose job requires a drone to stay in the air longer.
“We are marketing to law enforcement, first responders, news media and we have had a lot of interest from the communication community,” Stave said. “From a business perspective, the big limitation now is that we simply can’t produce them fast enough.”
Blue Vigil has a plan and Stave expects that by summertime, will be able to produce them at a faster pace.
Blue Vigil has also been invited to participate in University Startups Conference and Demo Day at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The event raises awareness of the vital role that universities play in the formation of potential startups and the creation of jobs.
“It gets us out there,” Eldering said. “It’s the visibility. When people find out that Blue Vigil has been accepted for that, it just increases the excitement about the company.”
Mary Lou Bourne, director of technology innovation and economic development at JMU, aids in the development and promotion of local technological startups.
“My role in this is bringing the pieces and people together,” Bourne said. “The creation and innovation of startups that can then become companies, make funding and eventually employ people too. That’s the goal.”
While Blue Vigil has accomplished a lot for being a young and developing company, Stave acknowledges that it still has a long way to go to develop its system even further.
“The commercial dead-battery backup system that we are developing will not only have the ability to take a second battery that can be used for take-offs and landings, but also will charge the battery while in hover,” Stave said. “One of the other things we are looking into is developing the ability to run camera data down the cable itself.”
Bourne is thrilled with not only the successful collaboration between the two organizations, but also the JMU community.
Contact Karey Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUMMARY: Award winning startup Blue Vigil’s will demonstrate a tethered drone system on April 14th at 1 p.m. at JMU’s Bridgeforth Stadium.
Local startup Blue Vigil — named a top 40 “Best University Startups of 2017” by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer — will demonstrate a tethered drone from 1-1:30 p.m. Friday, April 14 at James Madison University’s Bridgeforth Stadium.
Access the football field through Gate A behind the ticket office near the entrance to the Champions Drive parking deck.
Blue Vigil CEO Todd Stave says the drone “offers a powerful observation and communications platform to law enforcement officials, first responders, event organizers and others. The support from the Harrisonburg investment community and James Madison University is allowing us to rapidly bring this valuable technology to the markets.”
The startup was created through an innovative economic development program managed by InnovateTech Ventures based in Herndon; James Madison University’s Office of Technology Innovation and Economic Development; and Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors.
Blue Vigil is in the process of commercializing the device, which is designed to provide a low altitude vantage point and can carry a wide variety of cameras, sensors or radio equipment. The tether provides the power supply, allowing the platform to stay aloft for a virtually unlimited time.
The company has been invited to Washington, D.C. to participate in University Startups Demo Day at Congress April 18-20. The event raises awareness in Congress of the pivotal role that universities play in the formation of high potential startups, the creation of high-value jobs across the country and overall national competitiveness.
HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Harrisonburg Startup Company Blue Vigil has closed the $250,000 seed round, which was funded by private investors from the local community. Blue Vigil is in the process of commercializing a tethered hovering observation platform technology. This aerial platform is designed to provide a low altitude vantage point and can carry a wide variety of cameras, sensors, or radio equipment. It is mobile, lightweight and easy to deploy. Training and additional manpower is not necessary to use the platform. The tether provides the power supply, allowing the platform to stay aloft for a virtually unlimited time.
The startup was developed through an innovative economic development program managed by Herndon based InnovateTech Ventures. Working in partnership with Mary Lou Bourne, Executive Director of James Madison University’s Office of Technology Innovation and Economic Development and a small group of private investors in Harrisonburg, InnovateTech identified the technology along with this promising startup. They recruited experienced entrepreneur, Todd Stave, to run Blue Vigil.
“Blue Vigil will offer a powerful observation and communications platform to law enforcement officials, first responders, event organizers and others,” stated CEO Todd Stave. “The support from the Harrisonburg investment community and James Madison University is allowing us to rapidly bring this valuable technology to the markets.”
Blue Vigil has committed to keeping at least fifty percent of its jobs in Harrisonburg for the next three years. James Madison University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Blue Vigil to provide space as well as access to interns and research and development capabilities. Blue Vigil has contracted with a JMU instructor to lead development of the product prototype. James Madison University President Jonathan Alger stated, “Bringing together people to create locally-based technology companies is a great example of how JMU is engaged with the community.”
According to Dr. Yvonne Harris, the JMU Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship, “The launch of Blue Vigil through the collaboration of JMU, InnovateTech and Harrisonburg private investors is a private-public partnership enabling the commercialization of disruptive technology in a manner which supports regional economic development goals. JMU plans to continue working with these partners to develop more startups using this model.”