Fireman and drone

Prox Dynamics

The technology firm Prox Dynamics has developed the world's smallest drone – a highly advanced spy helicopter weighing 18 grams. To keep competitors at bay, the drone is protected by more than 15 patents, several trademarks and a design registration.

About Prox Dynamics

Prox Dynamics develops, produces and sells the world's smallest and most advanced personal reconnaissance system (PRS) for civil and military use.

The company was started in 2007, and with a focus on innovative solutions to the sector's complex problems, development of the first product, the PD-100 PRS, was started. The solutions are based on modern microelectronics, sensor technology and creative mechanical design, and there has been close cooperation with industrial and commercial partners. The product was first put to use on a large scale by the British armed forces in Afghanistan in 2012.

Prox Dynamics today is the world's leading producer of nano-UAVs, and the PD-100 PRS has been sold in more than 15 countries.

The entire system weights just over a kilogram and is a portable unit that an operator can easily carry on any mission.

The system consists of two main parts, a base unit and a UAV. In addition to the processor, battery and remote control for the UAV, the base unit consists of a full-HD screen on which the operator can view live video and data from the helicopter as this is manoeuvred around.

The UAV, known as Black Hornet, weighs a total of 18 grams, has a top speed of 5 metres per second and can transmit video back to the operator at a distance of up to 1.6 km for up to 25 minutes.

Important assessments are made along the way in the process

For Prox Dynamics, there are two parts to the assessments that have to be made prior to an application process. First we have to decide what part of the solution is unique to us and our product, and what it will be easier for a competitor to find alternatives for. The second assessment is what is best kept secret and what can be allowed to be made public.

As a company in a specialist industry in which all the employees have detailed knowledge of their technical field, assessing whether the solution is unique is generally the easiest thing. On the other hand, much of the development is in 'hidden' technology, buried deep in the hardware and/or software solutions. It may be natural to keep these secret, while more visible solutions, such as rotor design or GUI, can be more easily observed and may need protection.

Documentation ensures that knowledge does not disappear

With the exception of the contractual obligations of the employees and continuous discussions in and around projects, we have set up documentation systems to prevent the employees' knowledge disappearing from the firm. This also overlaps with routines resulting from the certifications Prox Dynamics holds, which mean that decisions and development details are continuously documented along the way.

Choice of patent attorney

In addition to experience and good technological understanding in fields ranging from mechanics to signal processing, telecommunications and user interfaces, the choice of patent attorney is a matter of flexibility.

In the hectic everyday life of a fast-growing company, it was important to engage the services of someone who could fill an internal IP management role and make IP work and decisions simpler with less 'noise' from patent agents and patent authorities.

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