SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Five companies from around the world have now settled into Syracuse’s Tech Garden for the next GENIUS NY competition.

The companies come from as far away as Australia, England and Seattle and as close as New York City and Syracuse.

The program, supported by Empire State Development Corporation, will invest more than $3 million in the companies. This makes GENIUS NY the largest business accelerator competition for the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry in the world.

This year’s competition stretches the boundaries to include big data and IoT companies that are used by the UAS industry.

BotsAndUs (United Kingdom): BotsAndUs automates customer service and operations tasks across the retail, hospitality and travel sectors with a fleet of fully autonomous robots that work with employees to serve more customers as well as capture real-time data. They provide a full stack solution of hardware, software, support and data manipulation.

“So like airports, big retail stores in a hope they will liberate people and businesses from like dull and repetitive work so they can focus on more important and meaningful things,” says Ayllin Yassin, who handles business development for BotsAndUs.

DroneSeed (Seattle, Washington): DroneSeed exists to make reforestation scalable and make a dent in carbon emissions. Using drone swarms, DroneSeed plants trees at a rate that is six times more efficient than manual labor planting. Their process decreases the response time to reforest and increases the total acres of reforestation that can be done per year by simplifying the supply chain.

Company Chief Technology Officer Ben Reiley tells NewsChannel 9, “We’re already kind of getting LOI’s, letters of intent contracts, and (GENIUS NY) can really fill out our existing capacity as well as expanding what we currently have. This would mean something close to thousands of acres rather than the hundreds we’ve done already.”

Eget Liber (Syracuse, New York): Eget Liber uses an autonomous, semi-submersible remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), to mitigate the life-cycle of cyanobacterium, also known as blue-green algae, in freshwater lakes. The ROV is designed to receive command coordinates from an aerial drone, which is configured to identify algae blooms via spectral analysis.

Founder Jason Dean just resigned as a local school teacher to devote his time to the company. “I had to teach at the same time, work part-time in the shop developing the project, money and resources were limited so being a finalist now in GENIUS NY competition allows me to just focus on the project itself.”

Geopipe (New York, New York): Geopipe creates instant, immersive virtual copies of real cities for gaming, simulation and architecture. Their machine learning algorithms generate 3D maps and models with every tree, building, road and window labeled and realistically reproduced. These images are then licensed monthly, annually or via revenue sharing.

Co-Founder Dr. Christopher Mitchell tells NewsChannel 9 they’ve been working with architects and construction companies but would like to use GENIUS NY to help them launch big in the gaming industry.

“We’ve been working with early adopters for quite awhile and they’ve been great to get us early traction and feedback, helping us build the product to where it is, and I think we’re ready to expand into a much larger market with a much more pressing need,” he says.

Skyy Network (Australia): Skyy Network’s Flight Information Management System uses an open source data exchange network built on blockchain that allows UAS service suppliers and air navigation service providers to share and verify safety critical airspace data to allow drones to operate beyond visual line of sight.

Rory Houston, Skyy Network says the company became aware of GENIUS NY working with a finalist from last year’s competition, Resilienx.

“That’s how we learned about the program, but really the GENIUS program is unlike anything else we saw around the world. The ecosystem here is just super powerful.”

The five teams are competing for the $1 million grand prize; the remaining four teams will collect $500,000 each.

The finalists will be named following a pitch competition in April. All of the finalists are contractually required to stay in Syracuse for one year.

For more local news, follow Jeff Kulikowsky on Twitter @JeffNC9

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