JEDDAH: Firnas Aero is a startup business investing in drone technology — and the brain behind it is 39-year-old Saudi entrepreneur Tariq Nasraldeen.
The company provides services in three different core areas. The first is surveillance, where instead of patrolling a site with a car, Firnas Aero offers drones as an alternative. “We can have a drone station fixed in a location and it will automatically fly according to the client’s needs and will give a live feed.”
The second service offered is inspection, which is like surveillance but where the drones do image analytics, which identifies potential problems and generates a report, saving the client from searching through thousands of images.
“The third application is something we have been exploring recently — delivery. For now, deliveries need some form of infrastructure. We are hoping that in the coming three years it will be more common,” the CEO told Arab News.
The business started in January 2020 but Nasraldeen’s inspiration for the company began years before when he was working as a commercial pilot with an enthusiastic interest in aviation. “My background is in all things man-made that can fly,” he said. While working at Jeddah airport in 2016 he frequently observed the cargo inspectors as they manually looked over objects across a vast area. “I thought it would be much easier to locate the objects using a drone instead of wandering aimlessly, so this was the main inspiration. When we started, we were just going to focus on airports, but that was too narrow, so we started to expand to other places like factories and industries,” he said.
The company faced some early challenges as there was no clear legislation or approval process yet regarding drones. Finding local talent was also a struggle initially. “At that time it was just seen as a toy that can fly and take cool pictures, so finding someone who can see the limitless things we can do with drones was a challenge,” he said. Nasraldeen would like to launch his own manufacturing facility by the end of the year, instead of importing drones into the country.