Qelzal Selects Next CEO

Rob Benson selected to join Qelzal as CEO.  Founder Dr. Olivier Coenen to focus efforts as CTO on the advancement and productization of Qelzal’s cutting edge technology.qelzal_logo

SAN DIEGO, August 15, 2016 — Qelzal Corporation founder Dr. Olivier Coenen announced that he has selected Rob Benson to join Qelzal as CEO.  Dr. Coenen will concentrate his efforts on accelerating the conversion of Qelzal’s brain-inspired vision technology into products that help vehicles operate autonomously.  Initial efforts are focused on key capabilities to allow commercial unmanned air vehicles to fly beyond line of sight.  The technology is also being developed to enable autonomous inspection of commercial equipment and facilities and to simplify operation of multiple drones simultaneously.

Benson has spent his career building businesses that apply advancing technologies to previously unserved or underserved clients.  He has a track record with San Diego’s high tech companies during their growth periods including SAIC, HNC Software, and ID Analytics.  HNC and ID Analytics invoked neural networks to provide predictive analytics that converted real-time data flows into actionable recommendations.  Advancing that technology, Qelzal is bringing deep learning and next generation machine learning to bear on the challenges of real-time flight control for autonomous drones.  Benson brings to the company a deep understanding of the operational aspects of converting a technology to a business.  With engineering and business degrees from UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he is well suited to drive Qelzal forward.

When asked “Why now?”, Dr. Coenen stated “The productization of the technology is well underway with several bench-level demonstrations completed.  However, operating the business requires full time focus.  Having received significant interest from drone manufacturers and end users, we’ve simply been challenged to respond fast enough.  Rob brings diverse strengths to our team that enable us to execute faster.”

“Qelzal has been focusing our technology first on improving air safety where there are commercial drone operators.  However, beyond the obvious sense-and-avoid use case for delivery-drone applications, the technology is uniquely suited to even more challenging inspection-drone applications.” says Benson. “I’m very excited to be involved in this company at this stage with this rapidly expanding market.”
Founded in late 2014, Qelzal is a portfolio company within Southern California’s leading tech startup incubator, EvoNexus in addition to being a portfolio company at LightSpeed Innovations. Integrating cutting edge sensor technology with brain-inspired processing, Qelzal systems provide enhanced aircraft and obstacle avoidance.  They enable commercial drones to fly autonomously by delivering intelligent safety and assurance products.  With drone systems rapidly evolving to address previously unforeseen needs and overcoming previously insurmountable challenges, Qelzal will make a meaningful difference and create shared successes that will benefit everyone.