Get to know the GENIUS NY Cohort 7 teams in our weekly profiles leading up to the Pitch Finals on Oct. 4, 2023.
It was one of Anmol Manohar’s own designs that made him realize how much noise is keeping uncrewed aerial systems (UAS), or drones, from reaching the mass market. In 2017, Manohar was working on the Rolls-Royce Air Taxi when he was confronted with just how loud electric aircraft can be. “Intuitively, you think of electric aircraft as quiet,” Manohar said. “But actually, that’s not the case. Electric aircraft are typically much heavier than their traditional counterparts because they’re carrying batteries, and they still rely on accelerating air to produce thrust.”
Hearing the noise from that electric engine caused Manohar to realize that unless electric aircraft, and drones specifically, become quieter, they are not going to be embraced by the market or the public. But that’s not the only roadblock he saw for the UAS industry. When Manohar started taking designs to air shows and other places, he noticed how negatively the public reacted to propellers and other drone features that looked dangerous. “I realized that the perception of safety of these aircraft is just as crucial for their success as actual safety.”
With the noise and safety perception challenges in mind, Manohar started Greenjets to create electric propulsors that address those issues. Greenjets is one of five finalists in CenterState CEO’s GENIUS NY program this year. Their vision of sustainable aviation starts with drones. Manohar said drones have the power to be transformative on a large scale but has yet to reach that potential. It’s what Manohar calls the one to one hundred problem. “The drone sector has proven that the technology can be transformative. It has proven that it can be regulated, and it can be operated safely. What it hasn’t proven yet is [if] it can go from a few drones being demonstrated in a few very specific use cases to being all around us, and really having that transformative impact,” Manohar said.
The Greenjets team believes a clean and quiet propulsor is essential to solving that problem, speaking to the company’s broader goal of creating a path towards sustainable aviation. Manohar said many consider electric autonomous aviation the third revolution in aerospace technology, after the invention of flight and the invention of the jet engine. He said the industry is only just beginning to imagine the possible uses for this technology. “We don’t really know the scale of transformation this technology can bring, in the same way we didn’t know what the jet engine would do,” Manohar said. “We are playing a part in this making this future real, and we are hoping it would do more than anything we can imagine right now.”
Find out more about the Greenjets technology, along with the four other GENIUS NY Cohort 7 finalist companies, as they compete for a chance to win the $1 million prize at Innovation Night featuring GENIUS NY Pitch Finals on Oct. 4 in Downtown Syracuse. Get a chance to meet and network with other emerging startups in Central New York from the Syracuse Surge Accelerator and The Tech Garden. Tickets are free but registration is required. Learn more and get tickets here!