Dario's Lab


MIA Podcast – Episode 17: Dario Valenza of Carbonix

Carbonix advances the horizons of aerial data solutions to give customers a competitive edge. They are specialists in long-range and large-area aerial surveillance and precision data capture.

From national park conservation to detailed agriculture mapping and aerial auditing of a 270,000km power network, Carbonix RPAS deliver mission success across diverse industries with unrivalled stability, precision, and accuracy.

Dario Valenza, it’s CTO and Founder, joins today’s episode of the MIA Podcastand talks about:

-What Carbonix is
–Provider of aerial data insights
–They use drones to fly and do surveillance
–They use smaller and much cheaper solutions that can be scaled
-Developed the carbon fibre and the design processes
-How Carbonix helps their customers make decisions on ground operations through the aerial data they provide
-How their “models” are carefully picked depending on the customer’s needs
-Its uniqueness lies in their lightweight and long-range aircraft
-How you need to be in the know to know
-What Dario was into before he started Carbonix
-Part of the CArbonix solution uses the materials that they have manufactured
-How they are with R&D
-Their internship program
-How investing means wanting to take risks
-The right attitude to support what you’re doing
-How do we need AU manufacturing
-Eventually, someone will look at your digital and PR presence too

And many more, including Dario’s thoughts on our main topic: “Will Australian Manufacturing ever return to the glory days of the ’60s?”


The Australian Drone industry is expanding and the recent capital raise by Carbonix is a perfect example. Carbonix recently raised  AU$6.3 million in late seed funding.  The round, which was oversubscribed, includes listed Defence aerospace manufacturer Quickstep Holdings Limited (ASX: QHL) (“Quickstep”) who invested $1M - adding a strategic dimension to the mix of individuals and small funds taking up the opportunity.

This week, Mirragin’s Andrew Crowe had a chat with Chief Technology Officer and Founder of Carbonix, Dario Valenza. Andrew and Dario discuss:

Dario’s background, and how he got into the drone industry (through competitive yacht sailing boat design!),

the recent capital raise,

Carbonix’s technology

‘Drones as a Service’, and

what’s next for Carbonix.

It’s amazing watching this fantastic, maturing and industry grow!


See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


Industry and governments are continually looking for efficiencies – opportunities to improve safety and productivity, while reducing environmental impact, response times and costs.

One of the biggest challenges to improving efficiencies is the location and roles of people. When humans are located onsite or are key to frontline operations or processes, the result is often increased costs and complexity, and a simultaneous reduction in safety through exposure. History has shown that as soon as a machine can take the place of a human, it will.

Need to assess damage after a fire or flood without sending in a spotter crew on the ground? How about monitoring borders, spotting sharks or mapping remote terrain?

Activities like these can be done easier, safer, and more efficiently with minimal human intervention using a combination of drone technology, satellite communication and software that enables live-streaming of high-quality video and data.

Harvest provides technology that enables transmission of audio, video and operational data via a small form factor antenna over a satellite data link to allow our aircraft to communicate in real-time across long distances, outside cellular coverage and beyond what a radio could support.

Integrating lightweight hardware onboard the drone with sophisticated encryption, compression, and transmission protocols allows Harvest to reduce latency and maximise use of available bandwidth to achieve real-time telemetry and payload data from the drone to the operator, anywhere in the world.

This means aircraft can be operated and monitored remotely.

Read the entire article here:


Carbonix and H3 Dynamics are coming together to begin the development and production of the first Australian hydrogen-electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

H3 Dynamics has been working on cutting-edge hydrogen UAV technology for over 15 years and has just released a new ground-breaking hydrogen-electric nacelle technology.

Compared to batteries, hydrogen-electric systems will increase flight durations by several orders of magnitude, matching the scale of the Australian continent, its low population density, and its globally unique experience in “beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) commercial drone operations.

The newly announced partnership aligns with Australia’s broader hydrogen and decarbonization plans, in Carbonix’s key end-user markets, such as mining and logistics, where passenger aircraft and helicopters, as well as battery or combustion engine drones, are already being used – and could now be converted to using locally-produced hydrogen, further fueling the success of major Australian companies.


During the ‘AAUS’ Annual General Meeting in Sydney Carbonix’s CEO Philip van der Burg has been elected to the board for the next three years. Philip will share his expertise and support the association’s work for the industry.

The Australian Association for Un-crewed Systems is Australia’s largest industry advocacy group for un-crewed systems covering un-crewed systems across air, sea and land domains, and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).


Carbonix and Harvest Technology Group (Harvest) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will allow the two Australian companies to deliver untethered “beyond horizon” drone operations.

CEO of Carbonix Philip van der Burg said the partnership between Carbonix and Harvest is “the beginning of a great Australian corporate story”.

“Australia has a high-cost base, making it difficult to compete in traditional manufacturing of commoditised mass-market products, but we win in spades when it comes to highly skilled innovation,” Philip said.

“Here we have two sophisticated complementary technologies from two independent Australian companies working together in cutting-edge, scalable high-value-add applications. This fast-tracks an impressive industrial capability that differentiates us from anything else here or overseas. Joining forces will mean we can scale faster.”


It is Fugro’s first partnership working towards long-range Beyond Visual Line of Sight missions (BVLoS), bolstering Fugro’s existing Geographic Information System (GIS) capability. Carbonix will supply Volanti, and Ottano vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones over the next 27 months, to further enhance Fugro’s remote operations.

Fugro is a world leader in the transition to remote and autonomous operations with a global network of nine remote operation centres (ROCs). Fugro operates boats and remotely operated vehicles remotely and provides survey, inspection and piloting services to the maritime industry across the world. Carbonix will support Fugro’s Australian long-range maritime and land projects from the sky, using state-of-the-art aerial surveying and data capture technology, while integrating with Fugro’s ROCs for the joint development of systems technology and capabilities.

The partnership with Fugro will allow both our companies to align in enhancing their existing capabilities and market opportunities. It’s exciting to see how our vision aligns with our industry partner’s investments, their resources, and the future of their capability”, said Philip van der Burg, CEO of Carbonix.


Drones were identified in the bushfire royal commission and the NSW bushfire and flood inquiries as providing the potential for much greater use in the future to help identify and prepare for hazards.

Dario Valenza, founder of Carbonix, says thermal cameras on the drones could quickly verify fires started by lightning in remote regions, helping to direct fire crews to the scene “with only a few per cent of the fuel” used by conventional aircraft that might have their operations curtailed by weather.

Robert Mahony from the ANU-Optus Bushfire Research Centre of Excellence, who is working with Carbonix says studies show that the majority of damage from bushfires occurs from blazes that are ignited deep in remote bushland, usually by lightning strikes.

“You don’t know that they’ve happened, you can’t get to them quickly, and they grow very large,” Mahony says. “And by the time they actually cross into inhabited areas where you can get fire services to them easily, they’ve grown too large to control and in catastrophic conditions.”


Carbonix has partnered with SA Power Networks and communications technology provider Nokia to advance the use of long-range Un-Crewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in aerial inspection work and flood monitoring on remote electricity distribution network assets.

In the initial phase of the partnership, a Carbonix Volanti UAV was used to prove the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) capability using Nokia industry-leading private wireless solution, Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC), for industrial-grade reliable and long-range wireless network connectivity. This paved the way for a continuation of the partnership in which Carbonix UAVs demonstrated LiDAR capabilities for maintenance and flood water monitoring at remote asset locations.

“Carbonix long-range UAVs will enable asset owners and operators to carry out inspections on remote linear infrastructure by providing an extended flight range of over 500km on par with helicopters at significantly reduced cost and impact on communities and the environment. The partnership with SA Power Networks and Nokia is a great testament of driving innovation in a traditionally conservative industry and we are honoured to be working with these two great companies,” says Carbonix CEO, Philip van der Burg.