Sources inform “Globes” that Steadicopter's pilotless helicopter prototype was stolen on Saturday-Sunday night. Unknown parties broke into Steadicopter's Kfar Maccabi plant, and stole the helicopter, but not its computer software or the money in the office.
Steadicopter is collaborating with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) on the project. Steadicopter claims its pilotless helicopter is the first of its kind in the world.
Steadicopter business development director Amir Rochman told "Globes" that the helicopter was stolen a few days after the completion of its test program and final test flights, during which it flew automatically and reached its targets using the global positioning system (GPS).
Rochman said, "We invested NIS 5 million in the project in the past three years, and today the police came to the factory to investigate and lift fingerprints."
Steadicopter CEO Tuvia Segal told "Globes" today that he had no doubt that industrial espionage was behind the theft. "We're convinced that the thief was working for our competitors, because he went directly to the helicopter's location, and broke only the guardrails to that room.
"The helicopter is unique. No other company in the world has succeeded in operating such a flying machine, capable of independent flying without remote control. Many companies have tried, but none of their tests worked."
Steadicopter was launched in the TEIC Technion - Israel Institute of Technology incubator in Haifa. The companies owners are TEIC, Rosh Ha'Ayin-based ITES - Imaging Technology Enterprise Systems, Renault importer Yoel Carasso, and businessman Yossi Kabiri.
Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on November 10, 2003