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Land, sea, air: their element is innovation

Start-ups created by the students of École Polytechnique and accelerated on its campus are revolutionizing the economy of the land, sea and air. In this article, we focus on three creative enterprises discovering the breakthroughs of tomorrow in computer science and physics.

They completed the École Polytechnique X-Up Accelerator start-up promotion program or were launched by graduates of l’X. Introducing innovative technologies in sectors of strong growth linked to the economy of the land, sea and air, these start-ups are reinventing and facilitating exchanges in computer science and physics. Find out more about three of them.


The Forssea Robotics start-up, after having gone through the École Polytechnique acceleration program in 2016, is shaking up the world of subsea robots in offshore oil drilling. Brainchild of Gautier Dreyfus (Year of Entry 2010) and Maxime Cerramon, Forssea is developing an underwater robot designed to bring electrical power and communicate information to a deeply submerged system. To do so, the two entrepreneurs have perfected a new cable equipped with a seeker head that is able to connect to an underwater target. The technology allows for reduced use of large boats that demand high expenditure (of $50k daily). "The idea is that the boat brings the robot to the drilling site and then drops it into the water. With the use of our robotic connector cable, the robot can then be operated from a smaller boat, thus reducing costs, and also exchanging electrical power and information with the submerged station," explains Gautier Dreyfus. This innovation, intended for the oil industry, as well as defense, scientific exploration and marine energy development, could cut the cost of certain underwater campaigns by 66%.


The De-Ice start-up was developed by Ruben Toubiana, graduate of École Polytechnique (Year of Entry: 2011) and MIT, along with a fellow MIT graduate. Proposing a defrosting solution for the aeronautical industry, this company could put an end to delay and to the use of chemicals like glycol. This electrical defrosting for planes is 50% less expensive and ten times more energy-efficient than current chemical solutions. The system, which weighs under 50 kilograms for use with a long-haul business jet, can be installed within the aircraft without affecting its aerodynamic profile or its performance. The team estimates a global market of over $10 billion for this product. The start-up, financed by renowned venture capital funds, has chosen to concentrate initially on the business aviation sector before targeting commercial and military aviation. The team is currently getting ready for the product certification stage.


Sébastien Boyer (Year of Entry: 2011) and his associate, Thomas Palomares, are the founders of the Farmwise start-up. They developed a machine that brings together deep learning and computer vision for plant recognition with the goal of improving weeding efficiency in agricultural areas, without the use of chemicals. Their objectives: increasing productivity for farmers, growing healthier crops and making agricultural production more economically and ecologically responsible. The two entrepreneurs have been collaborating with farmers to take into account the issues and constraints they face, and to offer machine solutions that are best suited to farmers’ needs and to the specific features of their crops.