KnackForge and FIRST iZ Partner To Develop Autonomous Drone Solution

KnackForge is a technology firm based in Texas which partnered with drone company FIRST iZ to release a patent-pending UAS system, which will deploy drones autonomously by 911 operators. 

They will do so by leveraging KnackForge’s control systems’ hardware and software for the FIRST Port ecosystem — an autonomous landing and take-off drone system. It means keeping the drone charged while on the ground, and making sure it is ready to fly at a moment’s notice. 

This system comes with its own navigation system, Genesis PULSE, which makes it possible for the drone to fly autonomously when required. It joins power/control hardware with software to remotely manage multiple crisis scenarios, which will make it possible for the FIRST port system to be made safer and smarter with weather-resistant, and temperature-controlled, drone port that stores and charges drones between flights. The company hopes to have its drones and drone port deployed by over 3,000 municipalities by 2027.

The system works in the following way:

  • “The FIRST iZ ecosystem begins with FIRST Port, a smart, weather-protected, temperature-controlled drone port that houses the drone between flights.
  • The system also includes a novel navigation software package, called Genesis PULSE, for autonomous drone operation and UAVs designed for optimum flight times to arrive first on a scene.
  • The newest FIRST iZ drone models include a folding-wing hybrid vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) drone capable of 90-minute flight times and upwards of a 75 mph flight.
  • The second model is a quiet quadcopter with a one-hour flight time, designed for surveillance use, or extended hovering missions.
  • FIRST iZ envisions deploying to more than 3,000 municipalities over the next seven years.”*

According to Jeff Strout, CEO of KnackForge: 

“FIRST iZ is something we believe in, first, because the story of how it will save lives is so compelling. We are leveraging our best teams working on both embedded systems, interfacing with industrial control hardware and cloud-based systems to offer high availability for first responders.” *

In addition to being a long-time advisor, Strout has had a leadership role in iZ.  

Phil Burks, founder of Texas-based FIRST iZ and CEO of The Genesis Group, affirmed Strout’s contribution:

“We are thrilled to partner with a person who is not only the most detail-oriented person I know, but also a longtime friend. We are creating new things together every day and KnackForge excels at beyond the box thinking that makes it possible. Everything they do enables our collaboration to be a perfect recipe for success.”

FIRST iZ will debut its FIRST Port, Hybrid VTOL, and Quadcopter at the AUVSI XPONENTIAL virtual show on October 5-8, 2020.


The partnership of KnackForge with FIRST iZ shows us what can be accomplished when visionary companies join forces to do what cannot otherwise be done as effortlessly (if at all), individually. This shows the great things that can be accomplished by a team effort or a meeting of the minds, both now and in the future.

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