Orqa Starts Developing Ecosystem for Chip Design for Unmanned Systems
Foto: Dražen Tomić - Tomich Productions
The complex chip design that has not yet existed in Croatia is the basis of the initiative through which the fast-growing Osijek technology company Orqa seeks to further advance first-person (FPV) and remote reality (RR) technologies. The goal of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Orqa, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Information Technology Osijek, and Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, is the joint work of experts, engineers, and academia on research and development of technologies of strategic importance for digital and a more resilient European Union. Therefore, the signatories of the Agreement will also promote a key strategic instrument for the implementation of the EU industrial strategy - Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), for the implementation of this initiative.
“We intend to design a chip specializing in unmanned systems such as drones, vehicles, or vessels, with the ability to upgrade to autonomous functionalities. This extremely complex project is the first one of this type in Croatia, i.e., we are among the first ones in the world, and currently, there are not enough engineering capacities for such a design. Although this particular staff is currently lacking in Croatia, we are, through this very project, trying to build capacity and train engineers to start the development of the chip design ecosystem in Croatia following global trends. Cooperation with faculties as staff generators plays a key role in this. Through this project, we intend to achieve a symbiosis of commercial needs on the one hand and academic knowledge and research on the other. In addition to faculties, the support of the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union funds is extremely important for us to pave the way for further development of this attractive industry”, said Srđan Kovačević, co-owner, and CEO of Orqa.
As a world leader in the development of video goggles for drone pilots and a leading regional company in the drone industry, Orqa is rightly considered a leader in Croatian modern technology and innovation. Considering the research, development, and prototyping of devices in the field of first-person-view (FPV) technology, remote reality (RR), video signal transmission and radio communication, and the production of electronic components and devices, the most famous of which are the FPV.One goggle for drone pilots, the collaboration with STEM studios is a great opportunity for both young, promising engineers and the entire technology sector. The signed Agreement is unique in the territory of the Republic of Croatia, and with it, Osijek and Osijek-Baranja County will have a stronger position in the IT world.
“This agreement will further strengthen the cooperation between the two leading Croatian faculties in the field of chip design, to which the Osijek company Orqa adds additional value. In Croatia, the development of the semiconductor industry is lagging behind other branches of electrical engineering, and the planned scientific research activities in cooperation with the economy will represent a significant step towards the development of microelectronics in the Republic of Croatia. The implementation of scientific research will ensure the transfer of the latest knowledge in the economy, but also in study programs, which will provide our students with additional competencies necessary for the labor market in this area,” said Tomislav Matić, dean of FERIT.
Apart from FERIT, the great potential of Orqa was also recognized by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing from Zagreb. “FER is committed to an economy based on knowledge, innovation, and openness to global talent. The strength of any economy lies in the high-tech sector whose progress and competitiveness are impossible without knowledge and scientific research where the academic community plays an extremely important role. This agreement created the basis for further development of Croatian competencies in the field of chip design and verification. The agreement is also crucial to connecting the Croatian academic community and the Croatian economy with major European players in the semiconductor industry and ultimately creating a consortium to apply under the Important Common European Interest (VPZEI) mechanism,” said Gordan Gledec, dean of FER.