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Ahmad Qadoura, Mahmoud Sarhan and Amro Al-Zoubi from Jordan have founded a company in Magdeburg. (Photo: Hannah Theile / University of Magdeburg)
01.12.2021 from 
Study + Teaching
Founders’ power from Jordan

Monday morning, a man climbs on top of a wind turbine to check the motor and hits his head on the nacelle of the wind turbine. Emergency medical services are called and the wind turbine testing has to be postponed until further notice. Wouldn't there be another option than climbing when inspecting wind turbines?

The start-up DronoDat intervenes in such situations. DronoDat is a drone and data service provider founded by the students Mahmoud Sarhan, Amro Al Zoubi and Ahmad Qadoura. The name is composed of the English words "drone" and "data." Two of the founders are studying for their Bachelor's degrees at Magdeburg University: Amro Al Zoubi Environmental and Energy Engineering and Mahmoud Sarhan Industrial Engineering. Together with their co-founder Ahmad Qadoura, they built the startup and collect and process service-oriented data by mapping and surveying, photographing and inspecting a specific object, which is then analyzed by the artificial intelligence systems. The drones inspect the wind turbines and after analyzing these images, any possible faults are forwarded to the company in charge. In addition, this information is stored on a platform they developed themselves, so customers can access it at any time.

"The maintenance and servicing of wind turbines and photovoltaic systems has always been a major challenge that plays a tangible role in the fight against climate change," explains Mahmoud Sarhan. Detecting irregularities, such as broken vortex generators and deep cracks is very time-consuming, expensive and, most importantly, risky for humans. But the students offer the industry a time-saving and more cost-effective solution with their service.

The three founders were born in Jordan. In 2015, they came to Magdeburg with the Studienkolleg Germany, which offers young adults with international school certificates the opportunity to study in Germany. With training in the subjects of mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science and a German language course, especially designed for the university entrance, the participants are well prepared for studying in Germany. "We are happy with the fact that we decided to study at the university in Magdeburg. The university has particularly strong programs in our courses of study, and there were also many events for integration held especially for international students," reports Mahmoud Sahan. In addition, the University of Magdeburg provided them with a wide variety of materials and taught them techniques and methods so that they could meet the requirements of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It was a challenge for them as international students to navigate through the system of setting up a company. "During the incorporation process, the team kept facing new bureaucratic challenges. This concerns regulations for non-German or EU citizens. Among other things, there are trips to immigration authorities, increased waiting times, language barriers and much more," reports Felix Dieckmann from the Transfer and Start-up Center (TUGZ) at the University of Magdeburg. The help of the TUGZ and the university's International Office came at just the right time: "The International Office worked to establish and simplify contact with the authorities. The Transfer and Start-Up Center supported us primarily in the administrative area, such as the development of our business and financial plan or the establishment of a network," says Mahmoud Sahan. Currently, the Transfer and Start-up Center is helping them to bring customers and cooperation partners together and to find investors.

DronoDat plans to stay in Magdeburg because they see great potential in the city and in Saxony-Anhalt in general, and many companies from different industries are open to new technologies. In April 2022, Mahmoud Sahan and Amro Al Zoubi will finish their Bachelor's degree. The next step as entrepreneurs will be to complete the development of their platform as well as artificial intelligence systems and follow future developments in this industry to keep their technology up to date. "The team not only works hard, but constantly develops new ideas and thus remains agile in the market and for its customers, Felix Dieckmann sums up. “The young team has never let itself be discouraged from their goal of building a startup, clearly demonstrating both its entrepreneurial drive and commitment."