Romeo Durscher, who for years was the public safety face of DJI, has been hired by Auterion. The company is an open-source drone software platform, and Durscher will be the new vice-president of public safety. He brings a wealth of experience to the company, as well as an outstanding reputation amongst First Responders.

We’re guessing you recognize Romeo’s name. For years, he’s been the world’s most high-profile evangelist for the use of drones in the public safety sector. We took a long look when he announced he was leaving DJI, but it wasn’t clear where he’d be going next. Now we know: He’s landed at Auterion, where he’ll continue to carry the public safety torch. For Auterion, this is a definite score: Romeo has an outstanding reputation and is known in drone circles around the world.

It also sounds like Romeo is happy with the move.

Durscher deeply committed to public safety

Durscher’s name is synonymous with the use of drones in public safety. At DJI, he pushed to both recognize and develop this emerging field. That means involvement in everything from training initiatives to Best Practices to actual product development. Some of the features, particularly on products like the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, are there because of Durscher.

Durscher played a significant role in the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual’s modular design

The Auterion news release announcing his appointment summarizes his career thus far: One of the drone industry’s top executives and a highly experienced leader in aerospace and unmanned aerial systems, Romeo joins Auterion from DJI, where he held the role of senior director of public safety integration. During Romeo’s six years at DJI he built the public safety vertical and through his leadership and drive to bring new technologies to emergency services, he has become a well known and respected thought leader in the space. Prior to joining DJI, Romeo spent 12 years working on NASA’s Heliophysics Mission Solar Dynamics Observatory at Stanford University.

Auterion news release

Romeo Durscher: A new job (and a new shirt!)

Auterion pleased

It’s no surprise Auterion is happy with this development.

We are thrilled to have Romeo join our senior team as Auterion experiences significant growth, while we continue to deliver product innovation to customers across multiple verticals and use cases. We are transforming the drone industry with an open-source ecosystem, and with Romeo’s extensive expertise and thought leadership in public safety and the drone industry we can meet the very customized need of first responders with cutting-edge drone systems like the Astro so they can work more efficiently.

Lorenz Meier, cofounder and CEO of Auterion

Romeo’s take

When we found out about the news, we asked Romeo a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:

Why did you choose to move to Auterion? You undoubtedly would have had many options…

Correct. To my surprise, I got many interesting offers once the news of my departure from DJI broke. That felt like a big compliment and truly made me feel good. Auterion had already been on my radar and I enjoyed their approach, their thinking. When we started talking about opportunities, I felt very comfortable with the leadership, the philosophy and their goals.

At Auterion we can think about the future differently. Previously I was often stuck with planning very short term, when what is often needed, is a mid- to long-term approach to provide continuation, stability and standardization. What is driving future growth are open standards. Instead of one company creating a standard, by pushing their own proprietary solution, the community, and the industry, are working together on open standards.

This allows solutions to be built toward those standards; for example, a drone operator only has to learn one user interface, and that operator can utilize one device to control different manufacturer’s drones. This means learning and training is simplified, standardized, and actual deployment is more efficient. This results in end users having greater choice with platforms using the open-standard.

Romeo Durscher, Auterion VP of public safety

From the Auterion website…

What do you hope to achieve for Auterion?

I truly believe what is driving future growth are open standards. Instead of one company creating a standard, by pushing their own proprietary solution, the community, and the industry, are working together on open standards. This allows solutions to be built towards those standards; for example a drone operator only has to learn one user interface, and that operator can utilize one device to control different manufacturer’s drones. This means learning and training is simplified, standardized, and actual deployment is more efficient. This results in end users having greater choice with platforms using the open standard.

Romeo Durscher

How will your role be different from what you did at DJI?

I have many ideas and thoughts that I would like to share with the team and see how we can bring them to reality. In my previous position I was forced to think short-term; the focus was always on the current or maybe the next quarter. Many solutions take time to be understood, realized, and then implemented. One has to find the perfect mix of ensuring quick impact, mid- to long-term success, viability, and return. I am excited that at Auterion we can think not only about today, but next month and next year; really set up solutions for the long term. I can continue to listen to customers, find and help develop possible solutions for them. I can do this better at Auterion because I am not limited to what one company can do, but can work with an ecosystem of companies to create the best solutions together. 

Romeo Durscher

Joins other Ex-DJI colleagues

Romeo will be working with former DJI colleagues Cynthia Huang and Arnaud Thiercelin. And, clearly, he’s ready to embrace his new role.

Former DJI exec Cynthia Huang is also now at Auterion

“For me, joining Auterion is the catalyst I had really wanted for a long time,” says Durscher. “We are within a global community of 10,000+ developers and 750+ contributors that drive the definition of standards, and believe in transparency and knowledge sharing. I thrive on that concept.”

Congratulations, Romeo – we look forward to seeing what you do next.

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