From childhood, Kenneth Revne has been curious about connecting the dots. To craft the GRIFF’s unique control systems, he built them piece by piece to deliver results far greater than the sum of the parts.
To understand any system, you need to know what made it. So I grew up in a small village near Hardanger Fjord with my parents and my five siblings. My mother was a nurse and my father ran his own business, a car workshop and petrol station. I started working in the latter when I was 13.
I was always interested in technology, electronics and computers and I’d take things apart and then reassemble them again – sometimes with mixed success – so I could find out how they worked. I had this model car, for example, which was preassembled, but I would have preferred a kit, so I took it apart and then put it back together. I think I must have done that at least ten times! I also took my first FM radio apart, then adjusted and retuned it, so I could listen to communications from the aircraft flying overhead.
As I got older, I thought I’d become an electrical engineer – working with aircraft. It was only when I got to Norheimsund vocational school in Hardanger that I discovered machine automation. There the exciting possibilities of using software to bring a machine to life really hit me. I learnt quickly and soon knew that programming was what I really wanted to do.
“I’m inspired by keeping things simple as they can be. You get further, and do more, if you don't overcomplicate. I find you can always explain even the most complicated of processes or systems if you break them down into simpler parts. That’s how it works.”
Senior Avionic Engineer
After I finished school, I joined the army. I was asked if I wanted to do international service, and as my older my older brother had been with the NATO forces in Bosnia, I said yes. I was assigned to the Telemark Battalion, the Norwegian rapid response unit, and after a year of training, I travelled to Kosovo with the NATO peace keeping force deployed there.
With my technical background, I was placed in the maintenance team. I started as car mechanic but soon switched to power generation systems. I got to use my technical skills, but also to develop my creative ability, not least when asked to make 22kW kettle from an oil drum and some copper rods!
After the army I worked with a one of Norway’s biggest furniture manufacturers. At first, I was tasked with maintaining the production line, but I quickly moved on to designing new robotic-based solutions and doing more programming.
I’m passionate about learning new things. I like to soak up new information – not only at work but in my personal life too. I’m interested in history and how society came to be like it is. I like big thinkers such as the historian and philosopher Yuval Noha Harari, the author of ‘Sapiens’, because like them I want to try and understand the world around me and connect the dots.
Today, beyond technology, my interests focus on family, home and garden. In 2013, we bought a home with a garden that had fallen into disrepair. I refurbished this old tractor to help clear the ground and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of re-establishing the garden. I find that this physical work is a great way to relax when you have a mentally demanding job.
And believe me it is a demanding job, when you accept the challenge of building the world’s best drone. You need to start with all the best components; the best brain, the best motors, the best propellors. Building such a system can be very complex, but all the parts are understandable.
I compare it to bringing things to life from seed – sewing the right seed in the right soil, nurturing it, watching it grow. It’s what I do for Griff too. Planting ideas, building things and then watching them to come to life. It is a very rewarding. Looking back, as a kid I adapted my old FM radio to listen to the aircraft, now I use a system I built to control the aircraft. To give it life, to let it fly.