The TAO History

It all started with the world’s first solar airship, the name of which was „Lotte“. The idea was invented by Prof. Dr. Bernd-Helmut Kröplin and his students: The airship was built in 1996. It participated in the solar race in Australia and still today is considered as pathbreaking technology in the field of solar flights with lighter than Air vehicles. Based on this airship technology the German Airship Technologies GmbH (AT) was founded in 1997, the company today is a cooperating company of the TAO-Group.

In 1999 Prof. Dr. Bernd-Helmut Kröplin, founder of the TAO-Group received the Körber Prize for the ideas about high altitude platforms. Subsequently Prof. Kroeplin established a new research and development team with the objective to build the new SkyDragon, a lighter than air vehicle allowing to fly in the stratosphere. The SkyDragon is a vehicle being able to fly unmanned and autonomous at an altitude of 20 km above ground. The fields of application are manifold as for example telecommunication in aerias of catastrophe, while all infrastructure has been destroyed the SkyDragon system can reestablish the mobile telecommunication system within very little time, assuring telecommunication for the suffering population and the respective rescue parties.

Originally developed to guarantee a safe landing for the SkyDragon in case of emergencies of the systems, the autonomous safety parachute system “ALF” was developed. It is also extremely efficient to pinpoint air transport of goods if transportation routes have become impassable through disasters such as earthquakes and floods. The parachute is autonomously flying based on GPS and highly sophisticated electronic controlling systems. The system is cheap robust and reusable.

Starting in 2005 Sanswire, an American Company, was interested to learn more about our technology and airship „Lotte“, the high altitude platform "SkyDragon" and the autonomous parachute system „Alf“. In 2008 a Joint Company was established by the name of "Sanswire-TAO" in Florida. The American partners should cover the marketing part of the German products for the US, Mexico and Canada. In the year 2010 the cooperation was closed. The rights of our technology still belong to our TAO-Group in Germany.

In 2019 we founded TAO Innovations GmbH. Its purpose is to support the many inventions, good ideas, projects and products from TAO in marketing and to help ensure that these are implemented in the world. The headquarters of TAO Innovations GmbH is also in Stuttgart. This is the company's marketing-oriented website:

The foundation dates of the companies are as follows

  • 2001 founding of TAO Trans. GmbH in Stuttgart
  • 2002 founding of TAO Technologies GmbH in Berlin
  • 2008 – 2010 Cooperation of TAO and Sanswire (US)
  • 2011 Move to new office, production hall and hangar: 10th anniversary of the TAO-Group
  • 2017 Foundation of "TAO UK"
  • 2019 Founding of TAO Innovations GmbH
  • 2021 Birthday: 20 years of the TAO Group

Our bet is on the future!