Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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28 unmanned systems inside October/November 2016 AIR DEALMAKING continue producing the UX5, but then of course the point is to take advantage of the Trimble network of dealers and resellers, to be able to distribute our own hardware, meaning our own Delair-Tech products." "We purchased Gatewing, so Gatewing is now part of Delair-Tech," he said. "We have joined both production teams and facilities and the R&D capacities, so it's one and only one company now, but then around this deal we have a strategic agreement with Trimble to be their privileged UAV providers." Meaning that instantaneous, global, well-established, dealer and distribution network. With respect to the global UAS market, Delair- Tech is every bit as motivated as its new brother- in-arms, microdrones. Just as microdrones was making its move into North America last May, Delair-Tech was setting up a new branch of its own in sunny California, anticipating the new opportunities that could and would be opened up by new FAA legislation, especially Part 107, which lays out UAS ground rules. "We installed a subsidiary in Los Angeles already in May, looking forward to this new progressive set of laws that came out in June," de Lagarde said. "So, yes we were aware and we thought, and we still think, that the market is going to get a kick-start as a consequence of the legislation, and we are there to be posi- tioned on that market." "And when you look at it, Gatewing is the pioneer of photogrammetry with UAVs, micro- drones is a historic player in the multi-rotor field and Delair-Tech is a specialist in BVLOS and data processing, so together it will make sense. We've got the broadest range of products on the market and we meet almost all the needs or po- tentially all the needs of our end customers." Ultimately, de Lagarde said, it's about ex- pansion: "We want to take a significant posi- tion in this market. And we all share the same interest and passion for UAVs, so it's a great common ground and I'm very sure the transi- tion will go very smoothly." When a Team Makes Sense Certainly there will be a transition. All three entities cite their own data processing exper- tise, all offering 'end-to-end' solutions, so it may make sense at some point to engage in some harmonization. What's certain now is that Trimble dealers will have more tools to offer, enabling their customers to f ly a broader range of missions and opening up new business opportunities. microdrones' Dubreuil agrees that's a big deal. He points to the exploding precision ag- riculture sector as an example where having a range of UAS types at one's disposal, like the range represented by the new Trimble pact, makes perfect sense. "We already have a package for precision ag," Dubreuil said. "It's really the same idea, it's mapping, but you add other frequency bands to see different things like crop health and so on. We really have a range of end-users in precision ag. This is an area with a complex organization and multiple potential end users. Precision ag is really a number of niche markets, with VTOL as a shorter-range tool, for small areas, small and high-value crops, as opposed to larger fixed- wing UAVs which can cover larger areas." Most people now recognize that one drone doesn't solve all the problems. Different drones and different sensor packages are needed for dif- ferent missions. Dubreuil said the microdrones 200 and 1000 are right for smaller-range mis- sions. "But you really need both; you need a fixed- wing, BVLOS UAV, with long-range capacity and endurance—the Delair-Tech solution—for getting your broad coverage of fields and crops. Then, for example, let's say you identify a prob- lem with your wider scan, you can then send in a visual-range VTOL—the microdrones solution— for more detailed analysis. "This is the trend you start to see, although we are still only at the beginning," Dubreuil said. And the Trimble/microdrones/Delair- Tech alliance now embodies that trend and it is indeed just the beginning. "WE REALIZED THAT WE WEREN'T being quite as fast with our development from a hardware standpoint, and we wanted to make sure that people with that focus on hardware were iterating and generating these new products and platforms so that our customers have access to them." Todd Steiner, Marketing Director for Trimble's Imaging Business Photo courtesy of Trimble

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