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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16 unmanned systems inside April/May 2017 SPECIAL REPORT INDUSTRY TRENDS Photos courtesy of Kespry microdrones also has been busy forming strategic partnerships in re- cent months. Last Spring, the German- based drone manufacturer merged w ith UA S ser v ice prov ider Av yon. Initially, microdrones partnered with Avyon to handle the payload and post processing side of the business, Avyon founder and now microdrones presi- dent Vivien Heriard Dubreuil said. That merger also brought microdrones operations to Nor th A merica. The company then formed an alliance with Delair-Tech and Trimble Navigation in the fall, expanding their Nor th American footprint even more. As part of the deal, Trimble Navigation sold its UAV manufacturing entity Gatewing to Delair-Tech and will now Kespry recently entered into an exclusive global strategic alliance with John Deere. Through the alliance, Kespry will train John Deere dealers on the Kespry 2s platform. focus its energies on developing soft- ware. The transition of the hardware UAS business from Trimble to Delair- Tech and microdrones is still on going, said Jacek Pietruczanis, director of mar- keting for the GNSS and Imaging port- folio at Trimble, and should be finalized within the next months. That said, the move has already allowed Trimble to re- focus development efforts to UAS data processing, leveraging software solutions such as INPHO UAS Master, eCognition and the Trimble Business Center Aerial Photogrammetry Module. Initially, Trimble's UAS partnerships were focused on hardware, Pietruczanis said, but that has shifted to relationships that allow the company to deliver end-to- end solutions quickly, and at a low cost. "We're not selling drones anymore," Dubreuil said. "We're selling solu- tions. We're selling a tool for a specific application. So it's mission software, it's sensors, it's an aircraft and it's a processing solution. That's the main fo- cus and the main change that we made last year in microdrones." Mergers and Acquisitions When the commercial drone industry first started taking off, many different players entered the market, but not all of them came in with well thought out business use cases, said Alex Niehenke, an investor at Scale Venture Partners, a firm that funded DroneDeploy's Series B last summer. Now, a few years later, some of those startups have completely closed their doors or have folded into other more established, and more suc- cessful, companies. And that list of established companies includes some pretty big names. Major, well-known players are starting to take notice of the UAS industry and are find- ing ways to enter the market. Last year, for example, Intel acquired German drone company Ascending Technologies. The acquisition came after the compa- nies partnered to combine Ascending Technologies' sense-and-avoid algo- rithms with Intel RealSense's real-time depth-sensing capability. Earlier this year, AirMap, an airspace management platform for drones, received Series B funding from Microsoft Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures, among others. "This year and certainly the year af- ter you're going to see a deepening of „