Military and commercial drone company Insitu announced that their platforms have flown 1,000,000 hours last week – a major milestone for the 23-year-old company.
“…I believe we are just getting started,” said Insitu’s president and CEO, Ryan Hartman.
The company, now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Boeing Company, is a provider of end-to-end drone solutions. While the bulk of Insitu’s business has been in the military and defense arena, Insitu has been uniquely successful in the industry at bringing their military technology to the commercial market.
At a media briefing on August 2nd, Insitu’s management team explained the significance of the million hours milestone. Jon Damush, Vice President of Insitu Commercial points out that 1,000,000 hours is equivalent to 114 years. “1,000,000 hours is so significant because hours equal experience,” said Damush. “It allows you to iterate over tasks and improve…There’s a lot you can learn in 114 years.”
While Insitu is undoubtedly a leader in the military market, it plans to become equally well-known in the commercial space – and it’s using that 114 years of experience to do it. Insitu has been able to take elements of military programs like data security, and translate them directly to value in other markets. “The security of the data is sacrosanct…. We know how to secure it, we know how to encrypt it, we know how to move it around,” says Damush.
Data security, safety, reliability, and systems integration are just as critical to large industrial customers as they are to the military; and commercial customers are looking for a solution proven under the most challenging circumstances. Most importantly, Insitu has worked to successfully address the need for a complete system, not just a drone and payload. While best known for their aircraft like the ScanEagle, Insitu offers a customized end-to-end solution, integrating drone data with existing systems for decision support. “We’re not just in the data delivery business,” says Damush. “We have to deliver answers.”
While the military side of the business is still strong and growing, serving over 25 countries across the globe, CEO Ryan Hartman says that Insitu expects 50% of company revenues to come from the commercial market in the next 10 years.
1,000,000 hours was a big milestone – but when asked what comes next for the industry, Hartman said there was no way to predict the future impact of drone technology. “We’d be naïve to think that we knew all of the applications for unmanned aircraft,” said Hartman. ” We designed the aircraft with a large and empty payload bay – we designed it that way because we knew that there would be things we hadn’t thought of yet.”