Guest post by Kay Wackwitz, Drone Industry Insights —
Let’s summarize the companies that entered into partnerships in the drone industry last year. What is obvious is that in recent times a great deal of strategic decisions has dramatically increased the rate of partnerships either to broaden the portfolios, to occupy a niche, or to secure a position before a competitor does so.
It is not surprising to see many big companies entering into partnerships in the drone market. The need to modernize the well-established product portfolio by an innovation driven market such as the drone industry (and offering marketing channels in return) is a huge win-win situation.
The evolution of the drone market has reached a stage where hardware can provide sustainable results to establish UAV technology as a new way of doing things. But what comes after the aerial part is done? Data analytics is becoming more and more important in accelerating and adding value to businesses. The trend towards software solutions went all the way up to corporate companies – as big names like Autodesk, Movidius, or Facebook are joining in.
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Strategic partnerships are among the innovative ways through which companies can achieve astronomical success. In fact, one might presume that the Chinese drone manufacturer DJI is going for no less than world domination. DJI partnership includes digital design and 3D printing (Shapeways), the development of commercial drone applications (Lufthansa Group), the promotion of a safe integration of drones in emergency situations (EENA), sense and avoid technology in real time and more autonomous flight functions (Movidius), live video streaming (Facebook), and the offering of Phantom 4 drone in Apple Stores.
Another interesting trend is that UAV hardware manufacturer and operator companies have started focusing on certain areas:
Airspace integration technology: The two American companies Aero Kinetics and Freeflight Systems are working together to integrate their ADS-B avionics into Aero Kinetics family of UAS for the commercial use in National Airspace System (NAS).
Long-range communication: A Telefonica 3G SIM card can be embedded into the drone of DelairTech. This technology allows users to communicate with their drones across several territories and countries regardless of the distance.
Cross segments: The partnership of Swedish Saab and the Swiss UMS AeroGroup gave birth to the joint-venture company UMS Skeldar AG (47% Saab and 53% UMS AeroGroup). UMS Skeldar AG offers multi-skilled enterprise and all the capabilities necessary to manage and deliver UAV programs such as development, manufacture, testing, training, and maintenance.
Joint production: Chinese drone hardware manufacturer XIRO & Shenzhen-based Tencent are focusing on a joint product (a small drone), which will allow both companies to sell under their separate brand names.
System integration: The Austrian Laser Measurement Systems manufacturer RIEGL and the Swiss company AeroScout formed a partnership for the future development of highly advanced UAV platforms with integrated LiDAR solutions.
BVLOS: Sharper Shape and the EEI (Edison Electric Institute) are developing beyond-visual-line-of-sight solutions to provide crews with another tool that will inspect critical assets quickly and efficiently.
In sum, the above-mentioned examples are what accelerates the drone market and everything around it. And of course, we will always update you via this website frequently.
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