In a demonstration of how smart strategic investments can pay off Airware, a firm providing the construction and insurance markets with drone driven business intelligence services and analytics, announced today that it has secured a strategic investment from Caterpillar Ventures. The investment will enable Airware to accelerate programs that enable dealers to offer solutions and services within the construction, mining, and quarrying industries, and highlights Caterpillar’s commitment in leading the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
“This investment is a continuation of Caterpillar’s commitment to help our customers be more productive and make improved business decisions,” said George Taylor, Caterpillar Chief Marketing Officer & Vice President of the Marketing and Digital Division. “In collaboration with Airware, we are better positioned to offer drone services through industry-leading technology that helps digitize and optimize operations.”
Airware acquired Redbird, a European aerial data analytics firm in September of 2016. Redbird was an attractive acquisition in part because it had backing from Bergerat-Monnoyeur, the Caterpillar dealer in France, Belgium and Eastern Europe. This relationship led to a partnership with Caterpillar as a distribution partner when Redbird entered the US market. At that time John Carpenter, Caterpillar’s construction technology and solutions manager, said “UAV data collection and Redbird’s image analytics capability will provide customers with a variety of solutions for their operations, such as material inventory management, haul road optimization and project progress to name a few.”
With today’s announcement Caterpillar appears to be doubling down and making a strong statement that it views drone technology and analytics to be a key part of the future of the construction industry.
“Commercial drone technology is becoming a necessity for construction, mining and quarrying organizations looking to increase overall productivity while cutting costs,” said Jonathan Downey, founder & CEO of Airware. “Airware provides customers the combined power of an enterprise-focused workflow and industry-specific data analytics with the compliance and security features needed to scale drone operations.”
Caterpillar dealers will be able to offer their customers drone services and analytics, including a core set of photogrammetry, mapping, and volumetrics tools, and a suite of advanced analysis and reporting modules. Caterpillar dealer Bergerat Monnoyeur to be among the first dealers.
Greg Arranz, General Manager, SITECH at Bergerat Monnoyeur added: “We are committed to bringing cutting-edge technology and world-class services to our customers. Airware is an established leader in putting drones to work for mining, construction, and quarrying. They understand the needs of our customers, what it takes to scale operations, and the importance of offering industry-specific analytics to drive better decision making. We’re proud to bring Airware to our customers.”
The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
You can find related coverage, including an interview with Redbird’s CEO Emmanuel de Maistre, here.
Frank Schroth is editor in chief of DroneLife, the authoritative source for news and analysis on the drone industry: it’s people, products, trends, and events.