A Norwegian drone maker is making a heavy splash in Florida after inking a deal to lift some heavy airborne loads across the Sunshine State.
Griff Aviation has signed a lease to carry drone-powered cargo up to 1,000 pounds from the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, according to ABC News.
The company plans to import component parts from Norway and eventually establish a foothold in the region and assemble hardware in Lakeland.
“We will be assembling here in for distribution throughout North America,” Mark Boyd, Griff Operations Manager told reporters. “We can lift hay barrels on tractors, we can herd cattle.”
The firm’s Roughneck model octocopter can lift up to 1,100 pounds and sports and array of carbon-fiber rotors. In December, Griff introduced the 300 model, an FAA and EASA certified drone that can lift almost 500 pounds with a 45-minute maximum flight time. The company is targeting the law enforcement, agriculture and inspection sectors.
“We knew from early on that safety is absolutely paramount for both the aviation industry and our potential, professional customers,” said CEO Leif Johan Holland in a press release. “For that reason, we were determined to attain international aviation certification, which we have done. I am proud to say that we are the first company in the world to be selling certified drones to the professional market. This will open up new opportunities globally.”
In any event, Lakeland officials are glad to be taking on a new Scandinavian ally. “We don’t want to run from it. It is a part of aviation because it is now regulated by the FAA,” said Gene Conrad, Director at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, in an ABC interview. “Anything that goes in the air we want to be a part of it.”
The company recently launched the Integrex i-400, a 5-axis machining center that allows the company to produce drone parts within 48 hours.
Griff also offers customizable payloads and hopes to branch out into wind turbine inspections.