The drone industry is forming partnerships at a record pace this year. Manufacturers are joining forces with drone solutions companies and other established vertical players to maximize their distribution channels and provide a single vendor solution. The latest major partnership announcement comes from Swiss drone manufacturer senseFly and CA-based drone data platform Airware.
Parrot subsidiary senseFly produces the eBee drone, an ultra light-weight fixed wing mapping drone. The eBee offers some interesting differences over it’s competitors for both current and future applications. At just over a pound and a half, the drone has an endurance of up to 50 minutes – and with no blades, the inherent safety factor makes the eBee a good bet for being certified for future applications.
Airware’s drone data solutions for mining, quarrying, and construction sites have been a favorite of the industry. Airware raised $30million last year – on top of over $40 million it had raised by 2014 – as it launched it’s Aerial Information Platform. The Platform is a comprehensive solution sold directly to the Fortune 500, and includes cloud-based planning, commercial operator software, unmanned vehicles, data processing, and analytics and reporting, all within a workflow system. Airware has developed a broad network of partnerships – this latest creates a compelling offering for industry.
“By combining senseFly’s globally-proven, large-coverage eBee Plus platform with Airware’s unique cloud-based business intelligence, we are creating a truly enterprise-ready solution; a solution that enables customers to safely collect, and act upon, the geospatial data they need, for example when planning operations, calculating extraction volumes, and monitoring a site’s evolution over time,” said Jean-Christophe Zufferey, senseFly’s CEO.
“To take full advantage of aerial data, surveyors demand that their tools provide survey-grade accuracy, efficiency, and flexibility. The eBee Plus more than meets these requirements,” said Jonathan Downey, the founder and CEO of Airware. “Pairing the eBee Plus’ aerial efficiency and photogrammetric accuracy with our powerful enterprise-grade workflow enables companies to ensure compliance, enhance worker safety, and capture more accurate, repeatable data to improve decision-making.”
Airware will distribute senseFly’s eBee Plus across the globe as part of their enterprise solution offering, but the partnership also has a Russian doll aspect – a partnership within a partnership. The solution “is available within the global Cat dealers network as elements of the Cat Connect offering, which focuses on improving site and operation efficiency through a suite of industry specific products and services,” says the partnership announcement. “As a result, Cat dealers will be able to offer their customers enterprise drone solutions that combine senseFly’s automated data collection with Airware’s enterprise-focused workflow, professional services, training, and cloud-based analytics that turn aerial data into business intelligence.”
Cat dealers are part of the Caterpillar empire, a household name in providing heavy equipment to industry. The two solutions – offered by one of the biggest names in industrial equipment and services – could give both senseFly and Airware an edge in the competition for enterprise clients.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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