Airbus has launched a commercial drone service, Airbus Aerial, which will bring together small drone technology, high-altitude unmanned aircraft, satellite infrastructure and analytics software.
Few can claim to have more heritage and expertise in the world of aviation than Airbus. The company is now set to expand its airborne reach by combining the latest in aerial technology for commercial customers in the US and Europe.
Agriculture, construction and conservation
With the ability to bring together the full spectrum of drone technology, software and satellite imaging, Airbus Aerial is in a strong position to offer imagery services to commercial clients. The data captured from aerial solutions could be used for mapping and modelling in agriculture, construction and conservation.
Thermal and multispectral imaging can give farmers accurate information on crop health, for example, while advanced software can create 3D models to assist with planning and progress tracking during building works and mining projects.
Equally, satellite imaging and high-altitude systems can monitor changes to landscapes that occur over time, as conservation efforts work to combat deforestation and identify climate-related changes to the environment.
A step towards logistics services
Airbus Defence and Space CEO Dirk Hoke hinted that Airbus Aerial will eventually move from data services into logistics.
“Through Airbus Aerial, we are uniquely positioned and fully committed to advancing the commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry. It is bringing together partners from across the industry – ranging from vehicle manufacturers, data analytics companies, service providers and others – to enable data-focused services at large scale,” he said.
“Using an integrated combination of assets, from UAS platforms to satellite imagery, Airbus Aerial is rolling out a wide range of new imagery services. In the future, additional pillars of the Airbus Aerial activities will be in the area of cargo drone services as well as providing connectivity via aerial assets.”
Drones are a piece of the puzzle
Although the hardware market is on the rise, companies bringing together applications with analytics software stand to benefit most from the rise of drone technology.
According to a 2016 report from Gartner, over three million drones will be produced in 2017, up 39 percent on 2016.
Airbus Aerial will have offices in the US and Europe. The US branch will be headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and led by Jesse Kallman.
“Drones are only a piece of a much larger picture for us,” said Kallman. “Airbus Aerial brings together a variety of aerospace technologies, including drones and satellites, combines them in a common software infrastructure, and applies industry-specific analytics to deliver tailored solutions to our customers’ biggest challenges.”