type 3 for the road superimposed over treated road photoAre you feeling lucky?

It might be a good week to be a drone manufacturer.

One in an occasional series on drone manufacturers. These three – Olaeris, CyPhy Works and AgEagle – are each taking a very different approach to the drone business.

Olaeris AEVA

Olaeris, manufacturer of the ‘21st Century Helicopter’, has launched a crowd-based, online fundraising campaign after disclosing it has signed over $55 Million in orders for its unmanned VTOL aircraft called AEVA.

Since Olaeris exhibited at the HAI Heli-Expo sixteen weeks ago, aviation dealers have committed millions of dollars into escrow accounts, ordering hundreds of AEVA aircraft to secure an early stake in this emerging market. Olaeris is assigning exclusive geographic territories to sell, service and support their aircraft, resulting in a “land grab” by aviation companies positioning to block their competitors from entering the market later.

“We’ve drawn interest from big venture capital firms and they like our technology, but they know nothing about aviation”, said Ted Lindsley, CEO. “Understanding aviation is necessary to recognize how unique Olaeris is from hundreds of drone and UAV companies. Crowdfunding lets Olaeris identify investors who might also add other value as we scale.

After all, what does Silicon Valley know about CPL(H) training or MRO services?”

read more at sUAS News

Guess they must be really sure that they want to say that?
Olaeris launched in 2012, targeting the first responder industry. These guys are doing some serious zigging and zagging, implying that they have FAA approval for RPAS operations. They position against helicopters and the cost of piloted operations, and against hobby drones that are not built to any known standard. The copy is heavy on traditional aerospace concepts like 9001 manufacturing and how their AEVA helicopter carries boat loads of onboard avionics and can do things like fly over crowds.
At the end of the day, this is all about a guy sitting at a terminal flying the mission BVLOS. Not sure how this works with anything but a public COA.

 

CyPhy Works PARC

photo of CyPhy PARC tethered drone
CyPhy Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) vehicle system

CyPhy Works announced today that it has received an order for its Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) System, from the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF). PARC, a tethered drone, addresses the need for a persistent eye-in-the-sky by flying for days at a time.

CyPhy Works’ PARC is a portable, tethered drone that has the ability to perform long-endurance flights, potentially lasting hundreds of hours. The tether serves as PARC’s power conduit. Communications and video also flow over its patented Kevlar-strengthened microfilament tether.

“It’s a tower-without-a-tower,” said LTC (R) Matt England, CyPhy Works Vice President for Government Systems. “We made a system that can live where the Soldier lives; tough enough to match their environment; available where they need it when they need it; and can fly for as long as they need it.”

The PARC was designed to meet U.S. Soldier requirements in the field for force protection (FP), as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). “The REF procured a system to help assess possible solutions to a validated requirement we received from a deployed unit,” said Army Lt. Col. Scott Schumacher, Solutions Team 1 Chief.

“The intent is to assess and understand new technology in the realm of persistent, elevated ISR.”

read more at sUAS News

The pivot is fully underway after the highly touted, Kickstarter funded, CyPhy LVL1 failed to ship. Bot wunderkind and industry visionary Helen Greiner survived the flop and remains CEO. As a founding contributor to REF, LTC Matt England (ret.) the Vice President of Military Systems for CyPhy Works, Inc. was obviously the key to the sale.
No word as to how long the evaluation period will be or what it will take to generate some more substantial numbers. Tethered is a huge opportunity in civil, government and military spaces worldwide.

AgEagle RAPID

image from the AgEagle website
from the AgEagle website

AgEagle Aerial Systems is set to list on the NASDAQ stock exchange this week Thursday, 21 July. The Neodesha, Kansas-based company is planning to raise around $15 million in its Initial Public Offering (IPO) by offering 2.7 million shares at between $5 and $6 per share and will list under the stock symbol NASDAQ:UAVS.

In 2015, according to the company’s financials filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), AgEagle showed an annual net loss of $1.4 million on revenues of $774,000 after showing a profit of $200,000 on higher revenues of $885,000 the year before.

AgEagle designs and manufactures data-acquisition drones for precision agriculture and according to AgEagle’s website:

“AgEagle was a cooperative effort between founder Bret Chilcott and Kansas State University.”

read more at sUAS News

Another integrated UAV operations management system and aircraft specifically developed for professional agronomists and crop consultants. Add to that AgEagle announced a big distribution deal with Raven Applied Technology (RAVN) earlier this year. One would assume that their sales forecasts are what powered the projections on the roadshow, since it’s a stretch to see how under $1M in revenues justifies a $15M valuation. We’ll see how they fare.
What I like about this story is that it follows the Route 128/Silicon Valley formula of an idea being developed at a university becoming a business. Kansas State’s Polytechnic campus is one of the leaders in the UAV space so no doubt there is more to come.

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