Airbus launches new drone imaging startup

Posted on 16 May 2017 by Michael Cruickshank

European aerospace company Airbus Group last week announced the creation of a new startup intended to provide drone imaging solutions.

Called Airbus Aerial, the company will make use of a number of Airbus-made as well as other unmanned systems in order to provide commercial remote monitoring services.

It aims to target a wide range of commercial customers including the oil, gas, and agricultural sector, as well as state and local governments.

Specifically, Airbus Aerial aims to make use of 4 layers of unmanned craft to provide a huge range of imaging options.

Close to the ground, the company will be able to deploy and analyze imagery from small quadcopter-sized drones, while higher up it will rely on autonomous fixed-wing craft similar to those already used by many militaries.

Higher still, the company will draw on imagery from solar-powered long-duration drones which Airbus refers to as ‘pseudo-satellites’ – indeed such craft are already under development by Airbus Defence and Space.

Finally, Airbus Aerial will also tap into its parent company’s pre-existing space-based satellite assets for even more comprehensive imagery.

“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,” said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space

Beyond the surveillance aircraft/spacecraft, Airbus Aerial will also provide software-based monitoring solutions.

According to the information released by Airbus, the company will have two bases of operations, one located in Atlanta, in the US state of Georgia, and another in Europe.

Further into the future, the company has also stated that it wants to move into the business of drone-based air freight, as well as using unmanned aircraft in order to establish internet connectivity in remote or disaster areas.

So far Airbus has released no information on how much money it is investing in this start-up or when it will be fully operational.