The trend for drones in 2018? Partnerships — and lots of them.
As drone companies look for ways to advance in an increasingly crowded market, the solution may be in joining forces.
Yuneec surprised the drone community when it joined forces with software startup Pix4D, which is owned by Yuneec competitor Parrot. Camera hardware merged with drone hardware when thermal camera maker FLIR announced a dual 4K and thermal camera for DJI’s drones. Software companies are pairing up with software distributors to get ahead in the market, which DroneDeploy did with SoftBank.
And the latest partnership? Drone startup DroneBase, which operates a network of drone pilots, has landed a deal with global aeronautics leader Airbus Aerial to create what it calls ” the world’s first multi-source data service solution for aerial imagery and data from a single provider. ”
Airbus Aerial has historically been a provider of information analysis for data acquired satellites, high altitude aircraft and, yes, drones. With the DroneBase partnership, AirBus Aerial will be able to offer a wider range of drone-specific data within hours.
For example, insurers looking to quickly respond to natural disasters could leverage satellites from the partner Airbus Aerial to view entire cities at high resolution and analyze the damage levels within 12-24 hours to better support their customers, while drones, contracted through DroneBase, can view specific areas where more attention is needed.
DroneBase has received$17 million in funding from venture capitalists including Union Square Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Hearst Ventures and Pritzker Group, as well as from dronemaker DJI’s venture capital arm, Skyfund.
DroneBase says it has grown 10x each year for the past two years, and it has pilots active in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 60 other countries. It also says its pilots have completed over 100,000 drone missions for clients including Hilton hotels and Zillow, according to TechCrunch.