Delair Begins A New Period of Growth With New Drone for Agriculture and Airware Acquisition
BY Isabella Lee8 November 2018
The latest innovation from Delair delivers new levels of efficiency and productivity for agri-business. Announced this week, the Delair UX11 Ag is a new drone platform optimized for the agriculture industry. Built on the foundation of the successful Delair UX11 fixed-wing UAV, the new version combines the productivity benefits of long-range/BVLOS flight operations with highly accurate survey-grade mapping and plant data collection capabilities.
Delair is known for their fixed-wind drone solutions and accomplishments in beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flights. They are headquartered in Toulouse, France with additional offices in Ghent, Belgium, Los Angeles, and Singapore. We first got to know Delair when we reported on their partnership with Intel and learned more about their expansion into the American market during an interview with Delair co-founder, Benjamin Benharrosh.
Delair UX11 Ag Provides Solutions for Large-Scale Agriculture Activities
Working with drones in agriculture comes with unique challenges, such as covering large areas of land and working in difficult environmental conditions. Survey and mapping professionals in the agricultural and forestry segment need a drone that can handle long-distance flights that also won’t run low on battery when multiple flights are needed.
The Delair UX11-Ag is well suited for a range of large-scale agriculture activities, including inventory control, crop planning, health monitoring of crops, extraction of key production metrics, and crop response assessment in field trials and research. It’s designed specifically for the diverse and often challenging environmental conditions of large-scale farming environments.
Operators will also need to work quickly. The UX11Ag supports a productivity-oriented workflow for long-range, multi-field and multi-flight operations. The precise automatic geolocation—PPK as you go—enables a perfect overlay of maps for temporal analysis or machine guidance. The drone enables real-time review of data, providing even more efficiency for analyzing while in the field.
The Delair UX11-Ag directly addresses an opportunity in the fast-growing agriculture and forestry segment with a solution that uniquely meets the productivity and ease-of-use requirements of these operations. It fills the void that exists between traditional small-scale solutions such as flight-time-limited quadcopters, and the limited resolution and agility through satellites.
—Michaël de Lagarde, co-founder and CEO, Delair.
Minimizing Costs and Optimizing ROI in Agri-Business with Delair UX11 Ag
Wasted expense on inaccurate crop readings is a significant concern for drone operators in agri-business. Delair provides a solution with the UX11 Ag’s enhanced centimeter-level geolocation and efficient operational characteristics that make it a cost-effective solution for large area farming and forestry. The full-featured drone includes sensing technologies and a multispectral camera for plant-level measuring, including bird level, biomass, and chlorophyll.
The Delair UX11 Ag reduces the amount of time and money required to provide detailed surveys of large-scale agriculture operations. For example, thanks to its long-range capabilities, the Delair UAV can typically cover up to 900 hectares in a single day with only six flights at 150-meter altitude. Its precise geolocation capabilities and wide area imaging technology further decrease operational costs. In addition, the rugged “ag-proof” design specifically built for the harsh operational challenges found in agriculture use cases, lowers overall maintenance. As a result, its ROI is extremely high, enabling the customer to see a payback in as a little as a few flights.
The advanced features of the Delair UX11 Ag also have the potential to increase ROI. Some of the most notable features include:
- Fully integrated high-grade multispectral camera to provide the industry’s best quality agriculture data. The sensor generates plant health indexes and RGB (color) images and is calibrated for precise, repeatable measurements.
- Weighing in at just 1.6 kg (3.52 lbs), the UX11 Ag is an easy-to-assemble and easy-to-carry system. Its dimensions and takeoff capabilities make hand launching possible.
- BTOL (bird-like take-off and landing) capabilities for steep-climb take offs and descents in confined areas, reduce downtime between flights and extend its use to challenging environments such as dense vegetation in plantations or forests.
- Two communications options: Delair Link for 2.4 GHz wireless communications allows connections anywhere and a range of up to 5 km while an integrated secure cellular connection on partner 3G and 4G networks reduces potential interference issues and allows longer range control.
- PPK-as-you-go makes it possible to precisely overlay maps for temporal analysis and on the route planning and guidance for on the ground agricultural machines.
For complete specifications, check out the Delair UX11 Ag datasheet. Watch the video below to see the UX11 Ag in action.
Delair Acquires Airware and Begins A New Period of Growth
When UAV Coach interviewed Benjamin Benharrosh, Delair co-founder, back in August, he shared his predictions and goals for Delair over the next couple of years. Primarily, Benharrosh hoped to see growth on the software side of the business.
On the software side, we are expecting exponential growth and a massive improvement in how we address the requirements of all the industries we serve.
—Benjamin Benharrosh, Co-founder, Delair
Evidence that Delair will indeed increase its focus on software comes with the announcement of their latest acquisition. On October 30, Delair announced an agreement to acquire the key assets of Airware, a developer of innovative software analytics tools for drone-based data. The acquisition will enable Delair to further meet the needs of the many industries it serves. The company, which now has more than 180 employees worldwide, supports customers in a wide range of industries such as agriculture, mining, construction, energy, utilities, oil and gas, transportation, security, and emergency services.
As we looked for a partner, we were impressed by Delair’s vision and all the synergies that exist between our technologies and our views of the market. The drone industry is maturing fast and customers are now looking for comprehensive, end-to-end solutions. Airware’s advanced data management and data analysis tools will be highly complementary with Delair’s existing solutions.
—Sasha Pesic, CEO, Airware
Airware’s technology complements the product line from Delair, which is recognized as one of the world’s leading pioneers in commercial drone solutions, especially for BVLOS operations. Delair proved that their drone solutions are fit for BVLOS flights when they became the first in France to accomplish a 30-mile BVLOS flight in 2017. The addition of Airware’s assets will expand Delair’s presence in the United States, as well as in key industrial markets, hopefully leading to more approved BVLOS flights in the United States.