Delair-Tech CEO explains acquisition of Trimble’s UAS unit

By Luke Geiver | October 12, 2016

A French-based unmanned aircraft systems design, engineer and service provider that has ran beyond visual line of sight operations for two years using fixed wing unmanned aircraft vehicles has found a way to add to its offerings. Delair-Tech has purchased the multi-rotor UAS business unit of Trimble. UAS Magazine spoke with Delair-Tech’s CEO Micael de Lagarde about the acquisition, the company’s plan for the future and why it was the right time to make an investment in the industry.

After establishing itself in France by flying BVLOS operations for French utilities, railroads, mining operations and some agriculture operations, de Lagarde said the company that was founded in 2012 felt it was time to expand its customer base.

“The acquisition we are making now is a way to extend our range of products,” he said. “We really feel that the industrial groups are starting to consider UAVs like field-ready tools. Before they were thinking of the technology like a cool gadget.”

Through its purchase of Trimble’s Gatewing product and manufacturing facility in Belgium, the company will be able to offer multi-rotor products to its clients. Delair-Tech, along with German-based Microdrones, a manufacturer of multi-rotors, has also formed a strategic agreement with Trimble to be its supplier of both fixed-wing UAVs and multi-rotors.

“Right now there is a lot of positive momentum in the industry,” de Lagarde said. While the consumer market seems to have found its main manufacturers and suppliers—mainly from China—in the commercial market “the race has just begun.”

Delair-Tech’s main market revenue is generated in France and China. In June, the company opened an office in Los Angeles. The company is operating in 35 countries and according to de Lagarde, Delair-Tech has global ambitions.

Although Trimble is exiting its UAS manufacturing and design business, it intends to stay in the UAS industry through a greater focus on software development. “Trimble chose to partner with Delair-Tech and Microdrones to strengthen our UAS portfolio,” said Ron Bisio, vice president of Trimble’s geospatial division. “Trimble will focus on core software technology for UAS that integrates positioning, remote sensing and photogrammetry. The ultimate goal is to deliver a complete solution to transform work processes and boost efficiency for our customers.”