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Nick Wakeman

FLIR makes another deal to build its unmanned aerial chops

FLIR Systems is continuing on its stated strategy to be a leader in unmanned systems both in the air and on the ground.

FLIR's latest move in that three-year journey is the acquisition announced Tuesday of Aria Insights, a company that made tethered drones. Aria Insights closed down earlier this year after its financing ran out.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but FLIR did say it is picking up intellectual property and certain operating assets.

Aria Insights was formerly known as CyPhy Works and was an early developer of small unmanned aerial systems that are tethered. A tethered drone has the advantage of having a constant power source through a microfilament wire as well as a secure, wired communications connection. This allows for long deployments in the air.

Aria was founded in 2008 by iRobot co-founder Helen Grenier and received funding from backers such as Lux Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners. Grenier left the company in 2017. According to published reports, the company closed down in March of this year.

For FLIR, the deal fits a strategy it described to us in April -- make unmanned systems a core competency, both in the platforms themselves and their supporting technologies.

In 2016, FLIR acquired Prox Dynamics, a maker of small unmanned aerial systems. Then earlier this year FLIR made two acquisitions -- another UAS company in Aeryon Labs and the unmanned ground vehicle firm Endeavor Robotics.

(By coincidence, Endeavor was the defense business of iRobot, making Aria the second FLIR acquisition involving a company co-founded by Grenier.)

Although Aria was no longer in operation, FLIR executives see potential in its technology.

“Tethered UAS systems are becoming an increasingly valuable tool for force protection, border security, and critical infrastructure protection,” said David Ray, president of FLIR’s government and defense business. “Aria’s innovative technology and IP assets will enable us to enhance current capabilities and advance the range of solutions we can deliver to customers in this growing market segment.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 02, 2019 at 12:37 PM


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