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AUAV and Uaviation announce merger

AUAV is delighted to announce the merger with another leading Australian drone services business, Uaviation.

“This merger expands the depth of resources available to AUAV and adds another director to the Board. It sets our already strong business on a pathway for sustained and substantial growth” says James Rennie CEO. “We see this merger as a first strategic move to broaden the capabilities of AUAV and diversify our specialist in-house skills.”

Uaviation have been operating in Victoria since 2013 and have a strong client base that aligns well with the AUAV business. AUAV, already a dominant drone services and data solutions company, operates across an industry that is quickly becoming mainstream.

The merger will see Uaviation retained as a separate entity and the research and development arm of AUAV. With a strong hardware R&D focus, and links to the universities, Uaviation brings a suite of new technology to the combined business as well as the drone services. These include;

  • Marine based inspection
  • Ground rovers for confined space inspections
  • Underwater rovers

This hardware R&D aligns well with the work AUAV has done in developing its cloud-based asset inspection solution, inSite, which is a unique offering that enables our clients to inspect assets within the context of a full 3D environment. It is 100% customisable for specific industries with bespoke functionality that has found favour across a number of asset classes.

Uaviation shares the AUAV vision that there is a place for a large, professional ISO certified, drone services business in Australia. “Our clients have recognised that there is a business case for drone data. There is an appetite for a national drone services company that can deliver a consistent high quality product.” Nigel Brown, founder of Uaviation. “Joining AUAV brings together two companies that share a common vision, our combined resources assure success in a competitive market.”

While there are currently 1962 drone Remote Operator Certificates issued by CASA, few in the drone services industry have been successful in sustained growth in the sector. James stresses that it has not been a smooth ride to success. “There is no doubt that the setting up, running and scaling a drone business on a shoestring budget is hard work. Drone operations are overseen by CASA in a tight and ever changing regulatory environment with high capital and recurring costs.”

Both AUAV and Uaviation have taken a different path to most other drone companies and have grown with full time staff, not outsourcing to contractors. This has provided stability and knowledge retention within the company with a diversity of technical skills that can pull together to solve any problem. James acknowledges that it has not been the easy path, “our model might not have returned the same short term profits as outsourcing, but as a company we have a long term vision. This is a marathon not a sprint and the recognition and retention of highly skilled staff is key to that”.

There is an inevitable consolidation of the industry underway. Increased competition,the doubling of insurance costs and CASA compliance will see many fall away over the next 6-12 months. “We see this merger with Uaviation the first step as AUAV seeks to grow through a combined strategy of merger, acquisition and organic growth”.

In an unexpected twist the Covid-19 situation has provided a boost to business. Clients, unable to visit interstate sites, have shown a considerable interest in developing photogrammetric digital twins of assets, served up in AUAV’s own inSite software. In particular there has been strong interest in remote site inspections to facilitate the development of tender responses. So much so that AUAV has launched TenderPak, a specific product to meet this need.

AUAV and subsidiary Uaviation remain privately owned and operated and, following the merger, will provide services to clients under the AUAV brand. For more information on the services AUAV provides, this merger or our plans for growth in the next 12 months please drop us a line.