WATERLOO — Aeryon Labs Inc., a Waterloo-based maker of small drones, expects to see a lot of growth following regulatory approvals for its drones in the United States.
"This is absolutely enormous in multiple ways," said David Kroetsch, the firm's founder, president and chief executive officer.
The company announced Wednesday that Kansas State University at Salina and the Michigan State Police are now able to use Aeryon drones statewide. And VDOS Global LLC, a company that uses Aeryon drones to inspect onshore and offshore infrastructure in the oil and gas industry can use the technology in Alaska, Hawaii and on the continental U.S.
"It is a giant vote of confidence by our customers that they are confident enough with what they have been doing with the product thus far, that they are rolling it out on a statewide basis," Kroetsch said.
It is also a vote of confidence from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which specifically approved the use of the Aeryon SkyRanger by the Michigan State Police, and the smaller Aeryon Scout by Kansas State University.
Both of those approvals are for statewide usage.
Businesses may have started planning for the day when drones help their future plans take flight, but experts say corporate visions will have to stay more grounded for several years.
The regulatory framework that has made Canada a welcoming destination for small-scale commercial drone use is in no way ready for a more broad-based adoption of unmanned aircraft, they said, adding new laws and traffic management systems would have to be in place before more ambitious drone-based projects could take off.
Halton Regional Police have used their drone [an Aeryon Scout] to search for missing persons, probe collisions, and investigate an armed robbery and homicide. In 2012, the drone even helped officers find about $744,000 worth of marijuana that was growing on a farmer’s field in Milton, Ont.
Halton police first purchased a drone (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, as they are known in the industry) to use in their investigations in 2009, when it was still a relatively new technology in law enforcement. Since then, it has been used in 50 police missions, according to now-retired operation manager Det. Dave Banks.
The FAA approved three separate applications for broad scale sUAS use, enabling Aeryon customers to operate where they are needed within the US
Waterloo, ON – Aeryon Labs Inc., the premier manufacturer of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), is the first Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) sUAS provider to be named in statewide approvals by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for research and public safety applications. Kansas State University Salina (KSU) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) have been granted authority to use Aeryon sUAS throughout their respective states.
Dave Kroetsch can’t stop smiling.
His company, Aeryon Labs, has just won the second of its two awards at the 2014 Ontario Export Awards, an exclusive November luncheon, and Kroetsch, outfitted in a bright turquoise shirt and snappy matching stripped tie, shakes hands as he makes his way onstage to collect the award for Exporter of the Year.