Americas Civil

Why did Trimble buy a UAV manufacturer?

This article is interesting if for no other reason than it comes from an end user point of view. People from the GIS trade have no idea about how things fly or the regulations they must comply with. But they see a use for UAS. Gatewing did very well, they sold an EPP wing to a multinational that did not understand what they were buying. Using the term UAV rather points to a lack of knowledge.

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Trimble is an acquisitive company, but some of the company’s buys still seem to come out of left field. Such as this past week’s announcement it had acquired Gatewing, a maker of unmanned aerial vehicles for photogrammetry and rapid terrain mapping based in Gent, Belgium.

UAVs? Does Trimble have more military business in its sites?

Not exactly. Gatewing, said Anders Rhodin, business area director for Trimble’s survey division, have “really stayed focused on the surveying and mapping industry as they’ve developed as a company.” While there are hundreds of UAV makers trying to sell product and grow their businesses, “very few have targeted our market in that way,” Rhodin said. “We realized very quickly how well we aligned, both in terms of where we want to go and how we see the market. Either we’re both brainwashed in the right way or we’re both right.”

And how will UAVs make an impact on the survey and mapping industry?

“You’re filling the gap between traditional topo surveying and the high-altitude photogrammetry and putting something in between,” Rhodin said. “Compared to high altitude, it’s fairly low cost. You can do it often and quickly. It’s not affected by the weather; you fly under the cloud cover for instance. [UAVs are useful] where you want to be able to quickly survey bigger portions of land – there are rapid response possibilities where there are time-sensitive deliverables, disaster situations, after tornados. You might use UAVs for construction monitoring, where you might want to do it on a daily basis.”

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