UK based Horizon 51 Ltd is the latest company to spring from nowhere and hopes to position themselves at the forefront of this new and exciting industry. They build custom UAV systems for video and photography purposes, but more interestingly they’re also concentrating their efforts on building systems whose intended purpose is that of commercial and industrial applications. However, rather than invest in expensive R&D they’ve chosen to combine existing off-the-shelf components to develop their products.
“It’s not our intention to research and develop new technologies or make breakthroughs in the industry” Says Jake Memery, Director. “We want instead to offer low price point commercial UAVs that are both capable and safe. We achieve this by using recognized, tried and tested components to build complete mission ready systems for commercial uses from inspections to search and rescue.”
Jake Memery is a qualified aerospace engineer previously working for AgustaWestland building full size aircraft. He’s also the director of an aerospace technical publications company so clearly has a good background. Jake’s clear on his business model but recognizes that the UAV industry is still in its infancy and success will not happen overnight.
“It’s still very early days yet.” Says Jake “And I don’t just mean in terms of our business. The UK UAV industry is set to explode over the next 5 – 10 years and I wanted to be a part of that progression. This is a very exciting time in many ways and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what small UAVs are capable of. Thanks mainly to mass production of smart phones and similar devices, the costs of components found in UAVs is incredibly affordable. It’s an exciting few years ahead.”
Of course in the UK Line Of Sight (LOS) operations are currently all that’s permitted (assuming the correct CAA approvals are obtained). The next phase will be fully autonomous flight beyond line of sight. “We’re a few years off that yet.” Jake says. “The biggest deciding factor is how quickly the CAA can safely integrate and regulate UAVs in our national airspace. But it’s not a case of if, it’s when. Watch this space!”
Horizon 51 are aiming their first product, the SkyAngel X4, at various industries and it’s capable of multiple configurations and payloads The SkyAngel X4 system and ground station can be purchased mission ready starting at under £5000. http://www.horizon51.co.uk