New-start Iris to offer high-end sensing UAV services

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A newly created company is preparing to penetrate the unmanned air vehicle (UAV) services market by offering high-end sensing for commercial applications.

Moving away from the typical offering of an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) payload, new-start Iris, which began trading in July, is hoping to appeal to a market previously untouched by utilising more sophisticated, and subsequently more expensive, payloads, including Lidar and hyperspectral imagers.

“We have the funding to do it properly and go into this in a realistic way with a long-term strategy,” Neil Hunter, chief executive of Iris, tells Flightglobal. “There is always going to be a requirement for EO/IR, but you are only surface-checking with that sensor.

“There is obviously a market for it, but it is a very straightforward market. The next phase is using more complex technology that is now coming down in size and price.”

Iris is looking to operate UAVs on a contract basis because technology develops too quickly to make it viable to acquire them outright, Hunter said. It is targeting the energy market – oil and gas and wind farms – plus the powerline-inspection market.