Auterion, which you may recall is the largest open-source drone software platform, has partnered with project management firm C2 Group. The company will be deploying Auterion-powered drones for a number of use-case scenarios in the critical infrastructure and utilities industries.
A brief aside before we hop into the news. It was a pleasant surprise to read the news release containing this information. That’s because I’ve had the pleasure of doing some work with C2 Group in California and meeting many of its excellent managers, engineers and pilots. The company has an extensive UAV fleet and was an early adopter of drones. It’s not only a leading project management company, but has done extensive infrastructure inspections for major clients like Pacific Gas and Electric.
Everything I saw while visiting their offices and observing their fieldwork struck me as highly professional. These women and men (C2 is a woman-owned business) are at the top of their field.
The collaboration was formed after C2 conducted extensive testing of the Vesper drone, built by Vantage Robotics and powered by Auterion. C2 was interested in seeing whether the product would be viable for inspecting power line and utility infrastructure.
The Vesper is one of five products on the Blue sUAS list, a curated selection of US-built drones favoured by the Defense Innovation Unit, which describes itself as “the only DoD organization focused exclusively on fielding and scaling commercial technology across the U.S. military at commercial speeds.” The five UAS on its list are recommended for Department of Defense and federal government procurement, although government agencies are still free to purchase drones built by other manufacturers providing they are certified compliant.
The news release states both Auterion and C2 group have observed a shift away from drones manufactured outside the US in favor of made-in-America drones. The lightweight Vesper, which offers rapid deployment, a 50-minute flight time, thermal imaging, IP67 Ingress Protection rating, 18x zoom and more, seemed a good fit for C2’s needs. The drone weighs just 2.2 pounds and can be deployed very rapidly.
The Auterion-C2 Group partnership, says the release, is a good fit on both sides.
Utilizing the data security, quality and flexibility enabled by Auterion across multiple UAS manufacturers means C2 Group pilots can be trained on one flight platform but fly any drone associated with it; reducing the training time and increasing overall productivity. Further productivity measures are achieved with Auterion’s Suite used to identify pilot efficiencies and its Simulator to augment pilot training. At the same time C2, with its industry knowledge having worked with multiple major utilities in the US, is providing insight that is helping to shape Auterion’s roadmap for new sensors and airframes into the future.
Joint news release
In fact, Auterion posted this video about the new partnership:
C2 Group’s Chief Technical Officer, Brandon Del Priore, believes this partnership will ultimately benefit its clients:
We are proud to partner with Auterion to bring some of the best technology developed in the US to our clients in the utilities and critical infrastructure industries. When safety, data security, and data quality matter most, C2 Group will be there to offer customers the same US-made hardware and software used by the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit and the US military. The open source ecosystem is helping to drive a better footprint within the marketplace and a better level of compatibility for US made products.
Brandon Del Priore, CTO, C2 Group
Auterion’s VP of Enterprise Business Development, Cynthia Huang, up until recently held a senior position at DJI. She says Auterion’s open source system offers advantages to clients:
With DJI added to the entity list, we’re seeing enterprise drone operators accelerate their search for alternatives. Auterion’s open source software ecosystem provides more options, more solutions, and faster development timelines to the needs being identified today and companies are embracing the power of our approach. We are excited to partner with C2 Group to bring US made solutions and the advantages of open source to their customers.”
Cynthia Huang, VP of Enterprise Business Development, Auterion
C2 Group has historically been quite committed to the DJI platform, with the majority of its fleet comprised of DJI Enterprise products.