French docked UAV specialist Azur Drones has raised an additional $8.9 million in investment the company plans to use to accelerate the considerable development and client momentum it gained in 2021.
The new infusion increases the total sum Azur Drones has received since 2016 to $42.3 million. It will be put toward further expanding the still relatively small Bordeaux-based company into a larger international player. Central to its activities is the Skeyetech docked UAV system, which was initially created to act as an autonomous security and monitoring platform, but in response to client demand has been developed to perform a variety of industrial and infrastructure tasks. The unit is now used by a host of chemical and energy clients like TotalEnergies.
As part of Azur Drones’ adaptation of the tech, a new photogrammetry capacity was added at the request of a major customer in the mining sector. That led to the second-generation Skeyetech-DIZI, which also operates as an automated detector of radioactivity leaks for companies like French nuclear group Avnir Energy.
In addition to identifying those breaches, the Azur Drones’ docked UAV system allows experts to remotely analyze the general layout and accessibility of radiation leaks, and swiftly organize robotic or human intervention to repair them. Last month, the application won the top prize in the “Products and Services Innovation” category at the World Nuclear Exhibition Awards.
The diversification of its docked UAVs’ functionality was accompanied by Azur Drones’ rapid internationalization. That took the company into Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, it received certification from German aviation officials for Skeyetech’s operation there. The company plans to increase that global reach in 2022 through a 24-country distribution deal it signed in October with security specialist G4S.
Azur Drones says the various versions of Skeyetech dock have thus far racked up over 20,000 UAV flights, and currently have 200 clients using the system on a daily basis. The new capital infusion – representing over 25% of its previous total funding – will power continued innovation of the platform, and an increased cadence of the company’s internationalization.
Though Azur Drones hasn’t said who the private investors behind the new financing are, it has indicated its spending focus will be in expanding Skeyetech’s already critical surveillance and monitoring capacities to specialized industrial inspections, and gas detection and quantification.
“We are very proud to equip today some of the most sensitive sites in the world with our made-in-France technology,” said Jean-Marc Crépin, Azur Drones CEO. “As Skeyetech was designed to reinforce the protection of people, assets and the environment on critical sites, establishing ourselves in the nuclear field is a real victory for our teams.”
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