Airbus Aerial, the aerospace giant’s new UAV wing, has confirmed to the industry that its Zephyr programme will be operated by the company as a packaged service, rather than selling the drones privately for customers to use.
The Zephyr is a new UAV being developed by Airbus which is designed to have wider applications and be able to collect data on a larger scale than conventional drones with the capability to stay aloft for three months.
While addressing industry professionals this month, Jesse Kallman, president of Airbus Aerial, was asked whether the Zephyr concept will be deployed as a service to customers or if they will be sold directly for commercial use.
“Zephyr remains as an independent product that we’ll provide to a lot of different companies,” he said. “Airbus Aerial will bring those Zephyrs as a service directly to customers. So we would operate them and provide that service.”
Speaking at the Commercial UAV Show, Kallman added that the Zephyr programme is likely to be rolled out across commercial markets “later into next year and the following year”.
The Zephyr UAV has been designed for a variety of applications including greater imaging capabilities.
Kallman said one such capability will be the option of carrying communication payloads.
“Imagine the telecom companies of the world being able to use this in times of network overloads or after disasters where the network is down, being able to supplement that. Or even the likes of Facebook that are trying to bring connectivity to other parts of the world but are not able to launch satellites and want something that is persistent.”
Airbus Aerial has been rapidly established having brought out its first product in September after only being announced in May.
It has been designed to help commercial drone operators overcome a number of challenges to help improve the quality of their data. One of its main functions is to help companies substantially scale up their data collection and it is hoped that Zephyr will help to implement this.