Every successful company needs a clear set of objectives to work to and The Bionic Eye is no different.
Set up as a division of the Bionic Group to bring specialised technology and skills to the rail, utility and construction sectors, the company has created a step change in how assets are accurately and cost effectively surveyed and managed.
Having demonstrated its ability to place specialist instruments in distant, dangerous, dirty or dull locations to allow rapid data acquisition and timely decision-making, the Uxbridge-based outfit remains hungry for expansion.
Its sights are firmly set on increasing its reach into three main areas over the next 12 months. Firstly, it intends to expand on its work with universities, where it can offer a reconfigurable platform ideally suited to research and development programmes.
Secondly, it is targeting the film industry, where it is looking to promote high-end UAV systems, and thirdly it is eyeing the corporate market to grow its core business of sensor integration and UAV consultancy.
The Bionic Eye will be setting out to achieve these goals with an impressive set of credentials behind it. By combining the best cameras, bespoke rigs and image technology with unmanned vehicles, coupled with its own pinpoint modelling technology, it has been able to offer a wide range of industry-specific solutions crafted to its clients’ exact individual needs.
“We have noticed a tipping point where corporates are now starting to explore and embrace UAV technologies.”
“The majority of sales are based upon two main types of clients,” explains director Andrew Eio. “Professional cinematographers who require reliable high quality airframes to place expensive movie cameras on, and corporates who want more bespoke solutions where they typically have a specialist sensor that they want integrated into a UAV. This allows them to gain a more cost-effective way to obtain data and ultimately drive business decisions to gain a commercial advantage. That said, there has been a lot of enquires for industrial-grade agricultural systems.”
Life at The Bionic Eye is certainly never quiet. The past 12 months have seen it engaged in a raft of activities, including partnering with hydrogen fuel cell manufacturers and undertaking new projects that can embrace the flight durability this technology promises.
“We are also in negotiation with the UK military to use COTS UAV systems, and expect to start working on the first project in early 2019 for ultra-heavy lift systems up to 100kg. While there are numerous challenges to hurdle to meet the specification required, we are confident that these can be achieved, which would open up an exciting new market for us.”
Another area which has started to accrue significant interest involves agricultural drones for crop spraying. The Bionic Eye has clients in countries such as Italy and the UAE, where the integration of custom flight control systems and accurate low-cost RTK systems are offering highly accurate operations in challenging environments.
The Bionic Eye’s customers include names such as Network Rail, Kier Group and VolkerFitzpatrick. Is it noticing a change in the way that large corporations are embracing drone technology?
“While there has been a large uptake in the UK, until recent times this was more towards the video production, stills and inspection activity,” says Eio.
“We have noticed that there has recently been a tipping point where corporates are now starting to explore and embrace UAV technologies. That said, current regulations are tempering some sectors, hence why some of our clients are foreign. It is the early adopter that is gaining the most commercial benefit.”