PrecisionHawk names new CEO to drive company growth

Agriculture drones

PrecisionHawk, Inc., a leading provider of drone technology for the enterprise, announced that James Norrod has been named as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer. The previous CEO, Michael Chasen, will lead PrecisionHawk’s advisory board and continue to champion efforts to integrate commercial drones into the National Airspace as Chair of the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee.

Mr. Norrod brings more than 25 years of experience leading companies in highly regulated industries, including public and venture-backed technology companies.  He specialises in forming strategic partnerships, optimizing domestic and international operations, establishing new sales distribution channels, and developing management teams.   With a background that includes many telecommunications roles and the CEO of Segway, you might ask how this fits with a company that is focusing on enterprise drone technology.

ATM Magazine had the chance to speak with him yesterday to understand more about how this all fits together. Understanding the Segway model was an interesting discussion.  This was about taking a one-technology company and expanding it into new markets.  The model included topics such as Segway tours – which pop up globally in major cities, and using the Segway technology as the basis for electric scooters through the development of a partner in China.  This could give you some insight to the future strategy here.

The commercial drone industry has grown faster than anticipated.  The FAA forecasts that it could triple between now and 2023, with an estimated 835,000 drones flying by that time.  Since its founding in 2010, PrecisionHawk has led policy and technology development efforts to advance the global adoption of commercial drone technology. Some of the world’s largest organizations, including five of the top 10 utility companies, the largest provider of mobile communications infrastructure in the United States, and the “Big Six” providers of seed and agricultural chemicals, rely on them to help them apply innovative drone hardware, software, and services to address critical business challenges. Managing asset inventory, measuring the health of telecommunications towers, electricity distribution lines, and crops, can all leverage PrecisionHawk’s drone-based geospatial data analytics solution.

But what is the ATM linkage here?  PrecisionHawk has an API called LATAS.  This can be licensed to other companies and allows drones and fixed wing aircraft to communicate with each other, think telecommunications mesh network if that helps to visualise this.  There is an additional LTE dongle to communicate with the drones and the solution currently carries an FAA waiver for BVLOS.  Information can in theory be shared bi-directionally with air traffic control systems.  The secret sauce is in the analytics.  The company’s goal is to provide actionable intelligence that can be used by the companies the drones are working for.

Just an interesting fact we learned in the discussion, all of the drones are owned and operated by an independent fleet of pilots.  Think Uber drone.