Unmanned aerial systems and remote sensing company Winehawk Labs announced it will release a new model of its successful UAV platform in May to coincide with company re-branding.
The change in company name, from WineHawk Labs to Precision Hawk, reflects a change in focus from specifically viticulture to broader agriculture, where there is a great need for precise data collection and cost-effective platforms for farmers and surveyors.
"We didn't start out to build birds," said Ernest Earon, CEO Precision Hawk. "There are a lot of companies that can build an aircraft and do it fairly well, but as we started to build this internal intelligence and do more research on reducing the training and effort required to collect information, it became obvious that agriculture was not very well served from a data perspective. Precision Hawk is providing a solution to the area of precision agriculture where there is a clearly defined need."
The new UAV model, the HawkEye Lancaster Mark III, has a fully integrated sensor suite that provides more flexibility in data collection than the previous model. The small and lightweight fixed-wing platform, weighing only three pounds and measuring three feet nose to tail, is completely autonomous, running on the `fly and forget' method. The user-friendly platform allows users to walk out of their back door, toss the platform, wait for it to come back and instantly have the data transfer to a preferred software location. The hyper-intelligent sensors allow for the collection of data on anything from plant research to crop production and protection and account for the current weather conditions to ensure reliable and complete data.
"Our focus is on the data, not the platform," said Patrick Lohman, COO Precision Hawk. "We consider ourselves more a remote sensing company than an unmanned aircraft company. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is the data that the user can collect and how that data can be translated to create a positive outcome for the user."
The precision agriculture market is set to boom with the opening of U.S. airspace to civil unmanned aerial vehicles by the FAA in 2015. Currently, Precision Hawk operates its research and development teams in Canada, with U.S. business offices located in Indianapolis and Raleigh, N.C.