John Deere, Kespry announce drone alliance
- Moline, IL–based John Deere and Menlo Park, CA–based Kespry have announced a strategic alliance to provide Kespry’s drone hardware, software and analytics to contractors via John Deere’s dealer network, according to TechCrunch.
- Kespry systems will integrate with John Deere’s WorkSite workflow and analytics software to gather and crunch aerial data for optimizing site productivity and reducing costs.
- Kespry’s automated flight system is one of several being deployed by drone vendors that allow contractors to fly UAV missions with one-touch activation and no necessary operator intervention.
This marks another major equipment manufacturer and drone vendor partnership as established equipment behemoths and startup UAV shops seek a win-win, go-to-market strategy for deploying drone technology in the construction industry.
Announced at ConExpo 2017 in Las Vegas, the Deere/Kespry partnership is similar to Caterpillar’s investment in drone-as-a-service provider Airware and Komatsu’s partnership with Skycatch. The partnerships bring immediate drone capabilities to OEM shops and access to global-sized contractor customer bases as small drone companies look to scale hardware and service offerings beyond the startup phase.
Worth watching is which alliances might turn into full-scale acquisitions, as well as how effectively partners can become in integrating machine-to-machine data analysis and job site workflow optimization. To that end, DaaS provider Identified Technologies debuted at ConExpo Truck IQ, a sensor-based system to connect drone imagery with earth moving equipment telematics for an optimized look at machine performance and workflows for aggregate materials in motion.
If nothing else, the Caterpillar/Deere/Komatsu stamp of approval on drone tech for construction certainly indicates that the UAVs have arrived, and they are here to stay.