DroneDeploy announces it has acquired Rocos, a New Zealand-based robotics software company. The acquisition will enable DroneDeploy customers in construction, energy, agriculture, and more to deploy and orchestrate both aerial and ground robots on their job sites. This acquisition will make physical workflow automation possible, creating more efficient and safer workplaces.
“Companies are undergoing a digital transformation accelerated by challenges surrounding labor shortages and COVID-driven remote operations. As a result, the market demand for automatic site documentation and digital twins has soared,” said Mike Winn, CEO and co-founder of DroneDeploy. “With the Rocos acquisition, we are enabling our customers to automate ground-level data capture, moving several steps closer to a complete automation solution.”
DroneDeploy is already the market share leader in drone software, powering the world’s largest companies to capture an instant understanding of their assets and operations through aerial imagery. Now, with the extension to on-the-ground robots, workers will soon be able to establish automated routines within the platform from both the air and the ground. For example, a solar technician could program a drone to fly over a solar power plant, identify thermal hotspots, and automatically activate ground robots to walk under the hotspot to identify the exact problem – no human intervention needed. This process will save time, resources and human labor, freeing workers to focus on other tasks.
“A few years ago, drones made the leap from hobbyist toys to enterprise tools. Now, ground robotics is on a similar trajectory,” said David Inggs, former CEO and co-founder of Rocos, now DroneDeploy’s Head of Ground Robotics. “With the addition of Rocos’ ground robotics technology, DroneDeploy can now automate critical data workflows across both air and ground use cases, enabling greater safety and efficiency for the whole worksite.”
DroneDeploy has already begun integrating Rocos’ robotic control with its indoor data processing technology to deliver autonomous 360 Walkthrough and inspection at scale. The company will launch the new offerings at its annual DroneDeploy Conference this October.
The acquisition follows DroneDeploy’s recent $50M Series E funding round and continued growth, as enterprise drone data collection operations increased 95% in Q2 2021. To learn more, get updates on DroneDeploy’s ground robotics news or register for the annual conference.
Rocos was a featured recipient of the RBR50 2021 award. The analysis behind the RBR50 award included the following statement:
“Rocos is bridging the gap between robot manufacturers and enterprise robotic users to enable the unified management of heterogeneous fleets of robots. Across all industries, enterprises are deploying any number of autonomous mobile robots from a variety of manufacturers. Imagine a retail store with a floor cleaning robot, an inventory robot and a security robot, all from different manufacturers. Each vendor supplies its own proprietary management tool optimized for its specific solution. Robot users currently have to control each unit with its own specific app. ”
While DroneDeploy has built a strong solution around control of aerial-based drones and aerial-robotics, the combination of DroneDeploy plus Rocos will be a powerful platform for the mission workflow planning in the construction and facilities inspection market. It will take a while to combine the two companies solutions, however, there is a strong set of intellectual property on both sides, and Rocos brings in a team of experienced AI and machine learning engineers. It’s likely that this acquisition was more about acquiring the talent and engineering team of Rocos, rather than just the existing product feature set.