Sensor positioning developer buys major drone service provide

By Luke Geiver | April 28, 2016

Aerial MOB LLC, an unmanned aircraft systems service provider and aerial cinematography firm that has worked on Super Bowl ads and major auto manufacturer production shoots, must have caught the attention of 5D Robotics Inc. The California-based technology developer that has created a wide band radio system used for accurate positioning, navigation and obstacle avoidance, has acquired the industrial assets and intellectual property of Aerial MOB. 

5D already serves other non-aviation clients, including industrial equipment suppliers, military, transport entities and now through the Aerial MOB acquisition, it will add an aerial services division. 

5D’s technology is an upgrade to common GPS systems. The company has developed a positioning module that can be placed on a vehicle and around the vehicles future path. Once placed, the modules can provide guidance and obstacle avoidance capabilities to the module-enhanced envirioment through vegetation, walls, dust, fog and rain. Another use case combines the modules with common GPS. When combined with GPS, the 5D modules enhance the accuracy of the GPS-led system, making autonomous vehicle movement and routing possible. 

By combining the precise positioning technology with small unmanned aircraft vehicles, the new division will target the 3D mapping, photogrammetry, oil and gas, utilities and construction industries. The company is also working on autonomous mobility for heavy equipment, connected vehicles, drone follow and mobility on demand transportation. 

“Our precise position and navigation technology coupled with Aerial MOB’s unmanned aircraft solutions will further drive adoption of 5D sensors. This will provide aerial systems with unmatched reliability, preventing flyaways and enabling precise landing and accurate data collection,” said David Bruemmer, CEO and founder of the company. 5D’s sensor system can move vehicles and position UAVs within a 2 cm range of a desired path. 

Aerial MOB was one of the original six UAS entities that was granted a 333 exemption by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly UAVs for commercial purposes. At the time of the exemption, the FAA granted the six aerial cinematographers the ability to fly commercially only on closed sets. 

Treggon Owens, the systems engineering lead for Aerial MOB, will join 5D Robotics as chief innovation officer. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. 

The 5D Robotics team formed while working at the Idaho National Laboratory. Earlier this year they received $5.5 million in capital funding from private investors.