Back to news

February 19, 2019 | International, C4ISR

FLIR set to add Endeavor Robotics to its unmanned future

By:

A camera is never just a camera anymore. For FLIR — the company whose bread and butter may be lenses and images but whose product is best thought of as an intelligence add-on more than any pedestrian photography — was never just about the camera.

FLIR's cameras and sensors have been incorporated into vehicles for decades, a platform on platforms. But in the past two years, FLIR has moved to acquire robotics companies of its own. A new deal, announced Feb. 11, 2019, is set to have FLIR acquire Endeavor Robotics.

In November 2016, FLIR acquired Prox Dynamics, maker of the sparrow-sized Black Hornet micro-drone. It was FLIR's first foray into its own unmanned vehicles. In January 2019, FLIR acquired drone-maker Aeryon Labs, which produces vehicles that weigh less than 20 pounds for a number of militaries across the globe.

“Now with Endeavor, we've started down that path of executing our inorganic phase of our growth strategy for unmanned,” said David Ray, president of the Government and Defense Business Unit at FLIR. “What that does is it allows us to have a platform to move the customer's vision forward for this whole notion of manned-unmanned teaming. It's driving an open architecture, an environment where you can have both manned vehicles and unmanned really cooperating and delivering missions like never before.”

Endeavor Robotics is the largest get by FLIR of the lot. FLIR is set to buy Endeavor for $385 million — almost twice as much as FLIR paid for Aeryon Labs, and nearly three times as much as it spent on Prox Dynamics.

With Endeavor Robotics comes a whole host of tracked unmanned ground vehicles, including the infantry-deployable (and -tossable) FirstLook, and the larger and heavier PackBot and Kobra. These robots can incorporate a variety of sensors from FLIR, for everything from video and infrared to chemical detection. Being in-house means FLIR can experiment and explore more fusion of its various platforms.

“With our Black Hornet we can have a reconnaissance system that is connected to a vehicle,” Ray said, “a tank or whatever it may be, where you could actually launch Black Hornet aircraft from another vehicle. As we enhance our sensors across both, we're able to bring that power to bear in terms of layered surveillance.”

While FLIR is still relatively new to robotics, it's used to working across sectors. FLIR sensors have been used by the military, government, law enforcement and in the security space, and have had to stay competitive with commercial companies. Lessons learned from an application in nuclear reactor security might be applicable to a sensor on an explosive ordnance disposal robot. Those updates and lessons have stayed fixed to the specific sensor. With the new robotics companies acquired by FLIR, it can adapt its vehicles and sensors in a more holistic way.

“Our latest Black Hornet III is able to operate in GPS-denied environments,” Ray said. “And so the beauty of Endeavor being part FLIR is we can go look at how we take an investment and enhancements we've made and see what it takes to go transfer that into a vehicle. The ultimate goal is being able to build world-class R&D and generate world-class capability, and then be able to expand that across multiple platforms.”

FLIR's past, present and future remain very much about the core business of providing sensors for others to incorporate. Also in that future we can anticipate FLIR adapting and designing its own vehicles around its sensors. That means looking at the way the data collected by those sensors can be turned into everything from useful navigational information for an autonomous system on the vehicle, to vital information relayed by tablet to soldiers commanding the robot nearby.

https://www.c4isrnet.com/unmanned/2019/02/15/flir-set-to-add-endeavor-robotics-to-its-unmanned-future

On the same subject

  • Augmentation du budget Défense de l’Allemagne : un challenge pour la France

    March 23, 2022 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Augmentation du budget Défense de l’Allemagne : un challenge pour la France

    L'augmentation très forte de son budget de Défense par l'Allemagne représente un challenge pour la France, qui devra répondre avec la même ambition pour conserver son « leadership » en matière de Défense en Europe, relève La Tribune. « Pour garder son rang, la France doit répondre avec la même ambition et les mêmes objectifs en disant qu'elle va augmenter son budget et qu'elle souhaite faire des coopérations. La France doit saisir la balle au bond », estime un observateur cité par le quotidien. Le Président de la République, Emmanuel Macron, a confirmé le 17 mars la trajectoire pour 2025 de l'actuelle Loi de programmation militaire, à hauteur de 50 Md€. « Nous avons lancé plusieurs projets qui devront se poursuivre de coopérations capacitaires, et la France portera la défense d'un réinvestissement dans le fonds européen de Défense au niveau européen pour pouvoir justement aller plus loin et consolider cet effort », a-t-il précisé. « Je demanderai au chef d'état-major des Armées de pouvoir réévaluer tous les besoins qui apparaissent, à la lumière de la guerre que nous sommes en train de vivre et de la mise en œuvre de la Loi de programmation militaire depuis 2019 », a-t-il également indiqué. La Tribune du 22 mars

  • D.A. Davidson closes $160M in bonds to advance next-gen aerial firefighting platforms - Skies Mag

    August 12, 2022 | International, Aerospace

    D.A. Davidson closes $160M in bonds to advance next-gen aerial firefighting platforms - Skies Mag

    The bond proceeds will assist Bridger Aerospace with the financing of two airplane hangars and the acquisition of four new SuperScooper firefighting aircraft.

  • German Navy selects Damen and Blohm + Voss for construction Multi-Purpose Combat Ship MKS180 frigates

    January 15, 2020 | International, Naval

    German Navy selects Damen and Blohm + Voss for construction Multi-Purpose Combat Ship MKS180 frigates

    January 14, 2020 - The German government has announced its intention to select Damen as the main contractor, together with partners Blohm + Voss and Thales, for supplying at least four Multi-Purpose Combat Ship MKS 180 frigates to the German Navy. The Dutch naval shipbuilder is extremely proud of, and satisfied with, the result of the evaluation process announced today by the German Government, though of course awaits parliamentary approval in Germany. The ships will be built at Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg and at other shipyard locations of the North German Lürssen Group. Damen intends to build in this way in order to spend around 80% of the total net investment as added value in Germany. The same applies to the electronic application systems that are supplied by Thales Nederland to its own design. Around 70% of the services will be provided by the German subsidiary of Thales and by other German subcontractors. With the North German shipyard group Lürssen – parent company of Blohm + Voss – and the Damen Shipyards Group, the partnership is based on two stable family businesses that have been successfully active in marine and commercial shipbuilding for more than 140 years. The only naval builder in the Netherlands is pleased with this selection to be main contractor in the German project and the division of work between German and Dutch industry. For the Netherlands, it provides national knowledge and expertise. This offers the Dutch Government the option, in the coming Dutch naval construction projects for frigates and submarines, to have these types of strategic programmes devised, engineered, managed and deployed in their own country. The MKS 180 project contributes to securing the export power and self-creation of both Dutch and German naval construction in the longer term. The project also opens perspectives for the requested European (defence equipment) cooperation. View source version on Damen: https://www.damen.com/en/news/2020/01/damen_and_blohm_voss_selected_for_construction_german_mks180_frigates

All news