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Axiata Takes Agricultural Innovation Drone Company Aerodyne Under its Wings

Aerodyne staff operating a drone for infrastructure inspection
Aerodyne staff operating a drone for infrastructure inspection | Aerodyne

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Axiata Takes Agricultural Innovation Drone Company Aerodyne Under its Wings

Aerodyne, the specialist drone solutions company that is innovating the beef and livestock industry in Australia, and with offices in 10 countries around the world, is set to receive a huge cash injection from one of Malaysia’s biggest digital innovation funds, Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF).

Aerodyne, which started out 15 years ago with a mission to address air quality with environmental measurement technologies and services, has made big steps forward in the drone industry  having completed over 24,500 flight operations all around the globe in 2017 alone. This milestone funding shows Axiata’s confidence in their technology. Although the final amount has not yet been disclosed, Axiata has so far indicated it will be in the vicinity of a double digit millions figure.

Axiata group chief corporate officer Mohamad Idham Nawawi says the investment in Aerodyne is in line with Axiata’s goal to support digital innovation.

“As one of the drivers of digitisation in Malaysia and the region, ADIF is very pleased to support Aerodyne as it wings its way to become one of the leading drone-based enterprise solutions provider on a global scale,” he said.

“Under the auspices of the ADIF with a fund size of RM100 million and 14 companies under its belt currently, Axiata is committed to spur the development of future digital entrepreneurs in Malaysia, and support them in their ambitions to grow their enterprise, expand their footprint and compete successfully in the global marketplace.

“As strong collaborators with Axiata through ADIF, Aerodyne will continue to leverage on opportunities in its journey to become a formidable player in this new digital space,” he said.

Aerodyne Drone-as-a-Service

Aerodyne already has several ventures and partnerships underway in places as diverse as Australia to the Middle East to Mexico. In Australia they have partnered with Meat & Livestock Australia to develop an automated ‘silent service’ drone solution for monitoring, assessing and controlling aspects of the red meat industry. By developing software and remote sensing technologies they plan to enable farmers to deploy autonomous drones (that can be launched without a pilot) to assist in tasks such as herd and weed location, feedbase and fence monitoring and capture/analysis of on-farm data.

In the Middle East, an agreement with Makamin Offshore Saudi (MOS), a Saudi Arablian offshore and marine services provider last year marked the beginning of their expansion into the oil-rich Gulf. In Mexico, Aerodyne has been developing methods to sample methane emissions from offshore has and oil platforms where they used their Tunable Infrared Laser Differential Absorption Spectroscopy (TILDAS) instruments as a drone payload on a DJI Matrice 600.

ADIF partner Kamarul Nizam, who led the investment into Aerodyne, is convinced drones are the way forward, saying, “Of the 14 companies that ADIF has invested in, Aerodyne is the largest single investment to-date.

“Having known of and reviewed Aerodyne since mid-last year, we are impressed by the technological prowess and scale demonstrated by the company.

“We are convinced that drones and analytics will continue to be integrated into the work flows of multiple industries. The tipping point for this to be mainstream is already at hand,” he added.

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