FARNBOROUGH, England, 15 July 2014. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) company Skycap launched at the Farnborough International Airshow. Skycap is full-service provider of UAS for civilian, governmental, and non-profit operations working exclusively with a team of licensed UAS operators. The company will provide a range of UAS and services to international clients across a broad range of sectors, from agriculture to humanitarian aid and conservation.
Skycap was established to meet the growing global demand for specialized UAS across non-military and socially responsible activities, officials say. The company currently has agreements to provide services and systems to organizations including the Red Cross, MPS (worldwide partner for sustainable certification for horticulture), Netherlands Inspection Service for Horticulture, University of Southern California, and NSCR (Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement); the company also is in the proof of concept phase with multiple international farming associations, mining and oil companies, filmmakers, and security organizations.
The company is showcasing three UAS models at Farnborough:
• Shadow Rotor, a long-endurance quad copter designed for filming, crime scene documentations and anti-poaching
• Shadow Ranger, a hand-launchable and easy-to-deploy fixed-wing system designed for wildlife monitoring and disaster relief
• Eco Ranger, a long endurance, rugged fixed-wing system perfect for anti-poaching operations, disaster relief, long endurance flight and heavy terrain operations
In its stand at FIA14, Skycap is presenting the first ever Drone safari, according to a spokesperson. The UAS company has created a 360-degree aerial video experience of a wildlife safari over the African plains. Visitors to the Farnborough booth can also experience a ‘drone ride’ through an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
“There is a clear need for cost-effective, full-service solutions, particularly for small-to-medium-sized organisations and enterprises, to leverage advanced technologies in order to produce better outcomes. Whether that’s incorporating thermal or spectral optics for humanitarian aid or agriculture, or HD film for incredible photography, UAVs present significant opportunities for forward-thinking companies. Precision agriculture through UAS could alone be a multibillion dollar market, as farming and horticulture require technically-advanced environmental inspection, and regulation of flight space over uninhabited areas is more permissive of UAV use,” says Steve Roest, CEO of Skycap.
Skycap was founded by Steve Roest and Laurens De Groot to meet the growing demand for highly-specialised unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) across non-military and socially responsible activities. Roest and De Groot had previously co-founded the international not-for-profit ShadowView Foundation, which became hugely successful as the world’s first UAS provider to use unmanned aircraft to help identify and assist in the interception of rhino poachers in South Africa. Skycap will extend the applications of UAS to a broad range of sectors including film, photography and media, precision agriculture, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, survey and (3D) imagery and geographic information systems (GIS), among others.
According to estimates, the global UAV market is expected to reach US $8.4 billion by 2014, and could be worth as much as US $114.7 billion by 2023. Exponential growth will be triggered not just by military use, but through new applications and an expansion to other growth sectors.
Skycap will work closely with regulatory authorities as an advisor and leading voice on safety and non-military applications for UAVs, including humanitarian aid and conservation. Both Roest and De Groot will present at the United Nations in New York in November, leading a discussion on leveraging UAVs to assist in humanitarian causes. The meeting will be co-sponsored by the ICT for Peace Foundation (ICT4Peace).
“The legislation regarding the use of unmanned aircraft is often complicated and in most cases is evolving as the regulators seek to keep pace with the rapidly-advancing technology in this sector. Skycap fully supports robust legislation that will safely manage the use of UAV across all markets and is actively involved in preparing flight operations and procedures that exceed the current safety and operational standards,” Roest adds.
Skycap currently has a number of new models in the development phase. These include rugged and weather-resistant versions of its multi-rotor systems and an ultra-long endurance solar-powered version of Shadow Ranger. Skycap plans to commence flight tests of these models in late 2014. More than 30 Skycap aircraft have been deployed as of July 2014.
Skycap will be operated as a separate entity to ShadowView Foundation, while at the same time adhering to the foundation’s ethical codes of conduct with regards to the use of UAVs. Skycap will not provide the military with UAS or related technology or weaponise its UAVs. The company will always be transparent about its ethical policy and ensure its behaviour is socially responsible. The company will always fly within current safety and flight regulations of the markets in which it operates.
Founded in 2014 with offices in the UK, Netherlands, and Malta, Skycap provides a full range of small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and services to international clients across a variety of sectors from agriculture to humanitarian aid and conservation. The company was founded to meet the growing global demand for highly-specialised UAS across non-military and socially responsible activities.
Skycap is located at stand 3/D18F, inside the intelligent system zone, close to MOD delegation lounge.