The chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based unmanned aircraft company Aerotronic believes the company’s location gives it a "leg up" on competitors. Neerav Shah says the first "Dauntless" drone has been shipped to a company in Alaska. He sees potential in the possibility of his technology being used for applications beyond line-of-site, which is currently prohibited by federal regulations without a waiver.
Shah says the state, which features strengths in industries like manufacturing and aerospace, has given the company a lot of support. "We’re really seeing a lot of growth and a lot of expertise in Indianapolis that we can utilize to help us launch the company," Shah says.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Shah says the eight-foot-long, $65,000 drone can serve a variety of industries, including oil and gas customers. "The DOD (Department of Transportation) and their primes will be another big customer," Shah says. "We’re looking at mapping applications, first responder, transportation, energy transmission (customers), so essentially, a lot of the economy will be touched by this new technology and this growth in drones."
The current technology can run for an hour and carry a 22-pound payload. Its top speed is 37 miles-per-hour and Shah says a gas engine and on-board computer could add range and additional capabilities to the drone. Aerotronic currently employs 10 and is anticipating growth. He says the drones are manufactured in Indiana and the company works with Hoosier suppliers.