DroneDeploy snaps up NZ robotics company

1 September 2021

US-based enterprise drone data company DroneDeploy has acquired Rocos, a New Zealand-based robotics software company, in a move that will allow its customers in construction, energy and agriculture to deploy both aerial and ground robots on job sites.

The San Francisco company creates software for to allow users to operate drones with mobile apps. The deal with Rocos will allow it to establish automated routines within the platform for both the air and the ground.

For example, a solar technician could program a drone to fly over a solar power plant, identify thermal hotspots, and automatically activate ground robots to “walk” under the hotspot to identify the exact problem — no human intervention needed. This process will save time, resources and human labor, freeing workers to focus on other tasks.

“Companies are undergoing a digital transformation accelerated by challenges surrounding labor shortages and Covid-driven remote operations. As a result, the market demand for automatic site documentation … has soared,” CEO Mike Winn said in a statement. “With the Rocos acquisition, we are enabling our customers to automate ground-level data capture, moving several steps closer to a complete automation solution.”

Since Winn founded the company in 2013, he has raised a total of US$142 million and grown the company to 140 employees, about half of whom are in California. DroneDeploy has already begun integrating Rocos’ robotic control with its indoor data processing technology to deliver autonomous 360 Walkthrough and inspection at scale.

“A few years ago, drones made the leap from hobbyist toys to enterprise tools. Now, ground robotics is on a similar trajectory,” David Inggs, former CEO and co-founder of Rocos, now DroneDeploy’s head of ground robotics, said in a statement.

Source: Bizjournals, Rocos