Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB) announced today that it has acquired privately-held Gatewing of Gent, Belgium, a provider of lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for photogrammetry and rapid terrain mapping applications. The acquisition broadens Trimble's industry-leading platforms for surveying solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
UAVs in combination with photogrammetry are an emerging technology providing an innovative platform for flexible aerial imagery acquisition. Easy to use and flexible, UAVs provide users the ability to create orthophotos and Digital Surface Models (DSM) from aerial imagery for mid-sized areas previously only accessible at higher costs and with longer planning cycles. UAVs are used in a variety of applications including preliminary surveys for corridors and rights-of-way, volumetric surveys, high-level topographic surveys, land fill inspection, and much more.
Gatewing’s solutions include the X100 UAV and Stretchout desktop software for digital image processing and analysis. The X100 is an ultra-light, 2 kg (approximately 4.4 lbs) class UAV that allows fast and simple image acquisition. It consists of an airframe; an integrated GPS, inertial system and a radio; a 10 megapixel camera; and battery. Using the Trimble® Yuma® tablet computer, a predefined area is planned and the flight of the UAV is fully automated from launch to landing. The terrain is mapped through parallel flight paths and consecutive, overlapping camera shots during flight. The ground control station (GCS) is used to monitor the mission and allows an on-site image quality check. In addition, the GCS provides the operator with the option to intervene and abort the flight if needed. The image set consists of a number of digital images that are tagged with the GPS coordinates.
Designed to be intuitive and easy to use, Gatewing's Stretchout desktop software uses advanced computer vision technology which automates raw image processing to deliver georeferenced orthophotos and accurate DSM. As an alternative to the desktop software, users can upload images to Gatewing's cloud solution, which automatically processes the images based on the users’ requirements. After a few hours, users can download their georeferenced orthophotos and DSMs from the cloud server including feedback about the results for quality assurance.
“The combination of UAVs and low-altitude photogrammetry as an image collection platform opens up new opportunities for surveyors to use aerial imagery for the rapid acquisition of high-density geospatial data,” said Anders Rhodin, director of Trimble’s Survey Business. “We are excited to add Gatewing’s unique aerial mapping system to Trimble’s portfolio of survey solutions.”
“The Gatewing team is excited about the new ownership,” said Maarten Vandenbroucke, CEO and one of three founders of Gatewing. ”For Trimble to see the value in unmanned aerial systems for surveying and mapping applications means that the industry is truly ready for this exciting new technology. We are enthusiastic about how UAVs can revolutionize the landscape and open a complete new spectrum in remote sensing applications. I believe that being a part of Trimble will accelerate the pace in which UAVs will further be adopted by professionals.”
The Gatewing business will be reported as part of Trimble’s Engineering and Construction segment.
Founded in 2008, Gatewing designs and provides one of the world's fastest and easiest to use remote sensing solutions for the surveying and mapping industry. Based on its revolutionary X100 lightweight unmanned aircraft, Gatewing has built a solution for rapid terrain mapping that consists of image acquisition field operation and fully digital and automated image processing. By making this technology highly accessible in terms of price and ease of use, Gatewing’s goal is to revolutionize the surveying and mapping industry.
For more information, visit: www.gatewing.com.
Trimble applies technology to make field and mobile workers in businesses and government significantly more productive. Solutions are focused on applications requiring position or location—including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping. In addition to utilizing positioning technologies, such as GPS, lasers and optics, Trimble solutions may include software content specific to the needs of the user. Wireless technologies are utilized to deliver the solution to the user and to ensure a tight coupling of the field and the back office. Founded in 1978, Trimble is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.
For more information, visit Trimble’s Web site at www.trimble.com.
Certain statements made in this press release are forward looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual events and results may differ materially from those described in this news release. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to: whether the emerging technology of UAVs combined with photogrammetry will be adopted by the survey market; regulations that may impact the ability to use UAVs in particular countries; and Trimble’s ability to develop and expand Gatewing solutions. Additional risks and uncertainties include: the risks inherent in integrating an acquisition; unanticipated expenditures, charges or assumed liabilities that may result from the acquisition; and retaining key personnel and commercial relationships. Information about potential factors which could affect Trimble's business and financial results is set forth in reports filed with the SEC, including Trimble's quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and its annual report on Form 10-K. All forward looking statements are based on information available to Trimble as of the date hereof, and Trimble assumes no obligation to update such statements.