We began as an Australian based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations company in 2012. At the time the technology was only just emerging in the industrial landscape, the technology was inefficient, difficult to use and the regulatory landscape made entering the market incredibly difficult. Nick Smith, one of our founders purchased a DJI s800.
As a newly formed company, Airsight conducted a wide range of operations from real estate photos, to the filming of documentaries in exotic regions, to the surveying of railway corridors and mines.
A sample of some of Airsight’s early cinematography work
As the technology progressed our team grew and the focus of Airsight began to centre on ways that we could make people safer in dangerous environments whilst improving the quality of data that could be gained. By 2015, our team employed several surveyors and we developed our own technique for creating quality point clouds and orthomosaic images using UAV’s. The skillset saw us specialise in surveying railway corridors, high voltage powerlines, and mines as well as plenty of other unique trials and tests of the technology.
Airsight trialled many different uses for photogrammetry using UAV’s.
Whilst photogrammetry provided a highly accurate dataset and the use of UAV’s often eliminated the need to have humans in dangerous environments, such as railway corridors, to conduct the work, photogrammetry continued to cause problems when vegetation was present. There was simply no viable way for us to get viable and accurate data from the ground when there were trees, shrubs and grass.
We knew we needed to adopt LiDAR technology to resolve this issue. After researching all available UAV LiDAR units on the market we found that the available technology was:
- Too expensive
- Too inaccurate
- No robust enough to withstand daily use
- Too complex and time-consuming to use efficiently
Another of our founders, Aaron Hoye was tasked with the development of our own UAV LiDAR unit that would quickly produce an accurate point cloud. The unit needed to withstand harsh Australian conditions as well as daily use.
In late 2016 we sold our first unit to the Australian Department of Environment. The unit is based in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia is still in regular use today. Whilst sales were strong in Australia the rest of the world hadn’t heard about our technology.
In April 2019 we launched the NextCore RN50, a lighter, easier to use and less expensive unit. The NextCore unit began demonstration flights overseas where is was picked up by distributors in Japan, New Zealand, Finland and the United Kingdom.
In November 2019 the Airsight Group was acquired by Maestrano a UK based technology company. The three original founders remain in executive positions and the company continues to expand its operations and product offerings.