Terra Drone, a leading global commercial drone technology company, has acquired a significant stake in Inkonova AB, a Swedish startup developing aerial robotics for underground mining.
The deal, comprised of a cash injection, will see changes to the management team, as well as technical, business development, and operational collaborations, Inkonova said.
Terra Drone’s UAV inspection, survey, and other service provisions cover various industries globally including mining, which just happens to be Inkonova’s main market.
Ahmed AlNomany, Inkonova AB Co-Founder and CEO, said: “Terra Drone’s global network of clients, post-processing domain, service-based business model, customer experience, technical personnel, and human and financial resources, will help us dramatically ramp up our business development and commercial-readiness efforts, taking our technology to the next level.”
Under the deal, Inkonova will supply Terra Drone with its UAV core technology, including anti-dust and waterproof platforms (as in the TILT Ranger, pictured) and infrastructure-denied autonomous navigation (as in the Batonomous technology), while Terra Drone – apart from providing finance – will employ its global clients, local offices, pilots, post-processing capacity, and broader commercial and technical domain expertise.
Toru Tokushige, Founder and CEO of Terra Motors Corp and Terra Drone Corp, who will be appointed as an Inkonova board member, said the company had been looking to partner with other companies in the mining field in order to expand.
“Underground mining still has huge issues. According to the statistics from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the number of lost-time injuries in 2015 was 4,517 in America, and those of other developing counties were incomparably high.
“So, I hope the cooperation between Terra Drone, with its broad network and innovative technologies, and Inkonova, the eminent company for mining drone services, contributes to the rapid and further technical improvements for underground safety and productivity.”
In line with the partnership, Inkonova’s products will undergo rebranding to streamline with Terra Drone products, details of which will be announced later this month.
Inkonova’s products include aerial platforms, and aerial autonomous navigation/mapping solutions customised to the constraints of underground mines, and subterranean or constricted industrial spaces.
Earlier this year, Inkonova demoed the Batonomous navigation system for its TILT Ranger and TILT Scout underground drones in Gällivare with LKAB. It has since also worked with Barrick Gold on the Golden Sunlight mine in Nevada.