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FLIR Adds Drone Capabilities with $134M Acquisition

By S.L. Fuller | December 5, 2016
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The PD-100 Black Hornet drone is the first airborne and commercially available personal reconnaissance system. Photo courtesy of Prox Dynamics

The PD-100 Black Hornet drone is the first airborne and commercially available personal reconnaissance system. Photo courtesy of Prox Dynamics

For $134 million in cash, FLIR Systems Inc. is adding drones to its line of business, the company said. It acquired Prox Dynamics AS, a nano-class drone developer and manufacturer, and plans to integrate the company into its growing surveillance segment.

FLIR designs, develops, manufactures, markets and distributes thermal imaging systems, visible-light imaging systems, locator systems, measurement and diagnostic systems, and advanced threat detection systems.

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Prox Dynamics is based in Norway and has been a pioneer in nano helicopter technologies since its founding in 2007. Much like FLIR, the company produces sensing solutions via drone. Prox Dynamics’ drones are small, light and covert surveillance systems. The company also offers accessories and software, including training software.

The company’s PD-100 Black Hornet helicopter drone is a pocket-sized personal reconnaissance system (PRS) that comes with a hand control. With military application, a soldier can launch it in the field. Black Hornet uses FLIR’s Lepton micro thermal camera, visible spectrum cameras, advanced low-power rotor technology and software for flight control, stabilization and communications.

Prox Dynamics trumpets the PD-100 as the first airborne and commercially available personal reconnaissance system. It can be used in a variety of roles, including crowd control, nuclear installation inspection, and search and rescue. It has a rotor span of 120 mm and a top speed of 5 meters per second.

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