John Deere has forged a strategic alliance with Menlo Park, Calif.-based Kespry, which provides a fully automated drone system that takes off, flies a designated path and lands – all without operator intervention.
Under the new global partnership, which will start in North America, John Deere Construction & Forestry dealers will provide the industrial Kespry Drone 2s platform to customers on job sites.
The Kespry Drone 2s flies autonomously and uses sensors to avoid obstacles. To help customers operating in congested areas, it also includes an on-board LiDAR sensor that automatically detects and avoids obstacles such as trees, cranes and buildings.
The post-processed data, accessible from anywhere in the world via a Web interface, allows customers to access real-time 3D renderings and volumetric analysis. The information can then be exported from the Kespry cloud to a number of common modeling packages, including AGTEK Earthwork 4D, another John Deere-endorsed solution to perform operations such as creating 3D model overlays or cutting/filling maps.
In turn, John Deere customers can create a mission with the touch of a finger and then capture, analyze and share survey-grade data and insights, the companies explain.
“The data gathered from the Kespry system will help our customers and equipment operators make decisions that reduce costs and improve productivity as they optimize the job site and spend less time on jobs,” states Andrew Kahler, product marketing manager for John Deere WorkSight.
Under the agreement, Kespry will also work with John Deere dealers to train and certify them in the use of the drone platform.
“Our relationship with John Deere will accelerate the adoption of drone solutions in industrial markets and will rapidly change how business is done in construction, road building and other industrial sectors,” says George Mathew, chairman and CEO of Kespry. “These advanced aerial intelligence systems are already changing the face of work in industrial markets as surveyors and contractors are able to retool their skill sets for this increasingly connected world.”
John Deere says it chose Kespry based on its interoperability with John Deere WorkSight technologies and ease of use for customers.
This isn’t the first unmanned aircraft systems venture for the Fortune 500 U.S. manufacturer, which has been in business since 1837. Most recently, it announced integrations with drone software and hardware companies Sentera and Agribotix. Back in 2014, the company also announced a drone distribution partnership in Ohio.