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AgEagle’s latest focus is on tailoring products for defense, public safety industries: CEO

In a conversation with AlphaStreet, AgEagle’s chief executive officer Bill Irby talks about the company’s operations and future plans

AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: UAVS) is a leading provider of drone solutions mainly for customers in the energy, construction, and agriculture industries globally. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, the company delivers high-performance flight hardware, sensors, and software through its three centers of excellence. In an interview with AlphaStreet, Bill Irby, chief executive officer of AgEagle, provided insights into the various aspects of the business.

Can you talk about your recent business deals, such as the order from a UAE distributor?

AgEagle has had several sales in recent months that serve as an important proof-of-concept for our business focus as our largest sales to date.

With a strategic pivot to support allied defense and security in addition to our historical customer sets like agriculture and environmental monitoring, our sales to a UAE distributor and the French Army are the result of a two-and-a-half-year development effort, where we worked directly with several end-user customers to develop and adapt our systems for best-use in scenarios of most interest to them. This has been an important and strategic shift for AgEagle and we’re looking forward to showcasing what our solutions can do for these customers.

Beyond the sectors that currently use AgEagle’s products, are there any new areas where you see the company’s drone technology playing a role?

AgEagle has clients across a number of industries, growing from our beginnings in agriculture to include areas like infrastructure inspection, environmental monitoring, and oil/gas pipeline monitoring. Our most recent focus has been tailoring our products to the defense and public safety industries to help with security monitoring, law enforcement support, and military operations, among others, but we don’t expect to stop there. We are focused on providing accurate and reliable situational awareness and feel that any company across virtually any industry that is looking to take to the air to learn more about their situation can be helped by our solutions and technology.

Can you shed light on the regulatory framework for UAVs, and how the company navigates the complex regulatory landscape?

The regulatory landscape for drones continues to evolve rapidly. Following the December 2023 passage of the American Security Drone Act (ASDA), the federal government can no longer purchase drones from China and other countries that are deemed a security threat. The Defense Innovation Unit is creating approval processes for pre-approved “blue UAS” systems that can be purchased by the Department of Defense, while the FAA is implementing nationwide policy changes.

In addition to federal policies and directives, state-level drone regulations are constantly shifting based on the latest legislation, which is impacting how organizations within their borders utilize drones. Industry groups are also playing a role. For example, the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) advocates for policies that promote safe drone use and industry growth and we closely monitor these developments to ensure our user-friendly, fixed-wing solutions remain compliant with both federal and state regulations.

What is AgEagle’s long-term goal; how do you see the company evolving in the next 5-10 years?

We expect a surge in adoption by local governments and businesses over the next five years. To date, commercial drones and commercial drone technology have mostly been targeted at large corporations and governments. We expect those verticals to remain a considerable part of the industry but as drone technology becomes more accessible and affordable, such as AgEagle’s eBee X fixed-wing solution, it will no longer be limited to their use. This will empower a wider range of customers to leverage the power of aerial solutions for tasks that can be streamlined with drone technology. We are excited about the industry’s future with these new customers and believe our solutions are ideally suited to meet that growing demand for aerial situational awareness.

What gives AgEagle an edge over competitors, and what is your strategy to stay ahead of others in terms of technology and innovation?

Our fixed-wing solutions matched with our high-precision sensors and smart, easy-to-use ground control software allow for solutions delivering valuable and accurate information to those on the ground. We believe our solutions provide critical situational awareness while being precision-designed, user-friendly, portable, and adaptable. As far as technology and innovation are concerned, we continue to work with our team and others to improve and innovate our solutions, as well as test and improve on solutions that we believe will be the next frontier in drone technology. Our recent strategic shift into the defense and public safety space has given a unique look into the needs and wants of that particular industry and we’re eager to continue to optimize our solutions to meet their needs.

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