Drone and unmanned aircraft systems maker Aeryon Labs Inc. held an open house this afternoon to show off its new 7,000-square-foot $3 million test facility, the Aeryon Reliability Lab, or as they affectionately call it, Hangar 18.
Aeryon claims that the new lab is unique, not only within the already high-tech Kitchener-Waterloo ecosystem, but also within the UAV industry, in that the company can now test for climate conditions ranging from arctic to desert, design their systems to fly in rain and withstand salt water, and stress test each system for vibration with accelerated force while it continues to stream video data, all within a single chamber.
Founded in 2007, Aeryon Labs’ UAVs are used by customers in 35 countries, including police agencies, fire departments and military organizations.
Aeryon has also recently landed contracts with various police forces, including the Surrey and Sussex Police in England, which are using the drones to help with collision investigation reconstruction, neighborhood response, command search and operations planning at Gatwick airport.
Aeryon’s Scout and SkyRanger unmanned aerial systems have been used recently by international relief organizations in the April 2015 Kathmandu earthquake and for December 2014’s Typhoon Hagupit disaster response in the Philippines, as well as for the relief operation in coastal Ecuador following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in April, led by Canadian emergency relief organization GlobalMedic.
Aeryon Labs currently has 163 employees at its Waterloo campus, and ranked 24th on the 2016 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list, as well as 214th in the North American Technology Fast 500 ranking.
“To be recognized a third consecutive year as a Deloitte Technology Fast 50 company, is truly an honour,” said Aeryon president and CEO Dave Kroetsch. “This acknowledgement validates Aeryon’s lead in the rapidly growing sUAS market, as well as the team’s growth and continued dedication to the success of our customers.”
Last month, Kroetsch won the 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Technology Award for the Ontario region for being an industry leader in the design and production of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS).
Kroetsch has indicated in the past that Aeryon is open to exploring the sale or the IPO of the company potentially in the next couple of years.
In October last year, Aeryon Labs attracted a $60 million investment from Boston’s Summit Partners, the company’s first significant round of funding.
Previous to that fundraising announcement, Aeryon asserted that the company had grown its sales 100% year-over-year.
The new Reliability Lab is located at Aeryon Labs Headquarters, at 575 Kumpf Drive in Waterloo.