AeroVironment announces new Joint Venture
AeroVironment and Japan’s SoftBank Corp have formed a joint venture to develop solar-powered high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAS for commercial operations.
Called HAPSMobile, the joint venture is funded and owned 95 percent by SoftBank and five percent by AeroVironment.
The HALE – sometimes referred to as high-altitude pseudo-satellites (HAPS) - UAS category has significant potential to deliver remote sensing and last mile, next generation Internet of Things connectivity to organisations worldwide.
Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment chief executive officer, said: ‘We were searching for the right strategic partner to pursue this very large global opportunity with us.
‘Now we believe we are extremely well-positioned to build on the decades of successful development we have performed to translate our solar UAS innovations into long-term value through HAPSMobile, Inc. Our entire team is excited, and we look forward to transforming this strategic growth opportunity into reality.’
AeroVironment has developed a number of solar-powered HALE prototypes throughout its history, including Helios, Pathfinder Plus and Global Observer.
SoftBank and AeroVironment have agreed to license certain background intellectual properties to HAPSMobile, which will own the newly developed UAS intellectual property and possess exclusive rights for commercial applications globally, and non-commercial applications in Japan. AeroVironment will possess exclusive rights to the resulting intellectual property for certain non-commercial applications, except in Japan. AeroVironment will also possess exclusive rights to design and manufacture all such aircraft in the future for HAPSMobile, subject to the terms of the Joint Venture Agreement.
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