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'At The Forefront Of A Revolution': A Chat With Drone Maker Wingtra

In 2014, Wingtra was founded as a professional drone manufacturer for the mapping and surveying industries.
Its drone technology integrates the benefits of fixed-wing flight with the convenience of vertically controlled landings and takeoffs.
Justina Kostinaite, the drone maker's head of marketing, spoke with Benzinga about Wingtra's VTOL — vertical take-off and landing — project. 

The Technology

The VTOL drone “lands and takes off vertically as a multirotor and flies in the air as a fixed-wing aircraft, which is really efficient," Kostinaite said.
As a result of the unique design, the drone can carry a heavier payload, allowing for the use of best-in-class cameras, she said. 
Operators can “generate maps and 3D models with 1 cm accuracy, which, in the surveying world, means if you map eight football fields, you can ... calculate the exact coordinates of a [fallen] coin down to 1 centimeter.”
Wingtra counts 3DR and Sony Corp SNE 0.46% among its partners; the companies assist in gathering and processing aerial data. 

Who's It For? 

Wingtra places an emphasis on worksite planning.
"Our main audience is actually the surveying, mining and construction industries,” Kostinaite said.
In one example of a use case, the Idaho Forest Group, a lumber producer, leverages VTOL drone technology to “map hundreds of acres of forest and stockpiles of wood” for six northwestern mills, the spokeswoman said. 

Regulations And Worker Safety

“Regulations, all around the world, are super hectic now,” Kostinaite said. 
They represent a bottleneck for the drone business, she said. 
"India is currently a country we cannot enter, [as well as] Brazil."
The countries are huge untapped markets, Kostinaite said. 
Wingtra does not face the same privacy regulation issues as the consumer drone market, as the drones are flown in more secluded areas, she said.
Kostinaite said she views the company's technology as a safety asset. 
"Let's say you have the biggest mine of uranium in Africa and you have to survey this mine, which takes three people two weeks," she said.
"You can slide, you can fall and then at the end you can measure wrong.”
With a Wingtra drone, worker safety can be maintained while gathering data faster, she said.

Going Forward

The industry is an exciting one, Kostinaite said. 
"If you’re not afraid and you kind of lose the skepticism about tech and drones, it just makes everything move further, makes people's work easier, makes it more efficient, and safer.”
Wingtra is working on improving the VTOL drone technology, and it will perform work that makes jobs dangerous, she said. 
"We are at the forefront of a revolution."
This was originally published on More of our Related Stories:
Photo courtesy of Wingtra.


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