Boeing buys another unmanned enterprise

Today’s big industry news sees Boeing expand its autonomous portfolio with the announcement that it is to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences.

Alongside Aurora, Boeing also added Liquid Robotics to its unmanned portfolio in December 2016. Liquid Robotics told me that it had been working more closely with Boeing’s other unmanned subsidiary, Insitu, on teaming unmanned sea and air assets together.

The acquisition of smaller outfits by large defence and aerospace companies has long been a trend in unmanned markets across the land, sea and air domains. Notably in 2016 General Dynamics Mission Systems acquired Bluefin Robotics and back in 2012 Lockheed Martin bought Procerus Technologies and now markets the Indago UAS.

With the unmanned marketplace containing many smaller companies, a visit to this year’s Xponential highlighted this, we are likely to see this type of consolidation continue.

The Boeing and Aurora teams have already worked together on various unmanned projects. Aurora has designed, produced and flown more than 30 unmanned air vehicles since the company was founded in 1989.

We spoke with Aurora earlier this year about one of its projects which it is developing with DARPA, the XV-24A UAS.

Watch this space because there is sure to be more to come.

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