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Manawatu aviation firm granted $30k under pilot programme

Hawkeye UAV Limited, a Palmerston North aviation company, has been awarded $30,000 as the first successful applicant in a new government programme dedicated to the Manawatu.
Hawkeye Systems Engineer Michael Long

Hawkeye Systems Engineer Michael Long

A Palmerston North aviation company has been awarded $30,000 in funding from a new government programme dedicated to the Manawatu.

The grant provides Hawkeye UAV Limited, a provider of unmanned aircraft (UAV) used in aerial survey and reconnaissance, with half of what it needs to finish developing an ultra‐lightweight, remotely controlled aircraft to be used for collecting information on land formation. This would then be used to produce 3D terrain data for GIS analysis, a process known as photogrammetry.

"This funding will allow us to finalise the designs on a product that significantly improves upon existing overseas offerings," says Roland Harrison, a qualified GIS practitioner and private pilot who co‐founded the company with David Pemberton in 2009.

"In addition to the interest that has been demonstrated by potential UAV buyers, the MSI funding affirms our conviction that Hawkeye is poised to offer the market significant access to land information previously out of budget reach to most users."

The Ministry of Science and Innovation is working in tandem with Palmerston North‐based innovation centre Bio Commerce Centre and Vision Manawatu to develop relationships with SMEs with export potential. As the first successful applicant, Hawkeye is one of the first companies in the region to participate in the new programme.

"Hawkeye has found innovative solutions to problems that have troubled users of unmanned aircraft for years," says Martin Goodyer, BCC commercialisation manager. "It was easy to identify them as a candidate for the MSI's programme."

A number of European governments and Canadian companies in mountainous areas which have posed problems for  previous unmanned vehicles have also expressed interest in using Hawkeye's UAV.