"When you fly a drone, whether you're doing it for fun, for racing or for commercial applications, the most accurate way is using video goggles," Red Cat's CEO Jeff Thompson told Streetwise Reports. "When you're using video goggles, you see what the drone sees from a little camera in the drone that transmits down to the goggles. You can drive the drone based on what you see through the goggles; it gives you a really accurate representation of where you are. It actually makes flying easier."
The alternative is flying by line of sight, piloting the drone by watching it in the sky. "Line of sight is really difficult to do because drones are pretty small once they get about 100 feet away; it can be difficult to tell front from back and left from right. It's also much harder to have spatial awareness, for instance seeing where you are relative to a tree," Thompson explained.
Fat Shark has about an 80% share of the drone video goggle market, much larger than the share of the largest drone manufacturer in the world, China's DJI. "It doesn't matter if you're doing racing, high speed racing, are a professional drone racer, or flying drones freestyle or for fun by the casual user, as more drone applications become commercialized, these goggles become more important and actually serve a much larger market," Thompson said. "Fat Shark has great engineers, some of the best engineers in the world; they've built a great company."
Dr. Allan Evans is the CEO of Fat Shark, and Greg French is the founder and CTO. Thompson notes that they have years of experience with thousands of racing and other pilots using their technology and offering them feedback. "I would say half of this acquisition is because it is the best goggle technology in the world. And the second half of this acquisition is because Allan and Greg are probably two out of the top 10 goggle/virtual reality experts in the world who are not at Facebook. So, this is a great brain game with some really smart, really great business people. Allan's a PhD in engineering, and Greg's an incredible product developer; having them on our team is a great asset for Red Cat," Thompson said.
Thompson also highlighted that Fat Shark goggles are making the transition from an analog to a digital platform. "A majority of the goggles out in the world right now are analog, and most Fat Shark goggles are analog. We believe that once we finish the digital platform with Fat Shark, the people who have analog goggles will do a huge refresh; it could be one of Fat Shark's best years ever as a company because it is a transformational technology shift," Thompson said.
Red Cat owns Rotor Riot, an education, training and sales platform of drone products that has 204,000 subscribers. "These are some of the best pilots in the world who can give us feedback for our products," Thompson explained.
The firm also has developed DroneBox, a secure system of tracking, reporting and reviewing "blackbox" flight data that will assist drone operators comply with regulatory and insurance requirements.
Thompson stressed that Red Cat isn't just acquiring drone technologies. "We are buying technology that we think will sync up with our bigger game plan of our software as a service (SaaS) for the commercial and enterprise space," Thompson explained. "An example is Ring doorbell; the company sells great, subsidized hardware that enables its software subscription business model."[NLINSERT]
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