David Batista, Aquabotix CEO

Aquabotix turns out solid quarter of underwater drone sales

Underwater drone specialist Aquabotix has reported a 22% surge in cash receipts to $226,754 for the December quarter as the ASX listed company looks to turbo-charge sales of its underwater drones in 2018 by expanding its distribution network to all four corners of the globe.

The Sydney and Massachusetts based underwater robotics company said in a market update that the $226,754 in cash receipts for the final quarter of 2017 was up from $187,239 in the September quarter and just $35,592 from the corresponding period one year earlier.

The company has been buoyed by what it described as a “transformational” 2017 as it stepped up from being a tightly-held private business to a publicly-listed leader in the rapidly developing underwater drone business.

In November, Aquabotix appointed David Batista as its new CEO. The company added 10 new distributors to its global network in the last quarter alone as it looks to establish a base for substantial sales targets moving forward.

Mr Batista said, “The underwater drone market is up for grabs in a number of industry verticals – military, security and law enforcement, energy, aquaculture, marine construction and maintenance, recreational and others.”

New distributors recently appointed include Deekay Marine Services in India, Sadaret in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Seafloor Systems for California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, A2 Marine Solutions in Brazil, W.S. Darley & Co in the USA, SBS Teknikk, a key supplier of ROV’s to global seafood giant Marine Harvest, in Scandinavia, Atlantic Romor in Canada, Aquatech Services for Australia and New Zealand and Hydro Systems Development in Japan.

Aquabotix said it had shipped products to customers operating in a range of industries including the Korean Institute of Geo-science and Mineral Resources, Australian water hygiene services company

The company recently introduced its potentially ground breaking second-generation hybrid underwater vehicle, the Integra AUV/ROV. The single-person deployable, portable and battery-powered underwater drone gives users the ability to directly control it via a tethering cable or set it to operate in a particular area autonomously without the tethering cable.

Mr Batistasaid said, “Because this vehicle has the brain power to conduct autonomous missions as well as detailed inspections in a single setting, operators have immediate and complete control. The introduction of the Integra AUV/ROV is the next step in the evolution of underwater vehicles and illustrates how Aquabotix continues to successfully meet the demands of underwater exploration and inspection.”

During the December quarter Aquabotix also unveiled its revolutionary Live Remote Control, a new product feature that allows users to pilot underwater vehicles and cameras from web browser-based devices, notably computers, phones and iPads, from anywhere in the world.

With an operator sitting in a head-office in Norway now able to control an Aquabotix Endura in a fish net off the coast of Chile, the new technology reduces the need and cost of on-site manpower during underwater expeditions.

Aquabotix’s US headquarters is situated just 30km from the Naval Undersea Warfare Centre in Newport, Rhode Island, where much of the research and many futuristic underwater drones will be acquired, housed and maintained.

“Recent media reports cite the Pentagon confirming that Russia has developed an unmanned underwater drone device with the potential to devastate US ports and harbours. According to a leaked government report of the draft of the US’s Nuclear Posture Review, for release next month,” Aquabotix said.

“These developments are just one example of the real danger posed and the continued need to develop world class leading technologies to combat these threats.”

“The US Department of Defence and Homeland Security spends approximately US$22billion per annum on maritime surveillance and it is expected that more of this surveillance work will be conducted using unmanned vehicles and various acoustic devices, as opposed to traditional large vessel and man-power intensive systems that are currently in use.”

Research house Markets and Markets say the underwater drone market is estimated at US$2.69billion in 2017 and is projected to reach US$5.20b by 2022 at a compounded annual growth rate of 14.07%.

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