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Drone maker Tekever unveils VTOL for maritime surveillance

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Article ImagePortuguese firm also strikes partnership with shipping giant Scorpio.

Drone developer Tekever has unveiled a new version of its AR3 unit, now with configurable VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) capabilities.

Unveiled during the AUVSI Xponential conference in Orlando, Florida, the new version adds a new dual-side-looking Synthetic Aperture Radar to provide the ability to detect targets in any weather condition.

“Users no longer have to choose between having pure fixed wing assets for longer endurance missions, or fixed-wing VTOL assets for more challenging deployment conditions,” Tekever CEO Ricardo Mendes said.

The AR3 has a cruising speed of 52.8 mph and a communications range of 62 miles. The drone has a payload capacity of 8.8 pounds.

It’s designed for maritime use – providing naval authorities with surveillance and intelligence options, scanning for illegal boats or enemy units.

Among those working with the Portuguese company is the U.K. Home Office, which is using Tekever’s AR5 drones to monitor illegal migrants trying to cross the British Channel. The units provide local authorities with real time intelligence on illegal vessels.

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is also working with Tekever for maritime surveillance purposes, having secured contracts last October.

New deal, new markets

In other Tekever news announced at AUVSI Xponential, the drone firm said it had struck a strategic partnership with Scorpio Investment Holding Ltd, the parent company behind the tanker firm of the same name.

The deal sees Scorpio invest an unspecified amount in Tekever – which came as part of the company’s $23 million venture capital round in January.

In turn, the pair will begin to develop space and drone-based services that are related to improving efficiency in commercial shipping and offshore wind markets.

“We are excited to explore the application for our fixed-wing drones, near-space communications and VTOL solutions in the largely untapped market of commercial shipping operations,” Mendes added.

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