Airbus launching drone subsidiary in Atlanta


French aerospace manufacturer Airbus is starting an Atlanta-based commercial drone subsidiary.

The wholly-owned subsidiary is called Airbus Aerial, aiming to sell its services to industries such as insurance, oil and gas, utilities, agriculture, forestry and emergency management, by helping them get data captured from above by using drones or satellites. 

The drone and satellite industries are filled with many small players and some large companies. Airbus aims to take advantage of its existing satellite business, build its own expertise in the drone business and “bring together lots of different companies” to provide options for drone and satellite data and images. 

For example, Airbus plans to contract with other businesses for drone vehicles, drone flights in areas where it doesn’t have a presence, additional satellite imagery or data analysis when necessary. 

The focus will be on “providing services to large corporations who want to leverage small drones, satellites… but aren’t necessarily experts in aerospace technology,” said Airbus Aerial president Jesse Kallman. 

For a large insurance company or a state emergency management organization, Kallman said: “Say there’s a large weather event in the state of Georgia. We would be able to go in and say, ‘Which areas are you interested in learning more [about]? And then we essentially will bring together whatever the right tools are to accomplish the job, using satellites, using drones.” 

He said high-resolution imagery can help insurance companies determine damage to customers’ roofs and estimate costs for roofing material after a hailstorm or tornado, for example. 

Airbus Aerial is “the first major direct presence by Airbus,” Kallman said. Another Airbus subsidiary called Satair, is an aircraft parts management company that has offices in Peachtree City but is based in Europe. 

Kallman has a degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech and worked at the Federal Aviation Administration on the integration of drones into the national airspace and at a drone software startup. 

He called Atlanta “a really underrated location for new startups, new tech growth. It has a great ecosystem of large Fortune 500 companies, which will be our primary customers and partners.” He said the Atlanta airport is also “a really great thing for us” to reach Airbus headquarters and teams in Europe and to move around the country. 

Kallman declined to say how many employees the business has or how large it will grow, but said Airbus Aerial’s current offices are in Ponce City Market and the company is hiring. He said the types of positions he plans to hire include drone pilots, drone vehicle engineers, software developers, geospatial data development and data analytics. 

Airbus announced the creation of the new unit on Wednesday at a drone conference in Dallas.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Business stories of the week: Amazon, 2018 priorities, Phipps Plaza
Business stories of the week: Amazon, 2018 priorities, Phipps Plaza

The week had no shortage of business headlines among Atlanta area companies – or perhaps companies that want to become Atlanta area companies. From the Amazon second headquarters search to major development projects, here are some of the big business headlines you might have missed from the past week. Georgia and Atlanta area economic development...
More job cuts coming to Atlanta as part of Coca-Cola restructuring
More job cuts coming to Atlanta as part of Coca-Cola restructuring

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola plans to cut an additional 179 jobs in its hometown as part of a broader restructuring the beverage giant announced earlier this year. In filings with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Workforce Division, Coke identified layoffs at three corporate offices in the city effective by the end of December...
Atlanta’s Phipps Plaza makeover plan shifts into overdrive
Atlanta’s Phipps Plaza makeover plan shifts into overdrive

The reinvention of Phipps Plaza into a mixed-use entertainment and shopping complex has been in the works for more than a decade. But the announcement Tuesday of a $200 million-plus expansion, including a flagship Nobu hotel and restaurant, will take that the makeover to a new level, officials with mall owner Simon hope. In Nobu, Phipps will add...
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow

Your house is a large expense with many associated costs like a mortgage payment, insurance, maintenance and more. It provides a roof over your head, of course, but since it usually costs you money each month, why not put it to work for you and earn some cash in the process? The following are four ways your house can make you money: If you're planning...
6 things to know about working for Uber
6 things to know about working for Uber

Uber has been making headlines in recent months for everything from a new CEO to industry regulation. But if you want to work as a driver for the service that revolutionized the taxi-transport industry, there is more important information about Uber you'll want to check out. Here are six things you need to know about Uber before working for them...
More Stories