1:07pm

Thu March 27, 2014
Business

Boulder Entrepeneur Betting That Drone Use Will Take Off

Looking for commercial drones? You can soon start shopping for them in Boulder, now that Multirotor service-drone.com USA has set up shop with an office in Boulder and a warehouse in Superior.

The company is an offshoot of a German drone manufacturer that makes and sells small multirotor drones (not the fixed-wing type). The opening of the Boulder office marks their first location outside Europe.

Credit Courtesy of service-drone.com

Chief executive and co-founder Bernd Lutz is no stranger to Boulder, having lived in the city for 25 years, during which time he co-founded ProFlowers.com with congressman Jared Polis. He told BizWest Media that it was the perfect location.

"There’s talent. It’s close to DIA. It’s just an incredible business environment," he said.

Lutz thinks now is a good time to establish a presence in the U.S. – as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is developing regulations for the evolving use of commercial drones (or Unmanned Aerial Systems) in the nation’s airspace.

The company plans eventually to manufacture and assemble drones here in Colorado. But for now, Multirotor will import and distribute European-made drones for civilian applications, not military use. Their initial customers will be government institutions that are able to acquire the necessary authorization from the FAA.

"They’ll be looking at, at least to start off with here in the U.S., public agencies like cities or police departments who might want to use them, or universities that can use them for research," said BizWest Media reporter Joshua Lindenstein.

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Credit service-drone.com

Commercial use in Europe is more widespread, although there are drones in the U.S. currently being used in areas like agriculture, geographic or wildlife surveys, mapping, and the film industry.

Although the FAA has been criticized for being too slow to adapt its regulations, Lutz is optimistic that the use of commercial drones will expand here in the U.S. as well.

"We can only imagine what will happen in a short amount of time," Lutz told BizWest Media. "It’s just a question of when… that primarily is determined by the FAA."

Which means you have a little time to start saving up for a drone of your own – they cost between $10,000 and $50,000.