James Hill, president and CEO of AirCover Integrated Solutions is encouraged with his company’s success in the international market.
James Hill, president and CEO of AirCover Integrated Solutions is encouraged with his company’s success in the international market.
May 15, 2013

Survellience drones manufactured and tested in Carroll allowed viewers of soccer through the largest Latin American media outlet, Televisa, to enjoy enhanced coverage of matches this past weekend.

Televisa, which owns Univision, the largest Spanish-language station in the United States, recently purchased four unmanned aerial vehicles from AirCover Integrated Solutions. Company president and CEO James Hill said the drones were deployed at the 100,000-person Azteca Stadium in Mexico City for soccer coverage. The media company flew the drones around the stadium, providing views of action on the field as well as celebration and activity in the stands, Hill said.

"I received wonderful reports," Hill said.

The AirCover drones - about 2-1/2 feet by 2-1/2 feet and 3.7 pounds - are slightly larger than a seagull. The drones, managed from the ground by state-of-the-art computer systems, can climb 80 feet per second, or about four stories per second. They travel horizontally at 45 mph. The air ceilings depend on whether the UAVs are used for civilian or military application.

AirCover, a leading international unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturer, in 2012 officially opened assembly, sales and marketing operations in Carroll with plans for up to 20 employees by 2014 in the burgeoning high-tech industry.

The Redding, Calif., advanced research-and-development company specializes in surveillance drones and sensors for public safety, search-and-rescue missions and commercial applications. The company has a strong corporate footprint in the Cedar Rapids area. The Carroll facility opened Nov. 11 at the 20th Street location north of U.S. Highway 71.

AirCover's Carroll-manufactured drones are not weaponized, and the company has no contracts with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hill said the sales to Televisa represent what is a strong presence in the Latin American market for his company.

"We see that our growth for international product is going to continue," Hill said.

Hill said the Carroll operation is working on agricultural applications to incorporate with the public-safety and commercial uses for the drones. The company has had success marketing product to media companies, the military, oil-and-gas operations and police-and-rescue units.

Founded in 2008, AirCover is currently involved in strategic collaboration with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, the aeronautics Goliath's Advanced Development Program arm created generations ago to build Allied fighter jets to compete against the Nazis.