San Antonio-based defense industry contractor, Matthew Boykin is taking on a new venture to sell drone services for government agencies through the company founded earlier this year, Aerial Optic LLC.
Boykin, a native of New York City, moved into the local market a few years ago and previously worked as a government contractor with cybersecurity and IT company CACI International and GCC Technologies LLC.
Now the MBA student at the University of Texas at San Antonio is building out a team that includes an aerospace engineer and remote drone pilot between San Antonio and Virginia to apply for contracts.
U.S. government agencies from the U.S. Air Force to the Army and others have already procured $730 million in contracts for unmanned aircraft systems, known as drones, in fiscal 2016, records show.
“We’re trying to work abroad as well as with the state department and that requires a lot of different certifications,” Boykin said.
That may include otherwise classified missions for the small fleet of drones the company is acquiring, from nanodrones that may be used in situations where it’s not immediately detected and silent to larger drones — though the company is limited to 55 pounds, as per the current FAA regulations.
“One unit may be used for surveillance or aero security, one may run for three hours and another for three days,” he said. “There’s also opportunity for UAS (drone) counter detection, like if someone is flying on a military base unauthorized, you can find and prosecute the operator who may be four miles away.”
The company does plan to secure contracts in the commercial private sector for 3D mapping and precision agriculture too.
It’s been a pivotal year for the commercial drone industry since the Federal Aviation Administration streamlined its regulatory process that went into effect at the end of August.
The director of the Federal Aviation Administration told a government committee today that 550,000 drones have been registered with the agency in the past 9 months across the country — double the number of manned aircraft, according to the Associated Press.