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Are Airborne Systems Next for ReconRobotics?
Acquistion of Xollai strongly hints at possibility.
By Robotics Trends' News Sources - Filed Apr 09, 2012

More Industry and Manufacturing stories
EDINA, MN—ReconRobotics, Inc., engaged in the design and development of micro-robot systems for defense and law enforcement, announced today that it has acquired Xollai LLC, a systems engineering firm with a broad base of intellectual property in automated guidance technology, optics-based autonomous control systems, and image processing and recognition.

The dynamics behind the acquisition are intriguing. Xollai was founded in 2008 by a group of University of St. Thomas engineering and physics students. According to Chris Newmarker, reporting for Finance & Commerce, “they design advanced automated guidance technology for unmanned aircraft systems, and have gained attention from both the military and aeronautical manufacturing sectors.” Xollai was the 2011 winner of the prestigious Architect of Defense award given annually by the Minnesota-based Defense Alliance, which represents more than 85 regionally based defense industry organizations.

Alan Bignall, president and CEO of ReconRobotics, said in a news release that he and other company officials see Xollai’s technology solving unmet needs among ReconRobotics’ military and law enforcement customers, and spoke of “entirely new solutions in advanced manufacturing, image processing and unmanned aerial systems.”

ReconRobotics continues to enjoy brisk business on its small reconnaissance robots, toy-sized remote-controlled devices with video cameras that a soldier or police officer can toss through a door or over a wall. The U.S. Army alone has placed at least four orders in the past seven months. One Army order — $13.9 million for 1,100 robots – was the largest order in the 6-year-old company’s history.

ReconRobotics markets its products through a distribution network in 33 countries. “In a short period of time, ReconRobotics has created an entirely new class of police and military robots that has revolutionized tactical operations,” Robert Malecki, Xollai’s cofounder and CEO, said in a news release. “Our technologies hold similar groundbreaking potential in entirely new sectors and we are delighted to now be working with ReconRobotics to successfully commercialize these solutions for a worldwide market,” Malecki said.

ReconRobotics will fully integrate Xollai into its product engineering and design operations by the end of the month, but will maintain Xollai’s present St. Paul, MN headquarters.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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