During the Commercial UAV Expo 2023 in Las Vegas, we spoke with David Rovira, the Chief Business Officer at RigiTech. The Swiss-based company specialises in drone delivery solutions. RigiTech was established in Lausanne, Canton of Vaud in 2018 and, since then, has made significant developments within the drone technology field, providing software, hardware and ground station hub solutions for BVLOS drone use cases in the healthcare sector.
The drone industry is known for its fast-paced innovation, and RigiTech has maintained its momentum along with it. David explained that over the past three years, the Lausanne-based RigiTech team has dedicated themselves to developing an entirely new platform, the Eiger, which is now available on the European market. The company's focus during this time was to develop a drone which complies with European regulations, particularly in Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. In the world of drone delivery, long-range missions are a large part of the work, which is why the RigiTech team is committed to adapting their hardware for BVLOS deliveries in Europe.
David told us that RigiTech’s drones are currently conducting BVLOS flights in several countries, including Denmark, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Uruguay, which opened new opportunities to other markets, such as the United States, where they are hoping to receive flight authorisation in collaboration with one of their partners within the next six months.
David shared that RigiTech partnered with Spright, a US-based drone operator, and that they plan to continue their growth worldwide.
During the DroneTalks discussion, David shared several reasons why one of the biggest and most reliable operators partnered up with the Swiss-based start-up.
“We control both hardware and software. We develop both of them in parallel, which for regulations makes a lot of sense. We're not liable to anyone. We don't have to request data from anyone. We have all the data, and we manufacture according to our own principles. This means that we have very fast-paced flexibilities. If something comes out in the new regulations, we can adapt very quickly without depending on somebody else.” he said.
The secondary factor was safety, which remains RigiTech’s number one requirement. The company internally built the redundancies, the parachute and the integrated failsafe independent system to comply with EASA’s regulations. Ultimately, their experience and existing presence in the European market have been key factors.
According to David, the Swiss origins of the company and the significance of remaining a Switzerland-based company are very relevant in the drone industry. The company’s roots in Lausanne, Switzerland, are important to RigiTech’s identity. He sees the Swiss heritage as a valuable asset to clients and business owners in the drone industry.
To David, the Swiss label represents reliability and quality. He believes that it had a positive impact on the company’s foundation. “I think it’s an added value from Switzerland. It’s not only the fact that people perceive you as a company that has good quality; it’s also the fact that you get a lot of support within Switzerland to achieve that quality.”
In Switzerland, this includes government-backed technology start-ups that are motivated to cross boundaries and produce quality Swiss technology products. David also mentioned that there are several excellent local universities for robotics, with skilled graduate students looking for work opportunities, so developing a technology start-up within an innovative, new field is easier in Switzerland than in any other country.
RigiTech has grown from a small start-up to a 25-person company in just a few short years. They have successfully generated income from drone products rather than relying solely on investments. As the Chief Business Officer at RigiTech, we asked David what he sees behind the company’s rapid growth and about generating revenue opportunities in the drone industry.
“RigiTech initially focused on both services and product development. However, once the company recognised the low numbers of drone operators in the delivery sector, they changed focus and took notice of the demand for healthcare services,” he responded.
Although the company had already decided to focus on aircraft products and manufacturing, they realised that service operations were a good starting point to enter the market. This gave RigiTech an advantage over the competition as they had already gone through the regulations and clearly understood the healthcare clients' needs.
RigiTech is a Vaud-based Swiss aerial logistics company founded in 2018 that focuses on creating fully integrated drone delivery solutions. Its Eiger drone system, manufactured by RigiTech in Switzerland, is designed with a network-first approach: the key to scaling drone delivery into a sustainable business model. The centralised RigiCloud software infrastructure ensures reliable, compliant communications, flight tracking and fleet maintenance management. RigiTech’s comprehensive offerings include regulatory documentation and testing, connectivity infrastructure, training and support services, regulatory support, and SORA (Specific Operations Risk Assessment) expertise. These services assist operating clients in gaining flight permissions faster. RigiTech has secured BVLOS authorisations in Switzerland, Italy, France, Denmark and the Czech Republic, focusing on healthcare and in-vitro diagnostics markets.
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