Hydra Technologies, unmanned innovation
In less than a decade, this Jalisco-based company has set the bar on the international aerospace market with hi-tech creations.
Mexico's aerospace sector would be inconceivable without Hydra Technologies, a company that took the market for unmanned surveillance systems by surprise in 2005 and, less than a decade later, has won several international accolades for innovation in that niche.
Hydra Technologies specializes in designing, manufacture and servicing of unmanned aerial surveillance systems that employ state of the art technology. Efficient and accessible, these craft are gradually doing away with the need to import similar vehicles. Likewise, the abundance of skilled labor in Mexico has translated into added value, allowing the company to offer technical support of the highest standard and reduce dependency on outsiders.
The first of its species in Mexico, Hydra Technologies has today more than 15,000 flight hours under its autonomous wings and its systems have been tested and approved by the country's security forces.
Ehecátl and Gavilán remain the company's flagship products but it is currently accumulating flight hours with a view to getting its most recent model, the S45 Báalam, certified.
Hydra Technologies has won numerous international awards, including the Al Aube Contributor Award presented by the Washington-based Association of Unmanned Vehicles International (AUVSI) and the Mexican Aerospace Industry Federation's Leonardo Da Vinci Award, to name just two.
Operating out of Mexico has been advantageous for a company like Hydra Technologies. Aside from its strategic geographical location, which guarantees easy access to the US market, Mexico has a highly specialized workforce, while the aerospace industry has developed a solid supply chain in recent years.
"We have managed to consolidate Mexico's aerospace industry and position the country as a developer of its own technologies and solutions," says Hydra Technologies' Commercial Relations Director Eleana Núñez, who sees nothing but clear skies ahead for the sector.
Aerospace is one of the most rapidly expanding industries worldwide and unmanned surveillance vehicles account for a large slice of the market.
"The market for this technology is expected to grow to approximately ten billion usd by 2018. Although the military accounted for a substantial portion of growth in the past, these units are now used in a wide range of civilian applications, like the mapping of forest fires and the monitoring of weather conditions and telecommunications. According to several different sources, they could potentially be used in agriculture and for public safety purposes. In the future, 90% of the market for unmanned surveillance vehicles will be for applications that aren't necessarily related to the military," says Núñez.
To secure a lion's share of this promising market, Hydra Technologies has created synergies with educational and government institutions and works closely with universities and research centers like the Cinvestav research center at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN, National Polytechnic Institute) and the Larcase avionics research lab at the University of Quebec in Canada.
In conjunction with agencies like ProMéxico, Hydra Technologies has represented Mexico at international fairs, including Farnborough in the United Kingdom and Le Bourget in France.
"Our plans always consider growth in applications on the domestic market," says Núñez of a company that began with just twelve employees and now has over eighty professionals working on a series of added value projects.