Frontier Precision Helps Freefly’s Alta X Take Off

Frontier Precision Helps Freefly’s Alta X Take Off

April 21, 2023

When you’re flying a cinema drone on a movie set, it has to work every time. The Alta X from Freefly Systems was designed to do just that. “It’s probably flown on every movie you’ve seen in the last two years,” says Dan Justa, Vice President of Business Development at Freefly. “When the director says, ‘okay drone guy, fly,’ if it doesn’t work, production delays can cost thousands of dollars. The Alta X was designed to carry big, heavy cinema payloads, and to be the drone that works every single time.”

That dependability is helping Alta X branch out into other industries. “When you’re in the field with a drone, you don’t want to be thinking, ‘will this work’? Do I need to do compass calibrations? Is there geofencing? Will I be able to take off?’ With the Alta X, you know it will work.”

With industry growth comes the need for partnerships. “Working with Frontier Precision has been fantastic,” says Justa. “They have offices nationwide and have solid relationships with end users. So we’re able to tell Frontier that we have the Alta X platform, and the Astro, another great platform. Frontier has customers who need what these platforms can do, and they pair the customer with the system and work with them on training.”

Frontier Precision’s expertise has been essential to Freefly as it moves into industries beyond the movies. “We sell Alta X and Astro as platforms with nothing on them. Then you can buy our cinema system, but if you need LiDAR or a different type or sensor, that has to be integrated. The Frontier Precision team is top-notch at designing integrations that work. When we have unusual payloads, I’ll call Frontier and they have a solution for me in a day or two.”

Along with reliability, the Alta X offers two other advantages: it’s made in the U.S., and it’s “blue-cleared” by the Department of Defense. “Everything at Freefly is designed and built in the U.S.,” says Justa. “And the blue clearance is a must for a lot of our customers.”

Blue sAUS is a program run by the Defense Innovation Unit at the Department of Defense. “They run a program to vet UAS to make sure that they are safe to use for government entities,” says Justa. “Government agencies, federal contractors, or contractors working on government land must use only blue-approved systems. Moving forward with Alta X as a blue solution means that you’re guaranteed that all of the parts are sourced from the United States. You’re guaranteed that it’s secure from a cybersecurity standpoint, you’re guaranteed that no one’s able to hack into your system, and you’re supporting US manufacturers.”

Blue-approved systems also make it easier for government entities to purchase drones. “In the past there were procedures that had to be followed and systems had to be vetted. With the Alta-X, you can just buy it. It’s already been vetted. As the program grows, more systems will be on the approved list, and the industry will continue to grow.”

Dennis Kemmesat, President and CEO of Frontier Precision, notes that the partnership with Freefly has been mutually beneficial. “Manufacturers like Freefly are looking for a distributor that can sell their product, support their product, and that they can be assured is going to do a good job of representing their product. As we’ve been growing our unmanned business, we’ve been very particular about who we partner with and how we partner with them. It’s important to us that we work with highly reputable companies that we know will be here in the future. Our customers trust us to guide them to the right technology that meets their needs today, and can be upgraded in the future to meet their changing needs by a company that stands behind its products.”

Kemmesat sees a bright future for products like the Alta X. “We see this a lot in the industry,” he says. “When a product works well in one application, like Alta X does for movies, people start to see the potential for other uses. To make that happen, you need a solid, dependable platform, and the innovation to adapt it for other payloads. With our partnership with Freefly, we’re making that happen.”

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