Global security giant Lockheed Martin acquired a company founded to market unmanned aerial vehicle technology developed by two BYU engineering professors.
Another business built on BYU technology was recently acquired by software giant Autodesk.
Randy Beard, Tim McLain and their students pioneered technology that allows the tiny aircraft to pilot themselves. BYU patented their work and licensed it to Procerus Technologies when the start-up was founded in 2004. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, and BYU does not disclose the terms of its licenses.
“The acquisition by Lockheed Martin means that employment opportunities for the highly qualified flight engineers being trained at BYU will continue to increase,” said Beard, professor of electrical and computer engineering. “We are excited that a product with its origins in the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering & Technology has provided the impetus for Lockheed Martin, one of the international leaders in aerospace technologies, to establish a presence in Utah.”
Beard and McLain started the “MAGICC” lab, standing for Multiple AGent Intelligent Coordination and Control. Ten alumni of the lab now work at Procerus, now part of Lockheed Martin.
“This acquisition helps establish the credibility of the work that was done here initially and really reinforces the idea that there are some great students here doing really great work,” said McLain, mechanical engineering department chair.
Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO, said in a news release: “This acquisition is consistent with our focus on acquiring capabilities that enhance our product portfolio and align with our customers’ strategic priorities. Small unmanned aerial vehicles are low-cost, highly effective tools for our military, and the expertise Procerus brings will enhance the value we offer to our customers.”