Avular, a mobile robotics start-up from Eindhoven, received an investment from Lumipol in 2018. Since then major changes have been made to the company’s business model. Avular has also moved its office to a new, bigger location in the Strijp-T area.
Shift to research and development
“We’re now shifting from creating industrial drones, with which we started as a company, towards delivering engineering services for (R&D) customers,” says Albert Maas, Avular CEO. “We noticed the market is shifting – many companies would like to try a mobile robot such as a drone. Sometimes for a business case that isn’t that obvious and sometimes there’s a bigger business case hiding behind the initial question. However, most people are asking what they could do with a drone or mobile robot. Because of our engineering background, we decided to shift our whole business model towards enabling mobile robotics and creating real tools for engineers and R&D.”
Three tracks of development
As Albert Maas says, Avular focuses on three main business lines:
(1) “Services – the engineering services the Avular team provides to make mobile robots accessible to customers that don’t have the proper resources to make it themselves. If you don’t want to or don’t have the resources to create a robot yourself, we can deliver a complete robot for you, customized to your needs, with sensors, a camera, etcetera. From creating a custom robot, tailored to specific needs – to a custom PCB, custom controllers and custom interface.”
(2) “The Essential line – The Core and Verax positioning systems. The Core can be the brains of any (mobile) robot. It allows users to attach their own sensors and actuators (components responsible for moving and controlling a mechanism) and makes programming easier with MATLAB Simulink. It also provides built-in GPS and IMU (inertial measurement unit) modules. For customers with a more demanding application, we have developed the Verax localization products. These positioning systems work with the Core and provide highly accurate data both indoors and outdoors.”
(3) “The Curiosity line with ready-to-use products such as Aerial Curiosity – our drone. The Aerial Curiosity is a modular quadcopter platform, carrying the Core as its brains. This means that Aerial Curiosity is the tool for creating new drone applications. That is the philosophy behind the Curiosity line: to deliver platforms that customers can use for their own applications.
A robot for Signify
“At the moment we are creating a new Rover robot in collaboration with Signify. The purpose of the Rover platform is to measure light intensity at stadiums. This task requires accurate localization in the stadium, so we are implementing and improving our Verax Ultra-WideBand positioning system. Using the Core, we have the tools to create an autonomously driving rover, so together with Signify we developed the whole platform according to Signify’s specifications. We are constantly improving and developing the platform, also to create the opportunity for other customers to eventually use it. So, the Rover itself is becoming a Curiosity product.”
Business case: Chimney inspection
“We are currently working on a business case which combines all elements of our business model with a company that creates tiles for industrial chimneys. They need to inspect chimneys to see if there are any tiles broken or lost because that could lead to heat loss. To do this, you need to climb inside the chimney or you could let a drone do it. But flying a drone in a small confined area is pretty hard to do and you would need accurate localization, even though GPS is not available. That is why we came up with a solution for the chimney company – a localization system tailored to their needs. In this particular business case, we’re using the Aerial Curiosity with the Core as its brains, Verax positioning system, and we are engineering it for our customer.”
“Early next year we will be launching new products for our Essential line. They’ll be completely certified and together with our other products, will complete the ecosystem of technologies we offer. When our ecosystem is complete, we can enable everyone to have and to build complex mobile robots.”