Cyberhawk raises £1.25m to grow fleet of drones

CYBERHAWK is to begin ­recruiting additional “crews” for its unmanned helicopters after raising £1.25 million in fresh investment to fund its international expansion.

Most of the money is ­being provided by Scottish ­Equity Partners and the Scottish ­Investment Bank, the funding arm of Scottish ­Enterprise. Craig Roberts, who joined Cyber­hawk as chief executive at the end of last year, has also taken a minority stake in the Livingston-based business.

The company uses remote-piloted “drones” equipped with cameras and thermal imaging to inspect tall or inaccessible structures. Because the helicopters are unmanned, there is no need to shut down an oil rig flare or electricity transmission tower before searching for potential faults.

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“We can inspect those flares while they are still live,” said Roberts. “We remove the risk of people working at height, plus it can remain operational during inspection, which could mean millions in cost savings.”

In addition to bulking up its ranks of “pilots” and inspectors, Cyberhawk – which lists Centrica, SSE and Shell among its clients – is setting up a technology department headed by Malcolm Connolly, who founded the firm in 2008.

Roberts said the technology team would look at developing processes and equipment aimed at new markets, such as wind turbines inspections.

“The new round of investment will enable Cyberhawk to invest in the people, technology and product development,” he said. “We anticipate that we will double our headcount in the next year.”