Drones for Surveying

The LiDAR Magazine Podcast with guest Vivien Hériard-Dubreuil

Exploring Drone Surveying Advancements: Vivien Hériard-Dubreuil, mdGroup Co-founder & CEO, Explores Innovations, Acquisitions, and Manufacturing Shifts

In the latest episode of the LIDAR Magazine Podcast, Stewart Walker, the Managing Editor, hosts Vivien Hériard-Dubreuil, the President and Chief Executive of mdGroup, the parent company of GeoCue and Microdrones. Together they discuss the evolution of drone surveying at Microdrones, their subsequent acquisition of GeoCue, recent developments with GeoCue’s LP360 software, a move to manufacturing in the United States, and more. Click the image below to listen to the podcast for yourself or read the transcript. You can also find the LIDAR Magazine podcast on Apple podcasts or listen on Spotify.

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The LiDAR Magazine Podcast with guest Vivien Hériard-Dubreuil

The discussion revolves around Hériard-Dubreuil’s journey from his early interest in aviation to becoming a key player in the drone industry. Hériard-Dubreuil recounts his experiences from high school when he began developing remote-controlled airplanes and rockets. He talks about his early career in defense applications and his eventual move to North America in 2013 to establish his own company, initially focusing on providing drone services for data collection.

According to Hériard-Dubreuil “So, I saw the potential of having remote drones and the first thing I learned  was that drones are basically remote sensors and what really matters is the data that you can get out of it.”

Focus on Surveying

The conversation highlights the evolution of the company’s focus on surveying, including the development of complete solutions for surveyors, with a particular emphasis on lidar technology. The podcast sheds light on the strategic acquisitions and mergers that have shaped mdGroup’s trajectory, notably the acquisition of GeoCue Group, Inc. in January 2022, bringing together two well-known entities in the industry.

The podcast also touches upon the formation of Avyon, a company initially focused on providing services and later rebranded as Microdrones, and the successful distributor arrangement with Trimble, which enhanced the surveying toolkit with drone-based solutions.

As Hériard-Dubreuil explores the history of the company, he also highlights the merger with Schübeler Technologies, aimed at vertical integration to master key drone technologies. The conversation then shifts to the current state and future trends of UAV lidar technology, emphasizing the increasing accessibility and affordability of lidar data, alongside the growing importance of processing and managing this data effectively to ensure accuracy and quality deliverables.

Made in the USA

Toward the end of the podcast, the conversation focuses on the integration of GeoCue into mdGroup and the relocation of operations to Huntsville, Alabama. Vivien Hériard-Dubreuil expresses excitement about the move, citing the existing team’s capabilities and the alignment of goals between the companies.

He explains, “So, I think now we have the perfect mix of technologies with the drones, with the payload, with the TrueView brand, and the software with LP360 to make sure that we can provide the complete package to the end users.”  

The decision to consolidate operations in Huntsville is driven by factors such as the “Made in America” initiative and regulatory considerations favoring the US market.  GeoCue and Microdrones remain committed to serving diverse market segments with a range of products tailored to different needs and price points. The discussion also touches on the role of artificial intelligence, emphasizing its application in specific use cases where it can truly enhance performance.

Looking ahead, Hériard-Dubreuil there is room for further growth by developing LP360 and maximizing its potential, with a strong emphasis on showcasing its capabilities to a wider audience.

For more information on how Drone LiDAR can save you time and money, contact one of our LiDAR experts today.