Prioria Robotics to provide drones to Army in $4.5 million deal


Prioria Robotics CEO Bryan da Forta is shown in this Feb. 13, 2013 file photo. The company Prioria Robotics has announced contracts worth $4.5 million to produce small unmanned aircraft and ground control stations for the U.S. Army.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.

Prioria Robotics has been awarded $4.5 million worth of contracts to produce 36 small unmanned aircrafts and 12 ground control stations for the U.S. Army, the company announced Monday.

Each Maveric Unmanned Aircraft System consists of three hand-launched aircrafts, a ground control station and various payloads that include equipment for intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance, CEO Bryan da Frota said.

The Gainesville company announced in August that it was awarded three contracts — two from universities and one from the U.S. government — but did not have permission at the time to reveal details of the Army contract. That announcement included the first part of the Army contract that has since been expanded to multiple contracts, da Frota said.

He said in August that Prioria would be adding 10 employees to its workforce of 31. On Monday, da Frota said the additional contracts will allow the company to meet its goal of creating 40 new jobs over four years as part of its application for the Qualified Target Industry tax rebate.

“It means the hiring that we’ve projected, we’re absolutely going to be able to knock out of the park. Hopefully, we’ll do more,” he said.

The contracts mark a shift by the Army to smaller, more rapidly deployable units that are operable by one person, according to a news release. Da Frota said the Army will provide the drone surveillance systems at the smaller squad and patrol level as opposed to the larger company level, giving ground troops access to information.

The contracts are the company’s first with the U.S. Army, but not its first with the U.S. military.

Prioria moved into a 22,000-square-foot city-owned warehouse in February in the former Gainesville Regional Utilities property called the Power District.

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