New Orleans startup sees opportunity in Amazon drone delivery


crescent unmanned systems.jpgAmazon set off chatter this week after it announced plans to roll out a drone-based delivery service within the decade. But Charles Easterling, CEO of Crescent Unmanned Systems, wasn’t surprised.

Easterling, who helped found a local drone development and manufacturing startup in 2010, said he’s been talking about the vast potential for the flying robots in retail and other industries for years now.

“People always thought I was just a crazy Terminator scenario type of guy,” Easterling said laughing.

Crescent Unmanned Systems, based in the Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans, plans to finish development of its flagship drone model at a testing ground in Utah this month. The small aircraft, called Bravo 300, is designed to operate in extreme weather conditions while carrying surveillance cameras and other equipment.

Easterling said his company initially marketed the drone to police departments and the military and has only recently received calls about potential commercial uses.

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