UAV startup Skycatch has announced a $25 million series B funding round, with investors from Riverwood Ventures, Bee Partners, and Autodesk.

According to Skycatch’s official announcement, the investment will help the company fund expansion, launch a new “services and consulting” arm, and more generally scale the enterprise solutions they offer to customers in AEC space. For more details on Autodesk’s decision, Commercial UAV caught up with Dominique Pouliquen, Autodesk’s marketing manager for ReCap and UAV initiative coordinator.

“First of all,” he said, "Autodesk wants to be active in the UAV space. UAVs are booming, as we all know, and they’re becoming a very cheap way to document or scan a worksite with various sensors.”

“Skycatch,” Pouliquen continued, “is very interesting to us because they are creating a full solution for construction sites, which is a big business for Autodesk. So we are involved with SkyCatch to make sure that what they are developing is what our customers need.”

In other words, Autodesk is extending their influence further up the UAV workflow in the AEC space. Pouliquen said that “what we see at the end of the day is that much of the UAV data is processed in Autodesk software, be it AutoCAD or Revit. We are already at the end of the spectrum when you think about the value chain for a UAV workflow. But we want to be more present than that.”

Through their partnership with Skycatch, Autodesk intends to help Skycatch develop technologies that offer Autodesk customers what they need. In addition, they intend to gain a greater understanding of the way that UAVs operate in the AEC space. This understanding, in turn, helps Autodesk to develop their photo processing and analytics technologies to better assist AEC users.

As Pouliquen explains, Autodesk’s main concern in the partnership is improving the processing of UAV photos. “It is very interesting for us, because this is where users get their real answers. The meaning of UAV on a construction site is not only about getting a nice ortho view. What you can do with it? What kind of measurements are you expecting? We don’t have the answers to that yet.”

Though Skycatch represents am opportunity for Autodesk to dig into UAVs in the AEC space, they’re looking to explore other spaces, too.

“There are as many different analytics to extract as there are vertical businesses, there’s the mining industry where earth removal would be about computing volumes, but also about monitoring your assets, comparing day one to day two, etcetera,” Pouliquen says. "All those vertical markets are bringing very specific requirements and we are not going to embrace all of them, but we are going to provide the core technologies, or the core components, that startups like SkyCatch can build complete solutions on top of.”

“We are looking for partners that will embrace the tools and services we are developing. Skycatch is just the first one.”