Japanese manufacturer ProDrone made its US debut at InterDrone 2016, and their booth garnered an enormous amount of attention for reasons that you can see for yourself in this video. Wow!
One detail we didn't get into in this video is that these innovative designs are the result of innovative partnerships between ProDrone and its customers.
On its own, ProDrone does not have the incentive to invest the time and effort to develop these niche platforms, because without a very high level of confidence that there would be a market for it, they could easily lose a pile of money. At the same time, customers have problems that they would like to solve, but lack the technical know-how to make it happen.
So, the two enter into a partnership, wherein ProDrone develops a system to address the customer's specific needs (like inspecting the underside of concrete bridges, as an example), and the customer helps pay for the R&D and promises to make an initial purchase when the aircraft is ready for manufacturing.
At the same time, ProDrone can develop a new product with confidence that it won't end in complete disaster, and they have the opportunity to sell the product to additional customers and apply the lessons that they learned from it to other new products. Brilliant!