Interview with Steven Friberg, CEO, UXV Technologies

Interview with Steven Friberg, CEO, UXV Technologies

You founded UXV Technologies almost a decade ago and have grown it into one of the world’s leading drone robotics companies. The enterprise received the 2023 Transatlantic Company of the Year award from AmCham Denmark and recently signed a MoU with connector systems supplier, ODU. Please provide a brief history of the company and highlight some of its milestones and achievements.

UXV Technologies embodies a tech company at its core. Despite our extensive work in the defense sector, our ethos and demeanour align more with a tech company. In 2014, at the company’s inception, we operated under the name UAV Components, denoting Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Components. Many of our products found demand across domains, that is land, sea, subsea and in the sky, prompting a name change to UXV Technologies – with the “X” describing our domain agnostic technology. This change was driven by the need to overcome the limiting nature of the original name.

We emerged as a spin-off from Danish Aviation Systems in 2009, the pioneer in drone production in Denmark. My foresight was that the drone and unmanned systems industry could take off significantly. While the timing was not optimal initially, I envisioned the potential in the distant future and, simultaneously, recognized the potential of Danish Aviation Systems.

Strategically, I believe we should be in the same league as Bosch, Siemens, or Brembo in the automotive industry, who supply to the “integrators” such as Audi and Mercedes. As in the car industry, where components are sourced from various manufacturers, we customize products for the biggest names in the defence industry.

I convinced myself that for the drone and unmanned systems industry to thrive we needed to be on the cutting edge of new technology, working with professional engineers rather than end-users, as well as engaging in high-volume production. Shifting from producing a few units for individual customers to making hundreds or thousands of units for a broad range of customers became crucial for building a scalable business. When applied to other industries, this automotive philosophy was the guiding principle for our journey to where we are today.

We secured the AmCham award, following our status as finalists the previous year. Examining our growth and vision, it is crucial to emphasize that UXV Technologies is entirely an organically grown company. No external investors, no external capital, and no external owners played a role. We accomplished everything ourselves, including building facilities. This is noteworthy as it is uncommon for a tech company and even rarer for a defense company. Despite being in the defense space, we maintain complete market neutrality. In the past year, we tripled our revenue and quadrupled our sales.

Three years before that, we doubled every year. The constraints of the current building have necessitated purchasing another, allowing us to expand production tenfold. In June 2023, we inaugurated a factory in Pennsylvania, USA. In September, we established our second office in US, which is a sales office in Austin, Texas.

Around 85% of our sales are to the US. Beyond defense, we cater to various companies and industries, counting Boston Dynamics, Caterpillar, and other major civilian players among our prominent clients. Our technological contributions extend to the yellow robotics dog from Boston Dynamics. You will find our technologies in various places if you know where to look. As a supplier for integrators, we follow an automotive approach, often white-labeling or labeling our products as the integrators. While we typically refrain from public claims, our users are well aware of our presence, as evidenced by our products appearing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in 2022.


You recently launched a G2Nav ground control station, setting another benchmark in the industry. The company’s technology has varied uses, including defense, maintenance and even other robotics segments, such as marine ROVs, through its partnership with BlueEye Robotics. How versatile is the technology regarding industrial uses and what flagship technology is UXV Technologies currently promoting?

Our gimbal is a pioneering product. You can mount it on a drone, a vehicle, or a plane. This one features high zoom, a thermal camera, a laser rangefinder, and a robust computer twice as powerful as an average laptop. This means it can handle all the processing and perform target tracking, moving target detection, and classification directly on board, which is highly beneficial for search and rescue, defense, target acquisition, and locating lost individuals.

This new line of products we are launching, like this gimbal, has an even broader market than our existing one. A whole series of gimbals is in the pipeline. The newest one presents a substantial business opportunity because none of our competitors has the technology inside that we possess. We have been diligently working on this for almost three and a half years, and it is finally ready for launch.


As an SME success story in Denmark, how do you assess the support given to local entrepreneurs? What role does UXV Technologies now have as a supporter of other local SMEs?

This is an exciting area, but our approach has been different. In Denmark, the environment for starting up or building an SME is highly supportive, with numerous programs, funding opportunities and guidance available. The support system here is incredible. However, at UXV, we have chosen a more independent path. I am a hands-on individual and we handled everything ourselves. This decision stems partly from working in the defense space that – until the war in Ukraine – was less publicly popular than other industries. We prefer to handle as much as possible ourselves due to security concerns, keeping external involvement minimal to safeguard sensitive tech information.

While UXV did not utilize external support, I have actively supported and guided others. UXV has consistently served as an open inspiration for many. Although we did not tap into the available support, we recognize its significance, especially for more conservative industries that may require assistance to kick start their ventures. Small business areas may need guidance, particularly for those unfamiliar with running a business from scratch. Access to the correct type of capital is crucial. While government policies provide support, having additional driving forces can be essential. Communities offering assistance in finding new collaboration partners can be invaluable in successfully launching a business.

I encourage the emergence of more competitors in Denmark because, at least in UXV, we value competition. We aim to avoid monopolies as they impede innovation. Increased competition pushes us to strive harder continually. It ensures our organization remains dynamic and aligned with my appetite for growth.


Around two-thirds of Denmark’s robust R&D sector is supported by its private sector and heavily funded by the government. While you have already stated that none of this applies to you, how do you assess Denmark’s R&D ecosystem for robotics? How has UXV Technologies leveraged this community to build its internal R&D capabilities?

I have travelled extensively worldwide, teaching robotics and drone technologies in various locations. It can be challenging for individuals immersed in a culture to perceive its nuances objectively. People often perceive the grass as greener elsewhere. However, looking at it globally, Denmark has a challenging culture that fosters innovation. The inclination to challenge norms has led to a highly innovative environment. Denmark’s high social security network plays a significant role, instilling a willingness among people to take risks, especially when unemployment support ensures a safety net.

This supportive culture extends across universities, emphasizing the importance of cultural factors in fostering innovation. Additionally, starting up in Denmark means having your quality of life protected. A conducive culture, financial support and foundational elements are essential for a country to incubate entrepreneurs and innovation. Denmark provides a safety net through unemployment support, allowing individuals to maintain a high standard of living even following a job loss. This financial security encourages risk-taking, which is evident in individuals pursuing entrepreneurial ventures even in their 40s or 50s.

This positive aspect contrasts with experiences in other countries where individuals with ideas may hesitate due to concerns about jeopardizing their family or lifestyle. Denmark’s lower risks, better fundamentals, cultural support, and supportive government policies contribute to a favorable entrepreneurial environment.

Denmark’s international orientation, with English almost serving as the primary language, reflects a mindset where businesses and ideas are not confined to the Danish market but are designed to thrive in larger markets like Europe or the US. With a population of six million, Denmark’s size imposes limitations on business scale, emphasizing the necessity to think internationally from the outset. Until recently, UXV Technologies did not have any Danish customers. It operated with a strong focus on exports, showcasing a business approach of “importing cash” with a global perspective.


The US is Denmark’s biggest market and the Minister of Business, Morten Bødskov, is making a massive investment in bilateral relationships with the US. How is UXV Technologies capitalizing on this government support network?

We attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit as part of a delegation. This influenced our decision to choose Johnstown, Pennsylvania because we recognized the diverse possibilities different states offer. Johnstown was chosen due to its skilled workforce, unique industry ecosystem and supportive business environment. Our production facility is already fully operational – producing ground control stations for unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles. In Denmark alone, we proudly host 16 nationalities, including individuals from the US, Spain, Australia, Ukraine, Italy, Serbia and Slovakia. This reflects our status as a globally oriented company with English as our shared language. Within this building, our team comprises 85 individuals; interestingly, over 50% of them are not of Danish origin.


How can UXV’s tech be used as a greener tool for industrial operations and what is the company doing to cut down the carbon footprint of its current operations?

At the rear of our building, we’ve installed 50KW solar panels that span our entire flat roof, ensuring complete self-sustainability. Additionally, we have a substantial battery buffer, allowing us to utilize excess power during nighttime or on days with limited sunlight. This extensive battery setup works in conjunction with the solar panels.

We are engaged in a compelling project with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), where we are jointly developing a specialized gimbal equipped with a unique camera – a shortwave infrared camera with a specific filter. This gimbal also incorporates a highly specialized modulated laser for inspecting solar panels and detecting defects. In contrast to conventional methods that involve individually testing each solar panel, our solution operates 50 times faster by scanning them while in operation. If any solar panel is found to be defective, it impacts the production of that particular panel and disrupts the entire chain. This connectivity can be discerned through the camera.

UXV produces autonomous vehicles for prominent British companies tailored explicitly for offshore wind applications. These vehicles play a crucial role in gathering data to identify optimal locations for installing wind turbines. Furthermore, they serve in environmental monitoring and support activities before and during operations. These tools have become integral in the offshore wind industry.


Can you give our readers an overview of the company’s plans within the US market through its new facility? How significant of a call does the US represent for the company regarding know-how exchange and as a client – particularly for military technology usage?

UXV secured a contract approximately two years ago to design the standard controller for the US Army, known as SRoC (Soldier Robotic Controller). This achievement is monumental, as it currently stands as the most versatile controller on the market, capable of controlling various platforms. This means having one controller that seamlessly works with diverse radio systems, enabling control over many robots for tasks like weapon systems, driving, and flying. We introduced the SRM (Swappable Radio Modules) ecosystem, which has become a government-owned standard. SRM allows the freedom to interchange radios, enhancing adaptability.

The standard controller unifies the soldier’s interface and reduces the equipment burden, notably lowering procurement costs. Previously, separate purchases were required for a drone, radio system, and controller, but now the radio system can be swapped. This flexibility extends to the controller, allowing centralized acquisition. It enables the purchase of more affordable radios for training and non-critical missions, effectively driving down acquisition costs. The same principle applies to the controller, offering the ability to perform individual lifetime upgrades on different technologies. This approach is advantageous for all parties involved, reducing the risk of errors associated with managing multiple controllers. A soldier only needs to train on one system with this standardized controller.

Having won the contract for the design phase, we are now poised to bid on the production phase in the US. This underscores the importance of our US facility, where we manufacture all our popular US products supported by the manufacturing in Denmark.


What are your current top priorities as CEO of UXV Technologies? What vision do you have for the company and the technology in 2024 and beyond?

My overarching vision is to ensure the company remains competitive and grows to a workforce of a thousand people within the next decade.


Any final words or lasting message for our readers?

We are diversifying our verticals. Sensor cameras will expand our verticals for autonomous kits and tactical ecosystems in the future. While you may see one vertical with controllers, our roadmap includes increasing to more than seven verticals, each comprising different product groups for various robotics, encompassing both defense and civilian applications.

One of our new products is the SBCM (Soldier Borne Compute Module), a powerful computer mounted on the soldier but interfacing with other ecosystems. This is significant, because in the future battlespace, soldiers need to be connected with the latest installations. The SBCM allows us to integrate multiple tactical radios used by different military branches and provide consolidated information to the soldier, unlocking vast possibilities. This is just one of our new verticals.

We are expanding aggressively while ensuring sustainable financing for our initiatives.



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