Imaging the Future… IRIS brings new UAV industry to Kenai

At a recent Kenai Chamber of Commerce meeting John Parker outlined the mission of Integrated Robotic Imaging Systems (IRIS) to provide advanced, versatile unmanned aerial system solutions to meet real world challenges. “This is not a toy! This is a commercial UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle that came my attention a couple of years ago when I was involved with helping the State of Alaska deal with the tsunami clean up along our shores. What became apparent was that the state and federal agencies needed information regarding the location and type of debris and amounts we were dealing with and that is what spawned IRIS, because the best technology available to gather that information safely and economically was with a UAV as opposed to conventional aircraft and crew,” said Parker.

The Infotron SARL that Parker is the North American representative for is made in France and he told the Chamber that he hopes someday to assemble them in Kenai, “We are in discussions with Infotron to become an assembly plant to serve the U.S. market right here in Kenai. They had not approached the U.S. market until I made initial contact with them a year and a half ago and at some point we will be assembling them right here in Kenai,” Parker said.

Infotron produces both an electric and combustion powered UAV with the electric model starting right about $188,000 dollars. “It’s expensive equipment, but it’s reliable and cost effective when you compare it to conventional manned aircraft and applications. It also has a multiple array of onboard sensors controlled by integrated software that keeps it in contact with the base station over a secure three-way radio link. The avionics simplify handling by translating commands from the operator into flight controls and is also loaded with radar object avoidance equipment. It’s very reliable but requires specialized training to operate. They are easy to learn how to fly but have specific procedures that you have to learn and understand or you’ll crash it,” said Parker.

UAV’s are regulated by the FAA because they are considered aircraft says Parker and search warrants for law enforcement surveillance uses have the same requirements as home privacy rights, “Alaska has the strongest privacy laws in the country and the first hoops UAV’s went through and laws were enacted to relate to the use of UAV’s. As a member of the of UAV systems task force for Alaska we were tasked to address the privacy issue and recommend legislation which we did and the board continues to look at on an ongoing basis to be sure that people’s privacy rights are protected,” he said.

According to Parker the IT180 is a helicopter-type, counter-rotating rotor UAV developed for civilian and military security applications and for aerial work. The IT180’s original design gives it higher performance capabilities in gusty conditions and Parker believes has capabilities for applications such as industrial facility inspections, marine & wildlife surveys, search & rescue missions, TV & movie film production., forest and urban fire monitoring, natural disaster support missions and many other applications.

To learn more drop the IRIS headquarters in the log building on Main Street in Kenai or log on to

More in News

Signs direct voters at the Kenai No. 3 precinct on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Signs direct voters at the Kenai No. 3 precinct for Election Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Local candidates report support from state PACs

Labor unions and the National Education Association are among the groups putting money into Kenai Peninsula state election races

Signs and examples on the recycling super sack at the Cook Inletkeeper Community Action Studio show which plastics are desired as part of the project in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 11, 2022. Plastics from types 1, 2, 4 and 5 can be deposited.(Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Local nonprofit accepting plastics for synthetic lumber project

The super sack receptacles can be found on either side of Soldotna

This July 28, 2022, photo shows drag queen Dela Rosa performing in a mock election at Cafecito Bonito in Anchorage, Alaska, where people ranked the performances by drag performers. Several organizations are using different methods to teach Alaskans about ranked choice voting, which will be used in the upcoming special U.S. House election. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Groups get creative to help Alaska voters with ranked voting

Organizations have gotten creative in trying to help voters understand how to cast their ballot, as the mock election featuring drag performers shows

A school bus outside of Kenai Central High School advertises driver positions on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Staff shortage, gas prices change school bus routes

The changes do not apply to the district’s special education students

The cast of “Tarzan” rides the Triumvirate Theatre float during the Independence Day parade in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
The show goes on as Triumvirate seeks funding for new theater

The troupe has staged shows and events and is looking to debut a documentary as it raise funds for new playhouse

Aaron Surma, the executive director for National Alliance on Mental Illness Juneau and the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition, leads a safety plan workshop Tuesday night hosted by NAMI and the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition. The workshop was a collaborative brainstorming session with Juneau residents about how to create a safety plan that people can use to help someone who is experiencing a mental health or suicide crisis. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Study shows a rise in anxiety and depression among children in Alaska

Increase may indicate growing openness to discussing mental health, according to experts

Alaska Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer addresses election information and misinformation during a press conference on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. (Screenshot)
With a week to go, officials work to clear up election confusion

Officials provided updated ballot statistics, fielded questions from reporters and clarified misconceptions about the current election cycle

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 21 new COVID deaths; cases down from last week

20 of the reported deaths took place from May to July

A closeup of one of the marijuana plants at Greatland Ganja in Kasilof, Alaska, as seen on March 19, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly streamlines process for marijuana establishment license applications

License applications will now go straight to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly for consideration

Most Read