Applied Navigation

Applied Navigation is one of a growing number of UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) companies in the Gorge. Founded in 2017 by Marius Niculescu, Patrick Bettale, and Michael Allen, the company’s focus is development of a new UAS autopilot and flight management system. Current options on the market tend to fall in one of two categories: inexpensive Asia-sourced and/or open source autopilots that serve consumer-level drones or high-end, expensive, military-grade autopilots that are slow to adopt new features. “We are providing a solution for companies that are serious about getting work done with drones” says co-founder Michael Allen, “They need an autopilot that is high quality, low cost, and backed by a company that is responsive to their needs.”  
The three founders have the background to execute on this vision. All three spent years working on the military-grade Piccoloâ„¢ autopilot at Cloud Cap Technology in Hood River, along with other team experience from NASA, Aerosonde and Insitu. “Building an autopilot with redundancy, quality components, and automated testing from the ground up is leading Applied Navigation to a unique end-product that will give us an advantage in the UAS autopilot market,” adds Allen.
Because a new autopilot takes years to develop (and the team plans to have its initial offering available in Fall 2019), Applied Navigation has been providing consulting services to other UAS companies. “This has given us a clear view of the features, quality, and support needed by industrial and military customers,” states Allen, who counts his consulting experience as the best possible training on the UAS market.  Focusing on existing customer needs is paying off and business is accelerating: the company hired its first employee Michael Whitlock last October.

Applied Navigation joined the GTA to facilitate connection and collaboration with the UAS industry in the Gorge. “The Gorge is recognized around the nation as a hub of UAS technology,” says Allen. “We work with a number of Gorge companies and we are grateful for their help as we got started.”  Learn more at

About Michael Allen, Co-Founder, Applied Navigation

Michael grew up in the Gorge in Carson, Washington. With local revenue from a thriving logging industry, the schools in Carson/ Stevenson were well-off with Apple computers available to the students in grade school. Michael started programming at an early age with a career in aerospace engineering predicted by his third-grade teacher. Jumping ahead to the future, Michael was happy to return to the Gorge for that career once Insitu, Cloud Cap and others established in the region. Michael received his degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and worked at NASA Armstrong in California before returning to the Gorge. Michael lives in Husum with his wife and four children.