Is­raeli drone start-up awarded unique US op­er­a­tions waiver

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By EYTAN HALON

Airobotics, a Pe­tah Tikva-based start-up that man­u­fac­tures in­dus­trial drones, has be­come the first com­pany to re­ceive a US Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FAA) cer­tifi­cate of waiver to ini­ti­ate Be­yond Vis­ual Line of Sight op­er­a­tions.

The FAA cer­tifi­cate per­mits Airobotics to fly au­to­mated drone op­er­a­tions without a hu­man ob­server main­tain­ing a vis­ual line of sight on the drone. Airobotics can there­fore con­duct drone ac­tiv­ity any­where on Earth from its Re­mote Op­er­a­tions Cen­ter in Scotts­dale, Ari­zona. That fa­cil­ity is set to be­come the com­pany’s global head­quar­ters as world­wide op­er­a­tions con­tinue ex­pand­ing.

The com­pany col­lects ae­rial data to ad­dress the needs of com­plex in­dus­trial en­vi­ron­ments - in­clud­ing min­ing, sea­ports, and oil and gas fa­cil­i­ties. In Septem­ber 2017, Airobotics opened a di­vi­sion fo­cus­ing on home­land se­cu­rity and de­fense.

“We re­cently opened our US head­quar­ters in Ari­zona and this lat­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion opens the gate­ways to of­fer­ing Amer­i­can min­ing com­pa­nies, sea­ports, ma­jor con­struc­tion pro­jects, and in the fu­ture smart cities, an op­ti­mal means of in­creas­ing ef­fi­ciency and safety while de­creas­ing op­er­a­tional costs,” said Airobotics CEO and co-founder Ran Krauss. “As our unique pi­lot­less drone tech­nol­ogy and in­dus­trial grade plat­form con­tin­ues break­ing new ground, we are able to pro­vide cus­tomers with a more ac­cu­rate and fre­quent data-driven so­lu­tion that is the only one of its class in the in­dus­try.”

Named as one of The Wall Street Jour­nal’s top 25 tech com­pa­nies to watch this year, Airobotics was cer­ti­fied by the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity of Is­rael to fly fully au­to­mated, pi­lot­less drones in March 2017, af­ter a two-year test­ing and prod­uct ver­i­fi­ca­tion process based on in­ter­na­tional stan­dards for un­manned ae­rial ve­hi­cles. The com­pany also holds a com­mer­cial li­cense from the Aus­tralian Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Au­thor­ity.

The com­pany’s au­to­matic plat­form is com­prised of three parts: “Op­ti­mus” – a high-ca­pac­ity drone ca­pa­ble of fly­ing 30-minute mis­sions with a one-kg. mis­sion-spe­cific pay­load; “Air­base” – a fully-au­to­mated base sta­tion from which the drone launches and lands without hu­man in­ter­ven­tion; and “Soft­ware” – a dy­namic plat­form en­abling users to con­trol and man­age mis­sions with one click.

In Oc­to­ber, Airobotics an­nounced the re­ceipt of $30 mil­lion in a fourth round of fund­ing, bring­ing its to­tal cap­i­tal raised to $101m. The in­creased fi­nance will en­able the com­pany to fur­ther scale op­er­a­tions in the United States.

Pav­il­ion Cap­i­tal led the round of fund­ing in part­ner­ship with BlueRun Ven­tures, Charles River Ven­tures, Jerusalem-based OurCrowd and pri­vate in­vestors.

(Nir Elias/Reuters)

OP­TI­MUS, A DRONE man­u­fac­tured by Airobotics, is seen dur­ing a demon­stra­tion for Reuters in Pe­tah Tikva in 2017.

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