3D Robotics Raises $50M for Drone Expansion

On the heels of the Federal Aviation Administration’s recently proposed regulations on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), California-based 3D Robotics successfully raised $50 million Wednesday led by Qualcomm Ventures. This round of funding is the largest yet by a U.S. based consumer drone producer, and boosts 3D Robotics total amount raised to $85 million.

The company plans to use the funding to expand their software and hardware products and intends to work with Qualcomm to further utilize that company’s Snapdragon processors, a platform designed for use with tablets and smartphones.

3D Robotics’ cofounder and former Wired Magazine editor, Chris Anderson said in a statement that, “The incredible pace of innovation in the smartphone industry is transforming many adjacent industries, including drones. By working with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., we can bring advanced computing to the skies at an increasing pace. Such multi-gigahertz Linux-based onboard computing platforms, combined with state-of-the-art cameras and other sensors and wireless technologies, will allow us to create next-gen drones that are smarter, easier, and safer than ever before.”

Founded by Anderson and Jordi Munoz in 2009, 3D Robotics, which is expected to reach sales of $50 million dollars this year, as reported by the BBC, has offices in three cities as well as a factory in Tijuana and is North Amerca’s largest personal drone manufacturer. The company produces a number of personal drones geared toward consumer use in photography and mapping as well as drone parts and accessories.

3D Robotics raised an undisclosed amount from Richard Branson last year, and today’s development is another bright spot for an industry expected to have an economic impact of $13.6 billion in the first three years of integration.

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