Big day in the drone sphere as Airware, the most heavily venture backed drone company in Silicon Valley, made it known it had received an undisclosed investment from Intel Capital, Intel’s investment arm. The information came on the back of the long awaited release of Airware’s drone operating system, AIP.
AIP (Aerial Information Platform) combines hardware, software and cloud services to help companies manage their drones. Airware touts the ease with which enterprises can adapt their existing drone fleet to address new commercial applications with their new system, and it’s hard not to believe them. (See for yourself: Watch it the video here.)
According to Airware, AIP offers autonomous flight software and modular hardware. Taking a page from the smart phone app playbook is the company’s drone app development program, allowing programmers to sign up to develop ground, on-aircraft and cloud apps for use across the selection of Airware Compatible products.
“Commercial drones will change the way we do our jobs, improve our decision-making, and save lives. Today we launch the Aerial Information Platform, the operating system for commercial drones, to enable enterprises to put drones to work,” said Jonathan Downey, founder and CEO of Airware, in a statement on the company’s website. “We designed the Aerial Information Platform for enterprise needs and created the most reliable, insurable, and extensible solution for operating commercial drones at scale. We look forward to helping customers capture aerial data and make it more useful and actionable than ever before.”
GE will become one of Airwares’ first new customers. GE Ventures made an investment in the company in November, and GE and Airware plan to work together on a variety of commercial drone applications for their customers.
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The platform was field tested by Delta Drone (France), Altavian (Florida), Allied Drones (California), and Drone America (Nevada). All of which are reputable drone manufacturers.
“We have been testing Airware’s product for a variety of applications in France, including mining surveys, precision agriculture, industrial inspection, and forestry,” said Christian F. Viguié, chairman and CEO of Delta Drone. “Airware provides the market with a full spectrum of products that bring real added value to our systems and enables us to develop new services to fulfill our customers’ needs. They are building a powerful ecosystem that unites this growing market.”
Founded in 2011 and based in San Francisco, Airware has raised more than $40 million to date from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, First Round Capital, Google Ventures, GE Ventures, and Intel Capital. Airware graduated from the Y Combinator accelerator in 2013.
As we’ve been telling you quite often, it’s a good time to be a drone company, large and small. Botlink, a Fargo, ND based startup reported seed earnings this month for Q1 of 2015, and Drone Deploy reported $9 million in first round Series A financing on March 31.
The last five years has seen an astronomical increase in investment in the drone industry.
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