Fargo, ND based startup, Botlink, just announced a $500,000 seed investment that closed in Q1 of this year. The company creates a cloud-based drone control application which it touts will simplify, and increase the safety of, drone operations.
Founded on March 5, 2014, by CEO Shawn Muehler, a military pilot, and Alex Kube, a software engineer, the company’s mission is to make drone operation simple, safe, and secure to operate for the average consumer.
“We see a huge market need for actually being able to incorporate drones within the airspace system throughout the entire world, not only the U.S.,” Muehler told Doug Hamilton on Main Street, a Fargo, ND based radio show (link to that interview here).
The platform uses GPS and available FAA data to plot the speed, course, and distance of drones in relation to nearby controlled and uncontrolled airspace as well as other manned and unmanned aircraft. According to a statement from the company, their platform operates under 100% regulation compliance via pop-up alerts and advisory warnings, along with weather radar depictions.
Botlink says their app will increase both a drone operators’ situational awareness and the overall safety of any given flight. According to the company, the app can provide fully automated drone control with manual drag and drop hand flying, communication, collaboration, and data distribution, making it easier for other aircraft and air traffic controllers to know what the operators’ drone might be doing. The result is the ability of an operator to gain situational awareness of their flight, requiring little-to-no in air control from the ground, other than that provided pre-flight by the operator.
Botlink also boasts worldwide coverage of all weather radar depictions, airspace and regulation compliance measures, although aircraft avoidance alerts are displayed only in areas in which ADS-B coverage is guaranteed through FAA and commercial sources. Also, control of the drone is only guaranteed in line-of-sight via either radio dongle or through cellular coverage in areas of 2G or better.
The company offers three tiers of their app: the first is a free version available to anyone, the second tier allows users to communicate with air traffic control and a third tier operates with a dashboard and is intended mainly for commercial use.
The company claims their system makes it safe for drone operators with zero experience in flying drones. If true, this could be quite useful for less experienced operators trying to gain an edge with new technology.
Investment in drone companies and drone based tech services, especially as it applies to agricultural use, has skyrocketed in the past five years, becoming one of the fastest growing agriculture sub-industries.
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