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Latest News at Airware

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Airware News

  • Airware Partners with NASA to Develop a UAS Traffic Management System

    Airware has partnered with NASA to develop a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system that will enable safe and efficient low-altitude UAS operations.

    Airware offers extremely robust flight control systems for the commercial market that allow for high levels of flexibility to operate a wide range of vehicles and payloads. In addition, Airware has an extensive list of partners who provide some of the best vehicles, payloads, sensors, and software in the commercial UAS space. Bringing this flexibility and ecosystem to the table will provide both NASA and Airware the ability to test and validate a wide range of scenarios to enable the development of the UTM system.

    “To build out a traffic management system for small UAS, you need to test a large number of aircraft - fixed-wing, multirotor, flying-wing, gas-powered, battery-powered and many others, to simulate what will exist in future operational scenarios” said Jesse Kallman, Airware’s Head of Business Development and Regulatory Affairs. “We’re excited to partner with NASA because our technology will allow us both to work towards a common goal of enabling safe and efficient commercial UAS operations, in addition to supplementing the work we are already conducting in the areas of collision avoidance and GPS denied flight, among others.”

    Under this partnership, Airware and NASA will have the ability to operate and test a diverse set of aircraft, sensors, and custom software, such as aircraft spacing, collision avoidance, 4D trajectory modeling, with the same interface and with the level of safety and reliability necessary for commercial use of UAS.

    “We look forward to working with NASA over the next several years as we continue to refine the technology so that UAS will be able to safely operate in the complex U.S. national airspace system,” said Kallman. “Just as we’ve worked closely with the FAA to anticipate regulatory needs, we look forward to this partnership with NASA and hope to help more rapidly introduce commercial UAS technology into the national airspace.”

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  • Airware Raises $25 Million in Series B Financing

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    July 23, 2014 — Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Leads Round; with Participation from Andreessen Horowitz and First Round Capital; KPCB’s Mike Abbott Joins Board

    Airware, creator of a hardware, software, and cloud services platform for commercial drone development and operation, announced today it has raised $25 million in Series B financing. Airware’s aerial information platform enables companies to use highly autonomous commercial drones to collect, analyze, and disseminate the data they need while complying with regulatory and insurance requirements. The latest round is led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and First Round Capital. Mike Abbott, general partner at KPCB, will join Airware’s board, which currently includes Jonathan Downey, Airware’s founder and CEO, and Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

    This funding is part of Airware’s preparation for the commercial launch of its platform later this year and will be used to expand its engineering, sales, marketing, and customer support functions.

    “Commercial drones are creating a revolution in insights and countless industries around the world will soon benefit from access to aerial information that, until now, has been too difficult, dangerous, expensive or downright impossible to get,” said Airware CEO Downey. “To help organizations use drones for any commercial application, we’re building a platform that anyone can customize and build on top of. This funding will accelerate our efforts and we are extremely fortunate that high-caliber investors like Kleiner Perkins are partnering with Airware.”

    Downey founded Airware in 2011 after recognizing the need for a safe, reliable and flexible platform for commercial drone use. Airware’s platform enables customers to tailor drones to any commercial application by seamlessly connecting aircraft, sensors, payloads, and application-specific software. Airware began working with leading commercial drone companies as part of its beta program last year, including Delta Drone and Cyber Technology, and has partnered with researchers from MIT to evaluate the delivery of vaccines and medicines using a network of commercial drones. Late last year, Airware demonstrated drones for wildlife conservation and anti-poaching at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Airware will launch the first version of its product for general availability later this year.

    “Building and operating commercial drones is extremely complex and could be radically simplified with a common, flexible platform, ” said KPCB’s Mike Abbott. “Airware recognized early the opportunity to apply drone intelligence to commercial applications, and is now at the forefront of an industry that will soon experience rapid global expansion. KPCB is excited to support Jonathan and the company on their path as they fuel the commercial drone ecosystem.”

    Abbott brings deep engineering and additional entrepreneurial leadership to Airware’s board, with particular expertise in building organizations and platforms. As former vice president of engineering at Twitter, he grew the engineering team from 80 to more than 350 engineers in less than 18 months to rebuild and solidify Twitter’s infrastructure to support hundreds of millions of daily tweets. Before joining Twitter, Abbott led the software development team at Palm that created HP/Palm’s next-generation webOS platform. Earlier in his career, Abbott was general manager of Microsoft’s .NET online services, which became Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. He was also the founder of Composite Software (acquired by Cisco) and a co-founder of Passenger Inc.

    Airware has raised $40 million to date. The company received $12.2 million in Series A funding in May 2013, led by Andreessen Horowitz with Google Ventures, First Round Capital, and Felicis Ventures participating. It received seed financing from Google Ventures, First Round Capital, Firelake Capital, RRE Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Promus Ventures, and several Y Combinator partners. Airware is a graduate of both Lemnos Labs and Y Combinator incubators.

    Airware is located in San Francisco and is rapidly growing with more than 50 team members. For career opportunities, visit http://airware.com/careers.

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  • Airware Team Heads to AUVSI

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    Airware is a proud exhibitor at AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2014 show. Our team is heading to Orlando, Florida May 12 - 15 to introduce Airware’s Aerial Information Platform for the development and safe operation of commercial drones.

    Meet the Team

    Come by and meet some of Airware’s 45-person team of UAV systems engineers, developers and professionals at the Airware booth #1451, where our customers and partners will show off how Airware powers their vehicles and helps them to engage in a variety of applications and deliver value to their customers.

    Join the Airware Ecosystem

    We are excited to showcase several of our partners’ UAS, including the MLB Superbat and Delta Drone fixed-wing airframes, as well as the Allied Drones and Delta Drone multi-rotor airframes. We’ll also showcase Airware Compatible software and hardware including Trillium gimbals, Tetracam multispectral cameras, Sagetech transponders, Laser Technology laser altimeters, and Persistent Systems communications systems, among others. To learn more about the partnership program, contact us.

    Meet with us at AUVSI

    Come by and speak with our engineers about how Airware’s Aerial Information Platform can safely and reliably power your commercial UAS. Interested in setting up a meeting with Airware at the show? Contact Jesse Kallman: jkallman@airware.com or 415.992.3901.

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  • Airware Opens HQ in San Francisco

  • Poachers Beware: Airware Demonstrates a Drone to Protect African Rhinos

    While many people were holiday shopping, a team of Airware engineers traveled to Kenya to conduct field tests of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to protect rhinos from the threat of poachers. The successful tests demonstrated that drones can be a viable tool for wildlife conservation.

    “The commercial drone space is a major growth market with applications like precision agriculture, infrastructure inspection and search and rescue,” said Airware CEO Jonathan Downey. “In addition to our work developing the next-generation autopilot platform, we’re working on a project that our team cares a lot about — building a drone for conservation.”

    African wildlife is under constant threat. Kenya lost 50 rhinos in 2013 alone. Ol Pejeta is East Africa’s largest black rhino sanctuary and allocates the majority of its budget and personnel to protecting them and other at-risk species. Airware partnered with the Ol Pejeta Conservancy to demonstrate a drone specifically designed for conservation.

    The drone, equipped with Airware’s autopilot platform and control software, acts as both a deterrent and a surveillance tool, sending real-time digital video and thermal imaging feeds of animals – and poachers – to rangers on the ground using both fixed and gimbal-mounted cameras.

    In the event of an incident, the drone can help Ol Pejeta efficiently deploy a security team. And given its cost efficiencies relative to conventional aircraft, the technology will also make it possible for the conservancy to conduct wildlife censuses more frequently and at a fraction of the cost, providing more reliable data for managing its animal population.

    Although the drone conducts sophisticated missions, it requires only minimal training. A ranger can easily configure a flight plan using a simple mapping interface and launch a flight that is autonomous from launch to recovery. As it collects images as well as real-time video, the ranger can tell the aircraft where to go and where to point the camera.

    “The Airware control system is outstanding. It is so easy when something like this works, to take it for granted. This over delivered on my expectations in terms of both simplicity of use and sophistication of capabilities,” said Robert Breare, Commercial Director of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

    While at Ol Pejeta, Airware’s flight team tested multiple airframes including conventional fixed-wing and flying-wing. The team demonstrated bungee and wheeled launches, as well as parachute and wheeled landings. They also flew beyond line of sight testing both range of real-time digital video and contingency plans for loss of communications.

    Brian Richman, Airware Flight Director, recalls a real-world situation that put our autopilot platform to the test. “Our team was testing flight out of line of sight when a lawn mower ran over a cord to our transmitter causing us to lose communication with the aircraft. In the event of a loss of communication, the failsafe designed into our autopilot platform should return the drone home to land autonomously — which is exactly what happened.”

    Contingency plans for loss of communication are something the FAA is interested in as they develop U.S. regulations. Airware is providing feedback and expertise based on our operational experience to help the FAA as they develop rules and standards for how small UAVs will be operated in the national airspace.

    Airware’s team was thrilled with the autopilot platform’s performance during its two weeks at Ol Pejeta. Not only did the prototype have to withstand Kenya’s rugged landscape, it had to work effectively within the conservancy’s limited infrastructure.

    “It surpassed all of our expectations. We still have more development to do but we’re extremely encouraged and quite proud to be pioneering drones that can preserve some of our planet’s most threatened species,” said Downey.

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