The Optimus UAV. Photo: Airobotics

Airobotics, an Israel based developer of automated industrial drone based systems completed an investment round raising $32.5 million to strengthen its industrial and mining solutions and expand into new applications.

“This fundraising enables us to continue to expand, within industrial facilities, and with our newly launched Defense division. Our next stop – automated drones in cities,” says Ran Krauss, CEO and Co-Founder at Airobotics. The company announced today its new division of Homeland Security and Defense, as well as its new “Airobotics Safe Cities” initiative: using fully automated drones to perform emergency critical applications in cities.

Airobotics has developed a fully automated end-to-end drone solution, used for collecting data and gaining aerial insights. The system uses the Optimus – a large, high capacity multi-rotor drone capable of flying 30-minute missions while carrying a one-kilogram mission specific payload and the Airbase – an automated base station from which the Optimus drone launches and lands on its own, without any human intervention.

This first of its kind solution reduces risks and costs associated with drone operations while improving efficiency. Its current solutions apply to industrial facilities such as mine sites, refineries, seaports, oil and gas facilities and more. Airobotics was the first company to be granted authorization to fly fully automated drones without a pilot, by the certification by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI).

An optimus drone taking off from its ‘autonomous airbase’. Photo: Airobotics
Airobotics test site demonstrates how an operational site of Optimus UAVs operates completely autonomously, with drones operating from ‘airbase’ launch pads, from which drones take off, land and recharge automatically, with no human assistance. Missions are also performed autonomously, with mission data transferred to the control center in real time. Photo: Airobotics

The certification followed two years of preparations and inspections, as the system went through rigorous field testing and product verification processes, accumulating more than 10,000 flight hours and automated flight cycles. “This milestone has the potential to impact industries ranging from mining, security, and construction to agriculture and energy,” Krauss said, adding that fully certified autonomous drones will optimize processes such as surveying, inspections, and security of critical infrastructure.

While Airobotics’ Optimus drone system was developed initially for industrial use, the system’s certification opens applications beyond industrial ones, including live traffic analysis, real-time surveillance and reconnaissance in emergency response situations, and more.

“By offering an automated drone that launches, flies and lands on its own, collects and processes limitless data and even completes its own maintenance including battery changing and payload swapping in its protective air base, we’ve created an industrial multi-tool solution the likes of which the world had not previously seen,” Krauss explains.

One of the investors in the recent round was BlueRun Ventures China. “Airobotics is a game changer, which has successfully matched revolutionary drone technologies with real industrial needs.” says Jiajie Wu, Executive Director, BlueRun Ventures China. “we believe Airobotics will see substantial opportunities in Asia, which is one of the world’s largest industrial markets.”

Airobotics plans to apply for unmanned flight certification from a number of aviation authorities in nations worldwide, beginning with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia. Airobotics is also expanding into the United States.

The airbase serving the autonomous Optimus drone provides a landing pad, recharging, inspection and protected storage for the system. Photo: Airobotics.