SANTA MONICA — AirMap, the world’s leading airspace management platform for drones, has raised a $26 million Series B funding round led by Microsoft Ventures, with additional participation from Airbus Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures (the investment arm of Qualcomm Incorporated), Rakuten, Sony, Yuneec, and existing investors General Catalyst and Lux Capital. The new investment brings AirMap’s total funding to more than $43 million.
The Series B funding round will bring AirMap’s airspace management platform and Unmanned aircraft Traffic Management (UTM) solutions to new markets worldwide, as AirMap opens offices in Berlin, Germany and at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.
“The strategic partners participating in our Series B financing reflect the diversity of the drone ecosystem and the potential of drones to benefit every sector of our economy,” said AirMap CEO Ben Marcus, who also serves as the industry co-chair for the FAA/industry Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team. “Very soon, millions of drones will fly billions of flights. This is a future that depends on safe, autonomous drone operations at scale. AirMap’s technology will make this future possible, allowing the drones of today, and the autonomous drones of tomorrow, to take flight.”
New Series B investors joining AirMap’s network of partners include:
Microsoft Ventures – The investment in AirMap aligns with the company’s ambition to power a safe drone ecosystem.
Airbus Ventures – Airbus has long-term experience with air traffic management and is actively participating in the emerging drone ecosystem. Airbus Ventures and AirMap will collaborate to facilitate the safe integration of autonomous vehicles into the airspace, from delivery drones to flying taxis.
Qualcomm Ventures –The drone of the future will have airspace services like AirMap’s directly embedded into onboard computing systems, such as the Qualcomm® Snapdragon Flight drone platform, a highly optimized platform targeted specifically for consumer drones and robotics applications. The advanced computing power will deliver robust data and services to support autonomous navigation, beyond visual line of sight.
Rakuten – Rakuten is the operator of Japan’s leading online shopping mall and one of the world’s leading internet services companies. Rakuten launched the Sora Raku Rakuten Drone service in April 2016 and has worked with local partners to carry out a number of groundbreaking drone delivery flights in Japan.
Sony – Sony is a pioneer in the commercial drone business in Japan through its Sony group affiliate, Aerosense Inc. Sony seeks to expand its drone business globally by leveraging broad technology assets within the Sony group, as well as strong partnerships with innovative startups such as AirMap. Sony is making its investment in AirMap through its Sony Innovation Fund.
Yuneec – Yuneec is a leader in electric aviation with drones focused on hobby, consumer and commercial customers. Yuneec and AirMap are looking forward to working together to ensure a future in which drones are even safer and easier to fly.
The AirMap platform powers the vast majority of the world’s drones, providing the industry’s most comprehensive, reliable, and real-time airspace information and services. Millions of drones and hundreds of drone manufacturers and developers rely on the platform to access and share the data they need to fly safely in low-altitude airspace. AirMap’s data and services are embedded into drones, ground control stations, and flight apps by top drone makers, such as DJI, Intel, senseFly, 3DR, and Aeryon Labs – expanding the reach of AirMap’s technology and solutions throughout the entire drone ecosystem.
AirMap has also emerged as a leader in worldwide efforts to build technologies for UTM, the regulatory and technological framework that will facilitate data exchange and air traffic control for drones, and eventually, flying cars. More than 125 airports use AirMap’s airspace management dashboard to open surrounding airspace to drones, view past and current drone flights, accept digital flight notices, and communicate with drone operators. The AirMap platform also provides solutions for geofencing, remote identification of drones, and sophisticated in-flight deconfliction.
“AirMap is a leader in low-altitude airspace management, and will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the drone industry,” said Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president, Microsoft Ventures. “We’re excited to support their growth and, by extension, the growth of commercial and recreational applications for both piloted and autonomous drones. We believe that by investing in companies like AirMap, Microsoft’s resources, platforms and AI technologies can help fuel the future of the drone ecosystem.”
“At Airbus Ventures, we aim to accelerate and facilitate urban air mobility by making investments in related key technologies,” said Thomas d’Halluin, CEO of Airbus Ventures. “Our goal is to help unlock the underlying technologies that will bring about rapid, widespread adoption and transform the whole system of urban travel. We are proud to collaborate with AirMap in helping build the essential safety infrastructure to introduce and secure traffic patterns for autonomous vehicles into the airspace.”