Airware has unveiled its Aerial Information Platform (AIP), an operating system for commercial drones that combines hardware, software, and cloud services to enable enterprises to safely operate drones at scale, comply with regulatory and insurance requirements, and rapidly develop industry-specific drone solutions. The Airware AIP helps companies capture and analyze valuable aerial data for a wide variety of commercial applications, including infrastructure inspection, land management, public safety, environmental monitoring, surveying and mapping, precision agriculture, search and rescue, and wildlife conservation. In an industry that lacks standardization across the growing number of drone and sensor manufacturers, the Airware AIP brings a welcome solution by enabling flexible integration of a wide variety of compatible aircraft and an ecosystem of third-party sensors, cameras, software apps, and data analysis tools.
The Airware AIP is unparalleled in its ability to support the needs of enterprise customers, whose biggest priorities include safety and reliability; corporate, regulatory, and insurance compliance; and scalability of data collection, analysis, and dissemination. No other platform is built and tested to high-quality aerospace standards and designed to scale for large companies. The AIP will offer aircraft fleet management, user authentication, data management, and the ability to integrate workflows and data with existing business systems, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), geographic information systems (GIS), and asset management. The platform is intuitive and easy to use, requires minimal training, and enables sophisticated autonomous flight with geofencing and contingency management features.
“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. “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 Airware’s first large enterprise customer. Airware will work with GE on a variety of commercial drone applications for their customers. GE Ventures made an investment in Airware in November.
“We are currently developing drone solutions for our customers,” said Alex Tepper, managing director at GE Ventures. “Drones have the ability to reduce downtime, increase safety, and provide more reliable operations for our customers and we believe that Airware is going to be a key partner in helping us deliver these solutions.”
Airware’s platform has also been in use by a number of drone manufacturers and service providers from around the world as part of Airware’s beta program, including Delta Drone (France), Altavian (Florida), Allied Drones (California), and Drone America (Nevada). Today the AIP becomes available to additional qualified 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.”
Today Airware is releasing the first three components of its Aerial Information Platform – Flight Core, which includes on-aircraft hardware, and software enabling autonomous flight; Ground Control Station Software, for aircraft flight planning, control, and monitoring; and Configuration Manager, software that enables operators to quickly configure Airware and third-party hardware and software for use across a variety of aircraft and applications.
In the coming months, Airware will enhance the AIP by releasing Airware Cloud, a suite of cloud features that will give operators the ability to plan and manage flight operations at greater scale, manage internal and external approvals, meet insurance, corporate, and government compliance requirements, analyze sensor data, and share information across their organization. With third-party integrations, the platform will help turn aerial data into meaningful insights via image and data processing services.
This summer, the Airware App Core will further enhance the capabilities of the AIP by enabling additional customization of hardware and software on Airware-powered drones. App Core is a powerful quad-core computer providing a rich SDK enabling developers to create drone apps that can connect with the Flight Core, Ground Control Station Software, Airware Cloud, and third-party hardware and software. App Core will power image processing, advanced path planning, vision-based navigation and obstacle avoidance, real-time decision making, and will enable virtually any hardware to be made Airware-compatible, including LiDAR, multispectral cameras, thermal sensors, still and video cameras, gimbals, and more.
Airware’s AIP is available by subscription, a business model targeted at aligning costs with a customer’s ability to generate revenue or ongoing cost savings by leveraging drones. The subscription includes hardware, software, cloud services, and support.
Airware also announced today that it has received an undisclosed investment from Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment arm. Intel manufactures some of the high-performance, low-power processors that will power part of the AIP.
Airware develops an operating system for commercial drones, allowing enterprises to take full advantage of aerial data for any commercial application. Airware’s Aerial Information Platform combines hardware, software, and cloud services to enable companies to quickly customize, efficiently manage, and safely and reliably operate commercial drones at scale. Based in San Francisco, Airware has gathered a cross-disciplinary team of experts in aerospace, robotics, geospatial, hardware, software, and cloud. Founded in 2011, 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.
Sources: Press Release, CNBC