Drone tech company Airobotics takes flight with $30 million in funding

A few years ago, the idea of a flying drone seemed a bit futuristic. Now, these autonomous flying plastic buzzards are more real than ever and equipped to deliver burritos and boxes and messages, like space-aged courier pigeons. One company that’s developing this technology is Valley-based Airobotics, an automated drone developer looking to put drone technology to work for military defense and mining operations.

Now, Airobotics is one step closer to mass-producing their drones with a recent $30 million shot in the arm. The developer raised the sizable amount through additional rounds of funding and will use the money to boost its manufacturing efforts to meet demand head on.

Last year, the company netted $32.5 million in funding to manufacture more drones, especially for defense and homeland security clients. The company and its clients are seeing the potential of using the tech to keep borders monitored and to do recon work along rural routes near the country’s borders. The company was originally based in Israel, but found its way west (way west) and landed in Arizona for its built-in growth potential.

Airobotics has garnered serious interest from mining companies throughout the entire western hemisphere to develop drones that can be used to research tunnels, caverns and other giant holes in the earth for mining operations. When it comes to the defense industry, the drones can be used to monitor terrorism and other kinds of warfare.

“Mining continues to be Airobotics’ leading industry of focus. Additional industrial sectors such as energy, utilities, oil & gas and construction are industries Airobotics will be expanding to in the future,” says Efrat Fenigson, VP of Marketing for Airobotics. “We’re looking forward to growing our Arizona headquarters as well, hiring some great talent, and bringing our drone solution to companies across the Americas.”

Airobotics will be able to increase production and streamline the overall process of supplying its clients with drones. Seeing that it is involved with defense industry clients the company will most likely look to keep those efforts here in the United States instead of back in its Tel Aviv global headquarters. It will also use some of the funding to expand its U.S. reach right here in Arizona with its American headquarters based in Scottsdale.

“Arizona was the top choice for our Americas headquarters due to its strong mining industry, great weather conditions for flying drones, and potential partners,” adds Fenigson. “There are several organizations, in the city, regional and state level, who are here to assist new companies and startups taking their first step in expanding into the state.”

Currently, its mining clients include BHP here in Arizona, South 32 in Australia, Vale in Brazil, and more work seen in Chile. Besides flying its drones through holes in the earth, Airobotics is also snatching contracts by doing security detail for companies like Intel, where it’s already flying fully autonomous drones on premises.

Drone technology, initially seen as a nightmarish tech dream decades ago before turning into a toy industry darling, has been quietly advancing in recent years. While the mainstream chatter around drone technology on a consumer scale may be focused on Amazon orders, companies like Airobotics are finding ways to harness and fine-tune it to be a multifaceted technology.

“Airobotics will broaden its focus to urban operations, providing time-critical aerial emergency responses. We hold the potential to become a significant player in this field, having accumulated tens of thousands of successful automated flights in real life deployments,” says Fenigson.

Nick Esquer

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