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Drone Startup Kittyhawk To Get Investments From Boeing HorizonX Ventures

Drone Startup Kittyhawk To Get Investments From Boeing HorizonX Ventures
The HorizonX venture capital arm of Boeing will make a significant investment in a San Francisco startup called Kittyhawk that is engaged in offering end-to-end software solutions for autonomous drone operations, the aircraft maker announced recently.
This investment was made while Boeing was participating in a seed funding round worth $5 billion that was led by Bonfire Ventures and where participating parties also included Freestyle Capital and Kluz Ventures’ The Flying Object. The exact amount of money in the investment round was not disclosed by Boeing.
The aim of the investment in the software of Kittyhawk is developing a traffic management system that would allow the safe coexistence of that allows piloted and autonomous vehicles. Boeing said.  
“When paired with the broad portfolio of complementary data service offerings within Boeing, Kittyhawk is poised to help us shape the future of safe autonomous flight,” Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures, said in a media release.
Dennis A. Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing tweeted: “Investing in Kittyhawkio’s proven tech will help accelerate our work in autonomous flight—a key part of our future. “:
Expansion of the operational range of unmanned aircraft systems is already being done by Kittyhawk in partnership with Jeppesen - which is a subsidiary of Boeing. Together, these two firms are participating in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, or LAANC program.
Integration of autonomous aircraft, cargo delivery and operations beyond visual line of sight safely into airspace through the creation of modes of operation and a collective effort is the primary target of the LAANC program. It is expected that almost 300 air traffic facilities throughout the United States would be participating in the program.
With clients in media, insurance, energy and rail transportation in addition to fire and emergency management agencies and founded in 2015, Kittyhawk has grown its customer base significantly over the short period of time. The company offers a new software feature termed as Hawkeye which makes use of artificial intelligence to aid lesser number of people managing larger number of flights.
“Boeing’s world-renowned aviation expertise and resources will help Kittyhawk continue to mature our enterprise offerings,” Joshua Ziering, founder and chief pilot of Kittyhawk, said in a news release. “Boeing’s long history of forging new industries within the aerospace sector will also help as Kittyhawk continues its mission to create robust, open and interoperable standards to empower the commercial drone industry.”
The latest funding round helped Kittyhawk raise capital of up to $6.5 million, the firm said.
Boeing created its investing arm HorizonX Ventures about a year ago with the aim of investing in ventures and technologies that can be used to the frontiers of aerospace and they range from autonomous systems to artificial intelligence and virtual reality. There are currently 13 companies in its portfolio.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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