Airobotics selects Arizona to expand its data-driven automated drone solution
Israeli startup opens U.S. headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, to lead Americas’ business
Leading Israeli automated drone startup Airobotics launched its North American headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they will run all North America, South America and Central America operations. Airobotics has created the only data-driven, fully automated solution enabling a new dimension of data collection and insights.
The company is headquartered in Israel and has offices in Australia, as well as additional operations in Chile and New Caledonia. The Scottsdale office is intended to become the company’s global headquarters as Airobotics continues to scale. BHP, the world’s largest mining company, is Airobotics’ first customer in the U.S.
“When deciding where to launch our first U.S. office, Arizona was the top choice for us as it has a strong mining industry, great weather conditions for drone testing, and potential partners we’re excited to work with. The state and local governments are very supportive of autonomous and aviation technologies and the UAV industry specifically, aligning with our plans to operate UAVs Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) in the U.S.,” said Ran Krauss, CEO and co-founder of Airobotics.
“The drive for digitalization is vital as companies look for ways to improve productivity and business, which can lead to higher profits that flow back to the state, as well as create new types of jobs related to aerial data, data analysis, development and remote operations. As we continue to grow our services in the mining industry, we’re excited to have talented professionals in Arizona join our team and help us bring mines and other industrial sites into the digital data era.”
What types of positions will they be hiring for?
Airobotics plans to grow the Scottsdale team to 80 employees by the end of 2019, focusing on recruiting local technology, operations and sales talent.
To learn more about Airobtics’ impact on Greater Phoenix, we sat down with Matan Yemini Airobotics General Manager America, to discuss the company’s history and projected goals.
What other markets did your company consider for expansion?
We’ve been expanding operations in Australia for the past 1.5 years and we began work in New Caledonia and Chile with mining customers this year. Over the next two years, we plan to continue expansion into South America and Asia.
What makes your company different and unique?
Airobotics’ fully automated solution is certified to fly drones without a human operator, paving the way for industrial drones to operate without a human pilot. Our solution is declared by regulators (Civil Aviation Authorities) as more reliable and safer than any human-operated drone.
The Airobotics end-to-end drone solution goes far beyond standard drone options. We have the unique capability of swapping the drone’s batteries and payloads, using a robotic arm, allowing for a diversity of payloads and mission types. Our platform is able to automatically self-launch and land time after time accurately.
This is the only solution that automates the entire operation – in the air and on the ground, including automatic pre-flight checks, downloading, processing and transmitting data. Our industrial-grade drones can fly in heavy rain and wind of up to 20 knots, with gusts of 30 miles per hour for up to 40 minutes.
How would you characterize your company’s growth over the past couple of years?
We have been experiencing a stage of hyper-growth over the past year growing to over 240 employees worldwide.
We began a partnership with Shapir-Ashtrom to survey the construction of Israel’s new seaport, intended to develop the coastline areas and increase maritime traffic and commerce. In May 2018, we expanded our operations to Chile, thanks to an exclusive distribution partnership with mining engineering company RockBlast. Additionally, we expanded our operations to New Caledonia as well.
In April 2018, we announced that former Facebook and Google executive Richard Wooldridge joined the company as the new Chief Operating Officer. Richard has been helping us scale and expand Airobotics’ operations.
What are your plans in the next 5-10 years?
We plan on expanding geographically to countries that can receive the highest value out of our service applications in oil, gas and seaports. We’re looking forward to growing our Arizona headquarters by hiring quality talent and bringing our aerial data and drone solutions to companies across the Americas.
We’re also working to achieve the level of certification we achieved in Israel, and in other countries around the world. Airobotics has been granted the world’s first certification for fully automated drone flights that do not require a human pilot. We’ve been granted this unprecedented approval for fully automated commercial drone flights with no human pilot by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel. What this certification essentially says is that the actions and decisions that once had to be completed by a certified drone pilot can now be completed by the Airobotics system. No further certification is required for the Airobotics automated drone to be used – operations can be left entirely up to the drone. This eliminates the tedious process of training and certifying a human pilot, the expense of having one available, and the potential for human error.
Some of our long-term plans include our Developer Program. Our plan is to become the app store of drone platforms. The developer program is an open ecosystem for the developer community to provide a wide selection of tools to accomplish the vital tasks clients need for their businesses. Our system has a dynamic, swappable payload mechanism design. Partners can create new payloads that integrate new sensors and other tools to the drone. Our software is both a complete operating system and an open platform, designed with scale in mind. Third parties can build and customize the payloads, along with software apps to support and manage various new missions.
In 3-6 years, another long-term goal of ours is to integrate our drone platform into smart cities for emergency services. Civil and federal aviation authorities are making their first steps in permitting drone companies to fly in urban areas to test various use cases. The applications relate mostly to emergency response and have the potential to transform an urban environment into a smarter, safer city. The use cases include transplant and medical device delivery, fire and rescue efforts, law enforcement assistance, real-time disaster management, traffic management, safety supervision and more.
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.
What advice would you give to other companies seeking global expansion to Greater Phoenix, Arizona?
Take advantage of the various organizations in Greater Phoenix who are here to assist new companies and startups taking their first step in expanding into the state. There are many great organizations in the city, regional and state level.
When it comes to sourcing skilled talent, finding offices, seeking experts such as lawyers and accountants, receiving information on available funds or grants and acquiring exposure to media and press, these organizations are great resources to utilize.
Highlights from the Community
“Greater Phoenix continues to attract innovative companies and the expansion of Airobotics is just yet another example of this growth. We’re excited about their new North American Headquarters being located in Scottsdale and are confident they’ll find great success in the region.” — Chris Camacho, president & CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council
“When an innovative international company like Airobotics chooses not only to expand here, but also establish its North American headquarters here, that says something about the endless opportunities available here in Arizona. We look forward to the company’s growth and welcome its contributions as we continue to develop Unmanned Aerial Systems technology in our state.” — Doug Ducey, Arizona governor
“We are glad to welcome Airobotics to their new North American headquarters in Scottsdale. As an innovative company focused on expanding the boundaries of new technologies and putting them to work, they could not have picked a better base of operations. Here, Airobotics will join similarly passionate and creative companies and benefit from Scottsdale’s positive business climate and world-class quality of life. We appreciate their choice of Scottsdale.” — J. “Jim” Lane, Scottsdale mayor
The Future of Drone Automation and Innovation
Airobotics’ automated solution represents the next generation of drone operations, overtaking standard piloted services which are expensive, inaccurate and not always available. They were the first company worldwide to be granted authorization to fly fully automated pilotless drones, certified by Civil Aviation Authority of Israel. The startup has been experiencing a hyper-growth stage, raising $71 million in funding to date and growing from 80 to 200 employees in its first year.
Airobotics has recently been honored by The Wall Street Journal as one of Top 25 Tech Companies to Watch in 2018 and as one of the world’s “Most Innovative Companies” by Fast Company. The company received Frost & Sullivan’s 2018 Global New Product Innovation Award and the 2017 Edison Award for innovation and excellence as well.