AirMap Raises $15 M For Drone Airspace Management System



image source: TechCrunch

As more and more drone operators take off, airspace management is going to continue becoming a bigger issue. Just as airports have traffic controllers managing planes overhead, having a way to manage drones flying in the same airspace will be necessary. Enter AirMap, a startup that's aiming to provide drone operators with airspace information so theyknow where it's safe to fly. Airmap has raised a $15 million Series A funding round to do this, and I see the tool becoming invaluable to drone operators.

source: http://techcrunch.com/2016/04/07/airmap-raises-15m-series-a-round-to-dev...

A number of major consumer drone companies, including 3DR and DJI, already use AirMaps’ services. The company also recently announced a collaboration with some of the U.S.’s largest airports that will allow drone fliers to share the real-time location of their flights with them.

The company says it plans to use the new funding to accelerate the development of its airspace management tools.

“Our commitment is to help make drones a part of everyday life,” said AirMap CEO Ben Marcus in today’s announcement. “We fundamentally believe in the transformational impact of this technology. Thousands of innovators are developing amazing applications for drones, ranging from package delivery and industrial inspection to precision agriculture, and public safety. Building a safe and efficient operating environment for drones helps to take these applications from experimental to mainstream.”

In addition to today’s funding announcement, the company also announced that it is adding three new members to its advisory board. These include former Alaska Airlines CEO Bill Ayer, the former CEO of the UK’s National Air Traffic Services Richard Deakin, and Graham Richard, the CEO of Advanced Energy Economy.

It’s worth noting that mapping is clearly just a first step for AirMap and similar companies. The real goal is to build navigation systems for commercial drone operations. It’ll take a few years before those become routine, though, so for the time being, AirMap and others are building the necessary foundations to enable those operations in the future.