Two lines of business dominate robot manufacturing company iRobot: the marquee vacuum, Roomba, and another one that gets rid of bombs. And, according to TechCrunch, citing iRobot Cofounder Helen Greiner, the company’s success has been dependent on both products.
But Greiner’s new focus seems to be on CyPhy Works, a drone company that has raised $22 million, most recently via Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the latest round, with participation from Motorola Venture Solutions and Draper Nexus, alongside earlier investors General Catalyst Partners and Lux Capital. The total funding raised to date has been $30 million through venture capital investments.
TechCrunch said Tuesday (Oct. 13) that the company is about to start manufacturing Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications drones — PARC drones for short. And these particular drones are able to fly upwards of 500 feet and hang stationary at those altitudes for 100 hours. The key tech ingredient is a microfilament that powers communications and the drone itself and is tied to the ground, offering a secure anchor in inclement weather.
Thus far, PARC drones have been used by the United States military in monitoring operations. The drones themselves can also carry various kinds of payloads, and as the FAA has relaxed certain rules, according to TechCrunch, other industries might adopt them, from media companies to mining companies. One investor, says Greiner, has been Motorola, which has given CyPhy “access to international connections, especially in the Far East.”
One competitive advantage, according to Grenier: the absence of a gimbal, which has been instrumental in keeping drones horizontal but which breaks down on occasion. Without the gimbal, said Grenier, the drones prove more durable.
In other drone-related news, earlier this year the federal government said that Amazon had been granted approval to move its drones beyond the testing stage. And as has been reported, bringing drones to mail delivery may be an eCommerce strategy for the Internet giant.
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