Reliable Robotics lifts $100M to take autonomous cargo planes where none have gone before

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When flying cargo from one part of the world to another, you typically need a pilot for two parts: take-off and landing. As beautifully outlined in the 1980 film by Jim Abraham! Airplane – The rest of the time, you’re so beautiful on devices. Reliable Robotics Instead, the goal is to solve that pesky-to-have-a-pilot-in-the-plane problem, by keeping the pilot on the ground when needed, and leaving the plane for the rest to find their destination. of time Cotu Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, Eclipse Ventures, Teamworthy Ventures and Pathbreaker Ventures all believe this is the future, to support the Mountain View, California-based company with $130 million of total funding. The company today announced its $100 million Series C funding, led by Quote Management.

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The funds will go to grow the team and support its first aircraft certification program – working towards commercial cargo operations. In the first instance, the company is working on automation systems for existing aircraft. They are experimenting and developing using a Cessna 172, which began flying unmanned flights a few years ago.

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Back in September 2019, Reliable Robotics flew a Cessna 172 at the airfield outside San Jose, Calif., with no one on board.

The company was established in 2017 and was operating in stealth mode till last year. Its technology handles all phases of flight, including taxi, takeoff, landing and parking, while licensed pilots remotely monitor flights from the control center. Reliable Robotics shows that the systems they have developed are capable of auto-landing on short airstrips in rural or remote areas without the need for additional infrastructure or technology at airports.

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The business case is simple: with the same restrictions as road-based trucking operations, pilot cargo operations are the most expensive aspects of running: the vast majority of trucking is boring and monotonous work where drivers are the most common source of failure. In the air, replacing qualified pilots with autonomous systems that can be overridden from the ground means costs are reduced, and aircraft use skyrockets.

Who needs pilots anyway? image credit: Reliable Robotics

“We believe Reliable Robotics is the leader in aircraft automation for commercial aviation,” said Jamin Rangwala, a senior managing director at Cotue. “We were impressed by the team’s clear vision, measured certification progress, and track record of industry achievement. We are proud and excited to support Reliable’s goal of being the first to deliver FAA-certified, remotely operated systems to market.

The main selling point of the company is to connect regional and municipal airports across the country. For starters, the company is focusing on increasing efficiency and reducing cargo handling costs. Reliable robotics also signals a future where passengers can board remotely piloted aircraft. The company is also evaluating emerging electric and hybrid aircraft platforms.

Of course, people are a little twitchy about the safety aspects of self-driving cars—and aircraft add a literal extra dimension to the mix. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is keeping a close eye on credible and other commercial operators in this space, but the agency has greenlighted several authorizations for experimental unmanned aircraft.

We appreciate our public-private partnerships with the FAA and NASA as we work to integrate our remotely operated aircraft systems into the airspace. We intend to bring unprecedented safety and reliability to today’s commercial aircraft,” said Robert Rose, Co-Founder and CEO of Reliable Robotics. “The close collaboration with our public institutions, strong support from visionary investors and keen interest within the cargo industry further accelerate our mission to expand access to air transportation for all.”

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