3D Robotics, the leading open Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) company, today announced a $30 million Series B financing round. The round was co-led by Foundry Group, a new investor, and existing investor True Ventures, along with participation from existing investors O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and SK Ventures. As part of this round, Jason Mendelson of Foundry Group will join the 3D Robotics board of directors.
This round of funding augments a late-2012 Series A round led by True Ventures and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. It will enable 3D Robotics to mainstream aerial robotics and surveying, making advanced UAV technology affordable and easy to use for its worldwide customer base of businesses and individuals. Working with its large community of users and open source developers, 3D Robotics has created the industry’s leading open UAV platform, APM, and is now extending that to a new generation of autopilots, software and ready-to-fly multicopter and fixed-wing UAVs.
As part of this funding round 3D Robotics will expand its development and deployment of advanced UAV applications, with a focus on agricultural crop mapping and other commercial aerial survey technology. “The opportunity to bring ‘big data’ to agriculture through low-cost automated aerial crop surveys could be a game-changer for both farming and the UAV industry alike,” said Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics. “Adding UAVs to the precision agriculture toolkit of a 21st Century farmer gives them the power to use imaging data to not only increase yield, but decrease water use and the chemical load in both food and environment.”
Starting in 2015, AUVSI, the UAV industry trade group, estimates that the first three years of integration of commercial drones into the national airspace will create more than 70,000 jobs in the United States with an economic impact of more than $13.6 billion. International prospects are much larger. ”We’re building out a world-wide sales, service and support model that will help us build long-term relationships with local resellers that can in-turn support their local community requirements for mapping and imaging,” said John Cherbini, 3D Robotics VP of Sales.
3D Robotics also recently announced Iris, the company’s first ready-to-fly, fully-autonomous quadcopter for the consumer market. The lightweight vehicle can conduct hands-off missions and record high definition aerial video, bringing pro-level UAV features at an unprecedented sub-$1,000 price. Iris is now shipping to developers, with consumer sales to begin in November.
In conjunction with Iris, 3D Robotics has extended its exclusive relationship with the PX4 team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), one of the world’s leading UAV research institutions. In collaboration with ETH, 3D Robotics has announced its most powerful autopilot to date, Pixhawk, which will ship in October. Pixhawk is a new 32-bit open autopilot platform designed for improved ease of use and reliability while offering unprecedented safety features compared to existing solutions.
3D Robotics’ mission is to deliver reliable, easy-to-use autonomous navigation and sensing solutions to customers using land, sea or air based vehicles. 3D Robotics’ open UAV technology, which is in use by tens of thousands of customers already, delivers pro-level aerial robotics features at consumer-level prices to bring UAV applications to mainstream markets.
3D Robotics is a privately-held North American company with offices in Berkeley, San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.