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Reliable Robotics, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of autonomous flight technology, raised $100 million in Series C funding today. Founded in 2017, Reliable Robotics has now raised more than $133 million.
Reliable said the funding will help it scale its team as it gears up to certify and commercialize its Remotely Operated Aircraft System. The company claims its technology will enable safer, more convenient, and more affordable transportation of goods and, eventually, people. Reliable first demonstrated gate-to-gate, fully automated operation of a Part 23 aircraft. It’s now working towards commercialization of technologies for Part 23 cargo and Part 25 passenger planes.
Its technology handles all phases of flight, including taxi, takeoff, landing and parking. Licensed pilots remotely supervise each flight from a control center. The system has the capability to autoland on smaller airstrips in rural or remote areas without requiring expensive infrastructure to be installed and maintained.
Reliable has received key authorizations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the flight of experimental unmanned aircraft. In 2019, it performed a fully autonomous flight on a Cessna 172 Skyhawk without an onboard pilot. And in 2020, completed an automated flight between two airports, 200 miles apart, this time with an engineer and pilot on board for safety assurance.
It also has a partnership with NASA as part of the Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign to further real-world flight testing of its system.
“We appreciate our public-private partnership with the FAA and NASA as we work to integrate our Remotely Operated Aircraft System 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. “Close collaboration with our public institutions, strong backing from visionary investors and keen interest within the cargo industry further accelerates our mission to expand everyone’s access to air transportation.”
Reliable said its technology will help unlock access to thousands of underutilized regional and municipal airports in the U.S. The company said it is planning to expand its technology to larger airframes and support emerging electric and hybrid electric platforms and eventually passenger aircraft.
“Automated aircraft present a massive opportunity to transform the cargo industry over the next several years,” said Jeff Drees, former co-owner and chief commercial officer of Ameriflight, a regional air cargo carrier. “Remotely piloted cargo delivery provides a huge advantage with low cost, anytime, anywhere flights that increase aircraft utilization and availability.”
The Series C funding round was led by Coatue Management. Coatue joined past investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Eclipse Ventures, Teamworthy Ventures and Pathbreaker Ventures in the round.