SkyWard secures $1.5m to launch first commercial drone management platform

The firm has secured funding in seed round financing to build a management platform for businesses developing commercial drones.

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SkyWard CEO Jonathan Evans (PRNewsFoto/SkyWard)

SkyWard has secured $1.5 million in seed round financing to build the first operations management platform for commercial robotic aircraft.

The Drones as a Service (DaaS) software solutions firm says it plans to use the funding to built the first management platform suitable for controlling drones used in the commercial sector. Voyager Capital led the round with participation from Draper Associates and Toivo Annus, founder and former head of engineering at Skype.

SkyWard says that aviation management has traditionally been a fragmented and slow process, and the new, global platform is intended to speed things up and connect commercial operators, regulators and insurers digitally. SkyWard software includes tools such as a cloud-based workflow, a GIS overlay map with up-to-date airspace rules and guidelines, automated flight logs, and a unique and secure digital identity per user.

SkyWard CEO Jonathan Evans commented:

"Commercial aerial robotics will be as common to our infrastructure as the smartphone - a physical extension of the internet which will allow users to exchange information, and even physical product like never before. Aerial robotics is the next movement in search and rescue, environmental surveys, utilities inspection, precision agriculture, commerce and transit- our software allows stakeholders to manage operations in a safe and compliant way through a global digital platform."

One high-profile company that has brought the commercial use of drones to the spotlight recently is Amazon. Last week, the online retail giant petitioned US regulators for permission to test drones close to Seattle. The firm requested permission in order to expand the Amazon Prime Air project, which aims to use unmanned aerial vehicles to get packages into customer hands "within 30 minutes" of an order being placed.