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Swiss Army Knife of drones gets $28.5m in funding

Silicon Valley is taking big swings at "drones as a service" companies.

Optimus, the Airobotics Inspection Drone

Optimus, the Airobotics Inspection Drone.

Airobotics, an Israeli startup that's created a completely autonomous drone-platform to help global companies maintain, manage, and secure their facilities, is launching today with $28.5 million in funding.

The Airobotics platform is made up of three parts: An autonomous drone, an automatically operated air base, and an integrated software, which ultimately executes missions with the simple click of a button. Companies can use the drone to collect aerial insights that can be used for mapping, inspection, security, and emergency response. A company spokesman called it the swiss-army knife of drones.

Major investors include Noam Bardin, the CEO of Waze, which was recently acquired by Google, Richard Wooldridge, Google ATAP's COO, and BlueRun Ventures. One of Airobotics' first customers is Israel Chemicals (ICL), a global manufacturer of products based on specialty minerals. ICL produces a third of the world's bromine and is the sixth largest potash producer, and it's using the Airobotics system at its site, a 1000-acre facility in Israel.

The drone itself is called "Optimus." It's a large, high capacity drone capable of flying 30-minute missions while carrying a one-kilogram mission specific payload. Payloads and batteries are automatically exchanged by a robotic swapping mechanism in the base module, which means companies can a small fleet of drones autonomously running various kinds of inspection, monitoring, and security missions with virtually no human intervention.