Over the last decade, drone technology has progressed to make many industrial enterprises more efficient, cost effective, and safer. Drones are being used to inspect industrial sites for safety and security breaches or collect aerial data. Companies will hire a third party drone operator or employ an in house drone team to deploy the drones. Looking to find a niche in the industrial drone market, an Israeli start up company developed a drone system that eliminates the need for outsourcing a drone operator or having to train a team of in house drone operators.
In 2014, Mier Kliner and Ran Krauss founded Airobotics in Petah Tiqva, Israel. With a dedicated team of experts in aerospace design, software engineering, robust electronic systems, and commercial drone experience, Airobotics slowly became leaders in the industrial drone market. Their platform is based on three parts, a drone, a drone base, and custom software. Together, the trifecta has facilitated Airobotics to become the only worldwide company with permission to fly fully autonomous drones.
The first part of the platform is Optimus, an industrial grade, rust and erosion proof drone. Optimus has a 30 minute flight time and a 2.2lb mission specific, interchangeable payload capacity. Optimus does not need a pilot onsite to launch, fly, or land the drone. All flight and mission operations are done automatically. The drone is housed onsite in a large containment box called Airbase that acts as its charging and mission control station. When ready to be deployed, Airbase slides open a top hatch and raises a platform on which Optimus locks into. Once the platform is in position, Optimus automatically launches to carry out a programmed mission. When the mission is complete, or the battery needs recharging, Optimus automatically returns to land on the Airbase platform. The platform lowers into the Airbase unit, and the hatch closes. Inside the closed Airbase, a robotic arm can switch out Optimus’s payload or battery so the drone can get back to work with little downtime.
Enabling the whole process is the third part of the Airobotics platform aptly called Software. As explained on their website, “Airobotics software can be accessed anywhere and anytime, enabling users to program, control and manage missions in one click, and processes raw aerial data, transforming it into concise, actionable insight. Designed for simplicity, the software answers the needs of users in real-time.” Missions can be preprogrammed with Software including a schedule for use, GPS locations, specific payload needs, data collection points, anything the user would need the drone to do. Once programmed, the user doesn’t even need to push a button to initiate missions. The Software will autonomously engage Airbase and Optimus based on the inputted data.
In 2018, Airobotics opened their North American headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona after receiving a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate their fully autonomous platform in the United States. Around the same time, Airobotics received similar permission from Australia’s Civil Aviation Authority. As their operations continue to expand worldwide, Airobotics hopes to establish Scottsdale as their new global headquarters. “Airobotics is experiencing massive momentum and expanding across geographies,” Ran Krauss said. “We have a strong business pipeline, and to keep up with demand for our technology, we are continuing to expand operations across the countries in which we operate.” This demand includes mining, oil and gas, seaports, and other industrial facilities. In January of 2021, Airobotics announced that they would also be expanding operations in the United States to assist in the events of natural disasters and security operations.