Drone service providers are increasingly relying on Airspace Link, a Detroit-based company, to help them get municipal and federal permission for their operations. The business has received 23 million in additional funding and wants to expand its platform to other nations that are eager to start drone industries.
In order to get FAA clearance to fly, anybody working with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may use the company’s web service, which shows the essential safety standards are in place. Although even huge corporations with compliance departments would want to see this process simplified, it is particularly cumbersome for small businesses and individuals.
According to CEO Michael Healander, “the drone business for things like food delivery outside line of sight has been held back by this.” However, drones are capable of these tasks, but their integration into the national infrastructure is still lacking. When it comes to the FAA, operators are constructing their own systems to demonstrate that they have enough radar and surveillance systems, and to assess the chance of crashing on people, important infrastructure, and other objects.
With the help of Airspace Link, this procedure may be automated in part by keeping tabs on the area’s ground-based infrastructure, such radar coverage and other important aircraft and assets.
According to Healander, “our purpose is to warn the operator, ‘there is a crop duster coming into your area, so stand down and here is a location to land,'”. Airspace Link, on the other hand, positions itself as a state and municipal infrastructure supplier, not as software for drone pilots.
“The Airspace Link platform is being white-labeled by municipalities and referred to as ‘Michigan’s system.'” When you go to the FAA, “you’re not demonstrating your safety argument,” he said. “The state is doing that.” In order to pay a convenience fee, of course, but not to charge for the use of airspace – if you choose to handle your own paperwork, you may. Municipal finance chief Bill Johnson believes that this is a revenue-generating opportunity rather than just a cost problem.
Using highways as an analogy, we’re facilitating economic activity in that area, and we’re also helping to bring in new partners and technology.” “This development in the environment benefits everyone,” he remarked..
This is expected to rise as FAA restrictions on drone operations tighten, including a demand that all drones broadcast their location beginning in September (with sanctions starting a year later). As a result, the firm is seeking more funding in order to prepare for the expected influx of new business.
Michael Healander and Bill Johnson, Airspace Link’s CEO and CFO.
Our goal is to get as much land as possible in the next four years, so we’re pushing the gas pedal all the way down. It’s a goal of Healander’s to get it done before anybody else figured it out, he added. In other words, instead of selling to people and businesses, they are constructing infrastructure to be used by the government.
In the US, we’ll focus on a few areas of development, but the majority of our cash will be invested in worldwide expansion.” “Drone firms are also expanding internationally,” he stated, citing the need for similar products in other nations.
He cited the UAE as an example of a government that abruptly banned all drone activities a few months ago, awaiting new legislation, following years of permissive drone restrictions. If these countries wish to investigate the prospects of drone services, they should follow the lead of the FAA and organisations like Airspace Link, who have supervised a large portion of the drone industry.
With the help of Talus, a worldwide airspace monitoring firm, and ESRI, the location data kingpin, Airspace Link is working to ensure that their solution can be deployed in areas like Dubai, despite the high demand they represent.
Avanta Ventures, the VC arm of CSAA Insurance Group, led the 23.1 million B round, representing another another category interested in streamlining bureaucracy and accurately assessing risk. One day insurance plans might include Airspace Link as part of their coverage. Along with Morningside and Caprock, investors in the round included 2048 and Thales Group, as well as Altos Ventures, Indicator Ventures, and Altos.
The firm is rapidly expanding its workforce, and as it moves forward with its long-term goals, it expects to see even more rapid expansion. Healander stated, “If we’re going worldwide, we’ll need a global team.”