American Robotics is the first Company Approved by the FAA for Autonomous Drone Operations Beyond-Visual-Line-Of-Sight
Ondas Holdings Inc., a developer of proprietary, software-based wireless broadband technology, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire American Robotics, a leading developer of fully-automated commercial drone systems and the first and only company approved by the FAA to operate its drones beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) without a human operator on the ground. This acquisition will integrate the two companies’ technology platforms and increase automation, data collection, and AI-powered analytics in industrial markets, allowing for the improved maintenance, monitoring and operation of critical infrastructure.
American Robotics brings together best-in-class IP, a Robot-as-a-Service business model, and its historic FAA approvals to deliver an industrial drone service capable of unlocking the $100 billion commercial drone market. Unlike other drone technology, American Robotics’ Scout System provides an unmatched level of autonomy, safety, and analytics with its industrial-grade design and advanced, AI-powered software.
Digitising the physical world enables those in energy, agriculture, and other industrial sectors to better see how their physical assets – from railroads to utilities and crops – are performing, and better inform decision-making processes to be more efficient and more sustainable. Drones are a vehicle better to capture this data across large field area operations. With American Robotics, Ondas will allow users to collect and analyse data through continuous, automated drone operations.
“We are excited to bring American Robotics into the Ondas fold,” said Eric Brock, Chairman and CEO of Ondas. “At the end of the day, the drone industry’s product is data, not aircraft. The drone is the ultimate data gathering edge device for mission critical operations, solving a huge pain-point for Ondas’ industrial and government customers and ecosystem partners. American Robotics’ full stack IP portfolio is a complete system enabling Ondas to turn these pain-points into growth opportunities fueled by more rich data collection,” Brock continued.
American Robotics’ Scout System will be integrated into Ondas FullMAX platform, a standards-based next-generation networking solution designed to enable enhanced data communications for field area operations. With Ondas FullMAX wireless technology integrated into an AR Scout System, Ondas customers and ecosystem partners can more widely deploy industrial drones for next-generation data requirements.
“It’s the perfect time for American Robotics to join forces with Ondas as we bring Scout System to the market and scale customer deployments,” added Reese Mozer, co-founder and CEO of American Robotics. “Ondas’ deep experience and relationships in our target customer markets in addition to its next-generation industrial networking capabilities will be incredibly helpful as we penetrate the large markets we address. We see substantial customer demand and are ready to deliver systems across an impressive pipeline of blue-chip industrial customers in addition to new customer relationships via Ondas.”
American Robotics Key Highlights
Founded in 2016 by roboticists with academic and employment backgrounds from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford with a shared vision for bringing robotic technology out of the lab and into the real world to solve global challenges, the American Robotics team is comprised of expert engineers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and industry veterans. American Robotics has a high margin, recurring revenue Robot-as-a-Service business model with a deep customer pipeline in industrial and agriculture markets.
American Robotics’ Scout System is the first and only drone system to receive FAA regulatory approvals for autonomous flight. This gives the company an exclusive first-mover advantage to unlock the commercial drone market by overcoming the need for costly visual observers to be on the ground during every drone flight. With humans removed from the field and data processing achieved at the edge, users can perform a 10X+ reduction in data acquisition costs.
The Scout System is the ultimate mobile data gathering application for wide-field area operations in industrial, agricultural and governmental settings, with the drone residing as a high-value mobile edge device in a Mission Critical IoT (MC-IoT) network deployment. The Scout System consists of:
- Scout, a fully autonomous drone with advanced imaging payloads;
- ScoutBase, a ruggedised base station for housing, charging, data processing, and cloud transfer; and
- ScoutView, American Robotics’ analytics and front-end software package.
Strategic Rationale for Combination
As leading innovators in next-generation MC-IoT markets, Ondas and American Robotics both provide advanced data capabilities to critical infrastructure markets such as transportation, oil & gas, utilities, and solutions for security, agriculture, government, and defence markets. In combining these two platforms, users will have access to a fully integrated, end-to-end industrial solution that utilises edge computing and sensor-type technologies to their fullest extent. American Robotics’ Scout System equipped with Ondas’ FullMAX wireless technology provides Ondas customers and ecosystem partners the capability to better inspect and manage their large field operations and critical infrastructure.
Ondas is acquiring American Robotics for consideration valued at approximately $70.6 million. The purchase price will be funded via a mixture of cash and equity securities. Ondas had previously made a loan to American Robotics in the aggregate amount of $2.0 million on April 22, 2021. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the Ondas stockholders of the equity securities to be issued to American Robotics stockholders. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.