Another major achievement from CyPhy Works — Drones that (literally) deliver!
At Lux we have been strong believers in the coming tsunami of drones, and have invested in multiple companies that reflect our conviction regarding the space. We are investors in AirMap (airspace intelligence platform, now powering >80% of drones in the US), Drone Racing League (most incredible new competitive sport, now on ESPN, Sky Sports and ProSeiben), a still-stealth company in commercial drone services, and CyPhy Works(commercial grade drone platform for tethered and untethered drones).
We anticipate millions of drones flying in the airspace, from consumer drones for photography and selfies, to commercial drones for aerial imaging and security, drones for FPV racing, and…delivery. Manual-piloted, semi-autonomous and autonomous drone systems enable applications that simply haven’t been possible before. And with new FAA clarity on regulations for commercial use we should expect them to increase productivity, efficiency, and safety across many sectors — from construction, agriculture, real estate, insurance, and mining to oil & gas, and transportation.
In that vein, I am super excited that CyPhy Works, in partnership with UPS, announced today that is has begun testing the use of drones to make commercial deliveries of packages to remote or difficult-to-access locations. In this mock scenario, UPS and CyPhy flew the drone from Beverly to Children’s Island (which is about three miles off the Atlantic coast) to test the viability of using the drone to make a time-critical delivery. The drone carried an asthma inhaler to a child at a camp on the island, which is not reachable by automobile. The CyPhy drone used in Thursday’s test was the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) system. The battery-powered drone flies itself autonomously, so very little user training is required. It is extremely durable, has night vision and features secure communications that cannot be intercepted or disrupted. It is a true commercial grade drone — like other CyPhy tethered and untethered drone systems that are used in other applications globally.
UPS is a global leader in logistics with operations in 220 countries and territories worldwide, and has been a great investor and a partner for CyPhy Works. Today’s accomplishment builds on months of engineering and design efforts by the two companies, and is just the start of much more to come in the future. Drone deliveries are the future, and I am proud our portfolio company is enabling that. Not only would this be great for consumers generally, and for the evolution of retail, local logistics, and delivery operations, but as demonstrated in today’s work it may also save precious lives. Society needs such solutions!
Many kudos to Helen Greiner (CyPhy founder/CTO), Lance Vanden Brook (CyPhy CEO), and the teams at UPS and CyPhy Works for making this happen.
Bilal is a Partner at Lux Capital. Follow him on Twitter.