Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) startup DroneUp has acquired AirMap Inc., a maker of digital software for airspace and automation for drones.
The deal will shore up DroneUp’s pilot network and growing ground infrastructure for unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM), providing services for as many as 100,000 global daily flights. The flight data software will help DroneUp establish a presence in this space and further help advance safety for last-mile drone services.
AirMap’s UTM software allows drone operators to see the world around it and manage different aircraft as it flies. The software could help in project’s such as DroneUp’s recent delivery program with Walmart, which was announced last month.
Under that project, DroneUp will offer what it claims is the first multi-site commercial drone delivery operation at three Walmart locations in Northwest Arkansas. These hubs will provide on-site operations of drone deliveries where FAA certified flight engineers can conduct multiple and simultaneous deliveries.
DroneUP said that because drone flights are increasing in volume, managing these flights safely is moving beyond human scale and requires an automated system to plan, request clearance and factor in potential hazards and airspace restrictions.
AirMap’s technology helps perform these automated systems and allows drone operators to publish flight plans promoting uniform safety.
DroneUp operates in 13 U.S. states serving public sector organizations and has more than 190 active waivers and authorizations with the FAA. AirMap is one of only a handful of UTM providers that operates internationally and provides UTM in Switzerland with a geographic footprint and customer base in North America to Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia.