Reliable Robotics raises $100 mn to expand remotely piloted cargo operations
The developer of automated aircraft systems Reliable Robotics announced a $100 million Series C funding round led by Coatue Management to support its first aircraft certification program and expedite the launch of commercial cargo operations.
The company is headquartered in Mountain View, CA and has a distributed global workforce.
Coatue joins past investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Eclipse Ventures, Teamworthy Ventures and Pathbreaker Ventures to bring total fundraising over $133 million. With its airframe independent technology, Reliable’s remotely operated aircraft system is designed to expand safe, flexible and efficient air transportation service to more locations.
Jaimin Rangwalla, a senior managing director at Coatue, said, “We believe Reliable Robotics is a leader in aircraft automation for commercial aviation. We were impressed by the team's clear vision, measured certification progress and track record of industry achievement. We are proud and excited to support Reliable’s goal to be the first to deliver FAA-certified, remotely piloted systems to market.”
Reliable Robotics is positioned to unlock access to thousands of underutilized regional and municipal airports in all corners of the country, greatly expanding air transportation options for cargo and eventually passengers. The company’s technology handles all phases of flight including taxi, takeoff, landing and parking, while licensed pilots remotely supervise each flight from a control center. The system has the capability to autoland on smaller airstrips in rural or remote areas without requiring expensive infrastructure to be installed and maintained.
Jeff Drees, former co-owner and chief commercial officer of Ameriflight, the largest regional air cargo carrier in the world, said, “Automated aircraft present a massive opportunity to transform the cargo industry over the next several years. Remotely piloted cargo delivery provides a huge advantage with low cost, anytime, anywhere flights that increase aircraft utilization and availability.
Drees recently joined Reliable Robotics to build its airline subsidiary and deliver cargo services while preparing for the adoption and scaling of remotely operated aircraft.
Reliable Robotics has made substantial progress in key development areas throughout its phased approach to certification, deepening its regulatory experience with ongoing engagement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As part of this work, the company has received key authorizations from the FAA for the flight of experimental unmanned aircraft. In 2019, Reliable demonstrated the remote operation of a large commercial aircraft over a metropolitan area, marking aviation first for a private company in the United States. Additionally, the company announced a partnership with NASA as part of the Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign to further real-world flight testing of its system.
Robert Rose, co-founder and CEO of Reliable Robotics, said, “We appreciate our public-private partnership with the FAA and NASA as we work to integrate our Remotely Operated Aircraft System into the airspace. We intend to bring unprecedented safety and reliability to today’s commercial aircraft. Close collaboration with our public institutions, strong backing from visionary investors and keen interest within the cargo industry further accelerate our mission to expand everyone’s access to air transportation.”
The planned expansion of the company’s aircraft program to additional, larger airframes will further demonstrate the versatility of its system. The company also intends to support emerging electric and hybrid electric platforms and eventually passenger aircraft.
Since emerging from stealth last year, Reliable Robotics has grown substantially. The company has more than doubled in size, attracting a diverse group of engineers with expertise in aviation, autonomy and other mission and safety-critical domains.
Cessna 208 Cargomaster remotely piloted from control center inside the Reliable Robotics headquarters