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Boeing Invests In Self-Guided Drone Startup Near Earth Autonomy

Bloomberg News (10/19, Hull) reports, “Boeing Co. is investing in Pittsburgh-based Near Earth Autonomy, a self-guided drone startup, marking its first financial backing for a company specializing in autonomous technology since establishing the HorizonX venture fund in April.” The company did not specify the amount of the investment, but Bloomberg estimates the company’s recent “sale of about $10 million in equity” would likely “value the company at $40 million to $50 million.” The announcement comes on the heels of Boeing’s acquisition last week of “Aurora Flight Services, a drone pioneer that is helping to develop flying taxis for Uber Technologies Inc.” The article quotes Near Earth Autonomy CEO Sanjiv Singh saying, “Sometimes it makes more sense to fly than to drive, because you can just hop over things. The demand for air travel is increasing, and the number of pilots is decreasing. When you think about disasters like Puerto Rico, where so many of the roads are washed out, autonomous aircraft could help to deliver supplies and bottled water.” Bloomberg adds, “In addition to the investment, Boeing announced a partnership with Near Earth Autonomy to explore future products.”