Three French students who were only three years ago studying at top engineering school Telecom SudParis, have now raised 2 million euros to develop their startup Uavia.
Pierre Pelé, Luc Clément and Clément Christomanos created their company in 2015, with help from incubator IMT Starter in Evry and Arcueil.
Their concept was to develop a technology that allows the 100% remote aerial sensing and control of drones via a mobile network – an Internet of Drones.
Now, with the assistance of funding from Airbus Ventures, the $150 million venture capital fund created in 2015 by Airbus, Sofimac Innovation and the F3A fund (Angels Ambition Priming Fund), their vision is set to become reality.
The young company based in Vitry-sur-Seine has developed drones compatible with 3G and 4G and a cloud platform that allows to control these drones remotely and without eye contact. In March 2015, the Uavia team demonstrated the extent of the potential of its technology by managing to pilot, from San Francisco, a drone located in Evry.
The successful investment will mean Uavia can carry out its plans to accelerate the deployment of its Uavia Robotics Platform solution and strengthen its workforce.
“This round table allows us to strengthen our capabilities and our technical teams (embedded intelligence, web, data processing, robotics) to further increase our technological advance. We are also dimensioning our sales organization in order to address the industrial sectors on which we observe global traction,” said Clément Christomanos, co-founder and president of Uavia.
“It’s the technology mix and Uavia’s strategic vision that has convinced us,” said François Auque, president of Airbus Ventures, who is enthusiastic about Uavia’s potential.
“Uavia has overcome multiple technological barriers by connecting drones and other robots, that are becoming safer and entering the era of collaborative uses. The Uavia platform meets the needs of industry, and must allow the emergence of a powerful and world-class ecosystem around it,” he said in a press release.
The technology that piqued the investors interest enough to agree to contribute this impressive amount is a robotics platform that can allow several users around the world to control heterogeneous fleets of drones and robots in real time, as well as to handle , analyze and share data from drone operations.
Adapting to the needs of industry, the trio developed the solution with reliability, security and versatility in mind.
To ensure reliability of the system, the company developed algorithms for artificial intelligence, so that the drone can detect the loss of connection as quickly as possible and make decisions accordingly. End-to-end encryption ensures all transmitted data is protected.
Uavia say their autonomous drones are suitable for a wide range of applications; able survey perimeters on sensitive sites, to carry out routine checks on solar, industrial or petroleum facilities, to check the condition of runways at airports or to assist maintenance teams on railway tracks.
“This collaborative platform is designed to allow multiple users around the world to control in real-time heterogeneous fleets of drones and robots and also to process, analyze and share large amounts of data from these mobile sensors” says the company.
Philippe Vuagnat, Investment Director of Sofimac Innovation said the startup’s goals are a good fit for Sofimac.
“Uavia has the potential to become a strategic supplier to many manufacturers. This investment, made through our Emergence Innovation 2 fund, is perfectly in line with the strategic objectives of the Future Investments Plan 3, particularly with regard to digital innovation for companies and the industry of the future,” Vuagnat said.
At the same time, the company announces that Pierre Vilpoux, a pioneer in the artificial intelligence and telecommunications industry and advisor to the company since its creation, has joined the management team of Uavia as Chief Business Officer to take charge deployment operations worldwide and the development of new partnerships with industry.
“I am proud and delighted to join such a high-profile team,” said Pierre Vilpoux. “After working closely with the founders last year, it became clear to us to continue this team adventure to accelerate together to turn the Uavia Robotics Platform into the central element of connected robotics for the industry, at the World level.”