Because autonomous delivery drones are undoubtedly coming, Boeing HorizonX Ventures, the aviation company’s venture arm, led a $16 million round in drone startup Matternet. Other investors include Swiss Post, Sony Innovation Fund and Levitate Capital. With this funding, Matternet’s plan is to further expand throughout the U.S. and internationally in urban environments.
“Matternet’s technology and proven track record make the development of a safe, global autonomous air mobility system a near-term reality,” Boeing HorizonX Ventures Managing Director Brian Schettler said in a statement. “Between the company’s success in Switzerland and being selected by the FAA to test unmanned aerial networks in the U.S., we are excited to work together to reimagine how the world connects and shape the next generation of transportation solutions.”
Just last month, the Federal Aviation Administration selected, among others, Matternet for drone logistics operations for U.S. hospitals as part of its Unmanned Aircraft System pilot program. In 2015, Matternet started testing the first drone delivery system in Zurich, Switzerland to transport blood and pathology samples to labs.
Matternet has since expanded its operations in Switzerland, and has conducted more than 1,700 flights over densely populated areas to make more than 850 deliveries of patient samples.