Ondas Holdings Inc. (Ondas), a developer of proprietary, software-based wireless broadband technology, has acquired American Robotics, Inc., a developer of highly automated commercial drone systems and the first company approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its drones beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) without an on-site human operator.
“The combination of the two companies will enable Ondas Networks and American Robotics to provide users in rail, agriculture, utilities and critical infrastructure markets with improved connectivity and data collection capabilities,” Ondas said. “We received overwhelming support from our shareholders with approximately 99.7% of the votes cast supporting the acquisition.”
American Robotics “brings together best-in-class IP, a Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model, and its historic FAA approvals to deliver an industrial drone service capable of unlocking the $100 billion commercial drone market,” Ondas said. “Unlike other drone technology, American Robotics’ Scout System™ provides an unmatched level of autonomy, safety and analytics with its industrial-grade design and advanced, AI-powered software. The Scout System™ is the ultimate data gathering and processing solution at the edge of industrial field area networks that can be integrated into a mission-critical wireless network powered by Ondas’ FullMAX technology. American Robotics’ highly automated drones are capable of conducting up to 20 automated flights per day without having a single pilot or visual observer on the ground.”
In April 2021, Ondas advanced American Robotics a $2 million loan in order to begin scaling its customer support and sales organization, leveraging its January 2021 FAA approval for automated drones. In the six months since receiving its FAA approvals, American Robotics has increased business development activity in key industrial sectors by 80%. Ondas said it “will support this continued growth through the continued advancement and development of American Robotics’ technology. Also, this acquisition will enable American Robotics to access Ondas’ industrial customers and worldwide distribution partners.”
Akerman LLP served as legal counsel for Ondas, and Hogan Lovells LLP acted as legal counsel for American Robotics. The FAA had previously allowed drones to inspect railroad tracks, pipelines and some industrial sites beyond the sight of pilots or spotters on the ground as long as such individuals were located relatively close by. But in January, the FAA granted American Robotics permission to fly in U.S. airspace under BVLOS, according to Hogan Lovells Partner Lisa Ellman, who chairs her firm’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) practice, represents American Robotics and also is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance, an industry trade group.
Ondas Holdings Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary, Ondas Networks Inc., is a developer of proprietary, software-based wireless broadband technology for large established and emerging industrial markets. The company says its “standards-based, multi-patented, software-defined radio FullMAX platform enables MC-IoT applications by overcoming the bandwidth limitations of today’s legacy private licensed wireless networks. Ondas Networks’ customer end markets include railroads, utilities, oil and gas, transportation, aviation (including drone operators) and government entities whose demands span a wide range of mission critical applications. These markets require reliable, secure broadband communications over large and diverse geographical areas, many of which are within challenging radio frequency environments. Customers use our FullMAX technology to deploy their own private licensed broadband wireless networks. We also offer mission-critical entities the option of a managed network service. Ondas Networks’ FullMAX technology supports IEEE 802.16s, the new worldwide standard for private licensed wide area industrial networks.”
American Robotics, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ondas, “is a company focused on designing, developing, and marketing industrial drone solutions for rugged, real-world environments. AR’s Scout System™ is a highly automated, AI-powered drone system capable of continuous, remote operation and is marketed as a ‘drone-in-a-box’ turnkey data solution service under an RAAS business model. The Scout System™ is the first drone system approved by the FAA for automated BVLOS. AR was founded by leading roboticists from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford with a shared vision for bringing robotic technology out of the lab and into the real world to solve global problems.”