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Walmart-backed drone delivery firm DroneUp acquires UTM specialist AirMap

DroneUp, a drone services provider that US supermarket chain Walmart has invested in, has taken another significant step toward advancing safe last-mile drone deliveries. The Virginia-based startup has acquired AirMap, a leading airspace management software provider for drones.

The news of the acquisition comes on the heels of Walmart announcing it has begun 30-minute commercial drone delivery services in select geographies with DroneUp.

Meanwhile, AirMap’s software, which has been developed in conjunction with U‑Space in Europe as well as the FAA, NASA, and other authorities in the US, is responsible for more than 750,000 safe flights per year. And the first thing to know is that these resources will remain available to the drone industry.

At the same time, DroneUp hopes that getting comprehensive flight data from AirMap will help the company to establish market and regulatory leadership, accelerating the broader adoption of drone delivery services in the US.

As DroneUp CEO Tom Walker points out:

We’ve integrated with the best aerospace teams to bring drone delivery and flight services to market faster and more economically with our patented flight management software, and now the industry’s number one Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) solution. We believe DroneUp has a moral obligation to continue investment in and expansion of the AirMap platform. We will ensure this resource remains openly available to the drone industry, municipalities, and the FAA.

John Vernon, DroneUp’s CTO and representative to the FAA’s Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), stresses that UTM will be a key enabler to high-density drone and urban air mobility (UAM) operations while unlocking autonomy and flight safety at scale. Here’s Vernon:

Transformative advances in technology are driving positive change for society, fueling decarbonization, de-congestion, and the democratization of transportation. We look forward to continuing positive innovation with AirMap.

Echoing Vernon’s thoughts, Ben Marcus, cofounder of AirMap, says he’s excited to be joining the DroneUp team, adding, “Since its inception, AirMap has worked to create a future where drones deliver value to millions of people in their everyday lives. DroneUp is also committed to this mission, and through its resilient, extensible network and partnership with Walmart, I am confident that we are going to create this reality.”

Read more: Flytrex raises $40M to offer drone delivery across US suburbs

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Avatar for Ishveena Singh Ishveena Singh

Ishveena Singh is a versatile journalist and writer with a passion for drones and location technologies. She has been named as one of the 50 Rising Stars of the geospatial industry for the year 2021 by Geospatial World magazine.

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