Israeli robotics startup Wonder Robotics launches smart autonomous drone solution with $4M seed round led by Elron Ventures
In just a decade, what started out as a hobby for many drone enthusiasts has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. The growing demand for drones from organizations and the government has pushed the global drone market to an estimated $100 billion industry.
From package delivery to infrastructure inspection, mapping, and transportation, the commercial use of drones is expected to revolutionize countless applications. However, large-scale drone operations, especially in urban areas, depend on getting access to shared airspace and providing autonomous, safe operations anytime and anywhere.
In addition, operating a commercial drone, for example, a retailer delivery drone requires multiple people to keep a line of sight from take-off to landing. This is unscalable and time-consuming. That’s where Wonder Robotics comes in.
Wonder Robotics is a Tel Aviv, Israel-based robotics tech startup that specializes in the autonomous flight and landing of commercial drones. Recognizing that drones’ complex and diversified vision requirements cannot be satisfied by 2D or 3D vision capture alone, Wonder Robotics has developed a computer vision technology that dramatically improves perspective, classification, shading, texture, and motion cues.
Wonder Robotics’ vision technology is modeled after and inspired by a human vision-based replica, which uniquely transcends prior art by combining short-range 3D depth perception with a long-range 2D vision.
To further scale up its operation, Wonder Robotics announced today it has closed $4 million in seed funding led by Elron Ventures, with participation from Besadno Investment Group. Wonder Robotics will also use the funding proceeds to develop a new solution that allows drones to land safely and autonomously while developing technology for additional applications and enabling commercial use of drones at scale.
Founded by CEO Idan Shimon, CTO Amnon Demri, and CBO Or Epstein, Wonder Robotics is a provider of intelligent and robust AI layers for autonomous and safe flights for both commercial and military drones using advanced vision-based capabilities.
Safe autonomous operation is this market’s enabler and at the heart of the rapidly developing drone regulation, and is being strongly promoted by the biggest industry players. Currently, the technology for operating drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) is lacking, which hinders the ability to provide safe, autonomous drone flights, making the commercialization of drones expensive and unscalable.
As a response, Wonder Robotics developed their unique “WonderLand” for precise autonomous landings, that can be installed on any drone. Clearing landing zones in real-time, enables emergency autonomous contingency landings, in unprepared, uncharted, and unattended sites.
Wonder Robotics’ smart safety layer includes vertical awareness and robust precision landing, permitting drone safety beyond the operator/mission manager’s visual line of sight. In urban environments, this can prevent collisions with people and natural and infrastructural impediments such as trees, cables, buildings, and other dynamic environmental factors.
In a statement, Wonder Robotics co-founder and CEO Idan Shimon said, “We are thrilled to take part in the drone revolution, by partnering with major industry players leveraging on our technology to launch their commercial multi-drone operations.” Shimon added: “Since raising the seed round, we have partnered with Spright, Air Methods’ new drone division, helping it realize its mission to improve access to urgently needed medical supplies for healthcare providers.”
“Wonder Robotics’ founding team are true industry experts and have the knowledge and technical expertise needed to enable a market waiting to take off, and establish WonderLand as an industry standard,” said Lauren Duke, Vice President of Business Development at Elron Ventures.
“Our investment in Wonder Robotics is perfectly aligned to our strategy of investing in domains where we can provide added value, by leveraging on our strategic partnership with Rafael and its validation platform for deep-tech ventures,” added Kobi Katz, Partner, and CTO at Elron Ventures and former VP and CIO at Rafael.
Below is a video of the Wonder Robotics drone in action.