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Developer of automated cargo planes draws $100 million investment

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Oct 14 (Reuters) – Reliable Robotics, a Silicon Valley startup aiming to automate standard fixed-wing planes to ferry cargo and finally passengers, has raised $100 million from traders, the corporate stated on Thursday.

The Series C spherical was led by New York-based Coatue Management, whose investment portfolio consists of Rivian and Lime.

Reliable co-founder and CEO Robert Rose stated the funds will allow the four-year-old firm to proceed growing a system designed to ship cargo throughout a community of smaller regional airports in automated planes remotely managed by human pilots.

“We’re looking to build a cargo carrier that can operate at a large scale,” Rose stated, starting with fixed-wing plane such because the Cessna Citation.

Ultimately, Reliable plans to construct out the automated aerial cargo supply enterprise, after which increase operations to incorporate passengers, almost definitely within the latter half of the last decade, Rose stated in an interview.

Reliable will use some of the cash to pursue associated companies, he stated, together with evaluating “a number of new aircraft designs as our next step for automation.” Those embody electrical vertical takeoff and touchdown (eVTOL) plane being developed by different startups and established aviation firms, in addition to potential protection purposes.

“We intend to begin operations early next year and then roll in the automation as it becomes certified” by FAA, stated Rose, who’s a licensed pilot and a former official at Tesla (TSLA.O) and Space-X.

He stated the still-nascent enterprise of automating smaller plane presents a chance to car producers, corresponding to Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), which is the manufacturing accomplice of eVTOL maker Joby Aviation (JOBY.N).

“If I were an automaker, I’d be looking at this space” the place one of the largest challenges will probably be “to manufacture these things at scale and appropriate levels of reliability,” Rose stated.

The Series C spherical was joined by current traders Lighspeed, Eclipse, Pathbreaker and Teamworthy.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit
Editing by Nick Zieminski

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The Reliable Robotics Autolanding gear is visible as a Cessna 208 Cargomaster flies in this undated handout over California, U.S. Reliable Robotics/Handout via REUTERS

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