Boeing Venture Arm Invests in Pursuit of Urban Air Taxi Market Penetration

By S.L. Fuller | October 19, 2017
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Boeing HorizonX has invested in a company specializing in autonomous flight. Pennsylvania-based Near Earth Autonomy, with the new Boeing investment, plans to partner with the manufacturer to explore future products and applications for emerging markets — like urban mobility.

“This partnership will accelerate technology solutions that we feel will be key to unlocking emerging markets of autonomous flight,” said Steve Nordlund, Boeing HorizonX VP. “We are excited to begin this partnership with a company with such a depth of experience in autonomy so we can leverage the scale of Boeing to innovate for our customers.”

Although Boeing said this is Boeing HorizonX Ventures’ first investment in autonomous technologies since its establishment in April, it’s not Boeing’s first investment. Boeing recently announced plans to acquire another firm that specializes in autonomy: Aurora Flight Sciences. Aurora is also an official partner in Uber’s urban air mobility program.

Near Earth Autonomy is a spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. It specializes in software and sensor technology that can enable aircraft ranging from sub-meter to full scale to inspect, map and survey terrain and infrastructure, as well as transport cargo, autonomously.

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