AI & Autonomy, Military

Autonomy Firm Vayu Robotics Emerges From Stealth With Lockheed Martin Investment

AI company Vayu Robotics announced the closure of its seed financing round of $12.7 million, led by Khosla Ventures with Lockheed Martin Ventures, ReMY Investors, and others participating. (Photo: Vayu)

Vayu Robotics, a small startup developing artificial intelligence-enabled autonomy solutions for unmanned systems, on Tuesday emerged from stealth with $12.7 million in seed funding led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from Lockheed Martin’s venture group.

Vayu’s technology includes a foundation model for mobility it calls Vayu Drive and a low-cost sensing technology Vayu Sense says is a potential replacement to lidar for many mid-range applications.

Vayu was founded in October 2021, has 13 employees, and is based in Palo Alto, California. The company expects headcount to be around 20 a year from now, a Vayu spokeswoman said.

The company plans to use the investment to scale product development for AI robotics across various markets including last-mile delivery, factory automation, and automotive. The spokeswoman said Vayu is also “working on multiple opportunities in the federal aviation space but we do not have any contracts that we can publicly reveal at this time.”

For potential military applications, Vayu’s autonomy and sensing technology can be used in degraded or harsh environments by providing “3D perception without active illumination and our drive stack is capable of navigating through unstructured environments with minimal real-world data,” she said.

Chris Moran, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, stated that Vayu’s technology fits with Lockheed Martin’s vision for 21st Century warfighting.

“Vayu Robotics has a viable avenue to provide our customers with cutting-edge and cost-effective robotic systems that can introduce a new wave of intelligent, autonomous solutions across multiple domains,” he said.

The seed round is the first funding Vayu has received. ReMY Investors and others also participated.

“Vayu is poised to disrupt the market by creating the lowest cost ownership for robots with the best operational economics,” Anand Gopalan, Vayu’s CEO, said in a statement. “With this latest round of investment, our team is positioned to bring Vayu’s novel technology to the market through our first customers.”

Vayu said its employees are experts in machine learning, sensor development, and industrial manufacturing.

This article was originally published by Defense Daily, a sister publication of Avionics International. It has been edited. Read the original version here >>

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