Boeing invests in company building autonomous aircraft

Boeing’s HorizonX venture arm has invested in Near Earth Autonomy, a Carnegie Mellon spin-out company that focuses on building autonomous aircraft systems for things including site inspection, defence and potentially automated cargo delivery and personal transportation systems – i.e., flying taxis.

Near Earth Autonomy is led by CEO and co-founder Sanjiv Singh, along with his founding team Marcel Bergerman, Lyle Chamberlain and Sebastian Scherer, all of whom are former Carnegie Mellon faculty or students focusing on robotics at the world-leading robotic studies school. The company’s expertise ranges from collision avoidance, to motion planning, to navigating without GPS and more for safe operation of autonomous drone systems.

This is Boeing’s first investment in autonomous vehicle technologies since it was established earlier this year. Plus, in addition to the financial stake, Boeing is partnering with Near Earth Autonomy on future-focused tech around autonomous flight, including urban mobility.

The aerospace industry and Silicon Valley alike are increasingly excited about the potential for self-flying taxis and VTOLs for cargo, along with drone package delivery, so Boeing looking around for a good partner in the space makes a lot of sense.