Edgybees raises $5.5M to bring better AR to cars and drones

It’s one thing to dispatch a drone when an accident happens to get an aerial overview of what’s happening on the ground, but you get far better situational awareness if you can use augmented reality (AR) to add the names of roads, the location of key personnel, cars and other assets to that view. That’s what Edgybees, a Santa Clara-based startup that current specializes in AR for drones, offers first responders. Its system has already been used by emergency teams during the Northern California wildfires and hurricane floods in Florida.

The company today announced that it has raised a $5.5 million seed funding round that includes Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, and Verizon Ventures, as well as 8VC, NFX, Aspect Ventures and Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd.

The company plans to use the new funding to bring its existing AR technology, which I recently saw in action during a drone demo with Israel’s volunteer first responder organization United Hatzalah in Jerusalem, to other platforms and to enter new verticals. These include defense, smart cities, automotive and broadcast media.

Last year, Edgybees also partnered with drone manufacturer DJI to use its AR systems to build a racing game. That’s not really the company’s focus these days, but it shows the power of the platform the team has built.

“What started as technology powering a racing game is now saving lives around the world,” co-founder and CEO Adam Kaplan writes in today’s announcement. “The overwhelming response by commercial and industrial drone users looking to leverage AR, and partner with us in the fields of fire, public safety, and search & rescue has been amazing, and we can’t wait to expand the next set of drone applications into new markets.”

Kaplan previously co-founded a number of companies, while his CTO Menashe Haskin was previously the head of Amazon’s Prime Air office in Israel.