Developer of automated cargo planes draws $100 million investment

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October 14 (Businesshala) – Reliable Robotics, a Silicon Valley startup that aims to automate conventional fixed-wing aircraft to ferry cargo and eventually passengers, has raised $100 million from investors, the company said on Thursday. said.

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The Series C round was led by New York-based Cotu Management, whose investment portfolio includes Rivian and Lime.

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Credible co-founder and CEO Robert Rose said the fund will enable the four-year-old company to develop a system designed to deliver cargo across a network of small regional airports in automated aircraft controlled remotely by human pilots.

“We’re looking to build a cargo carrier that can operate at scale,” Rose said, starting with fixed-wing aircraft like the Cessna Citation.

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Ultimately, Reliable plans to build out the automated air cargo delivery business, and then expand operations to include passengers, most likely in the latter half of the decade, Rose said in an interview.

Credible will use some of the money to pursue related businesses, he said, “evaluating several new aircraft designs as our next step for automation.” These include electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft being developed by other startups and established airlines, as well as potential defense applications.

“We intend to begin operations early next year and then roll into automation as it becomes certified,” said Rose, who is a licensed pilot and pilot at Tesla (TSLA.O) and Space-X. is a former officer.

He said the still-nascent business of automating small aircraft presents an opportunity for automobile manufacturers such as Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), a manufacturing partner of EVTOL manufacturer Jobi Aviation (Job.N).

“If I were an automaker, I would be looking at this space” where one of the biggest challenges would be “manufacturing these things on a large scale and at a reasonable level of reliability,” Rose said.

Existing investors Lightspeed, Eclipse, Pathbreaker and Teamworthy joined the Series C round.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit Editing by Nick Ziminsky

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