As research into a COVID-19 vaccine continues, there are questions concerning how a potential vaccine can be efficiently distributed to the population. Keen-eyed investors in the Bay Area are looking to drone delivery startups for a possible way forward.
The company announced it raised $50 million in a Series B round on Tuesday to build out its drone delivery service. The additional capital will be used to rapidly scale operations in the United States and abroad.
“Now it’s time to get back to work on our mission: changing the way things move from one place to another and accelerating the world’s freedom from the limitations of traditional infrastructure,” Hannan Parvizian, co-founder and CEO of Volansi, said in a blog post.
Volansi’s automated drone delivery service is already in use to deliver time-critical parts for the U.S. Department of Defense, but the company intends to extend use of its technology to help with humanitarian relief efforts as well.
Following the devastation from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Volansi teamed up with Merck & Co. Inc. and Direct Relief to provide those affected by the disaster with much-needed supplies, delivered via drone.
Following its Series A last year, Volansi developed two autonomous drone models, the VOLY C10 and the VOLY M20.
The VOLY C10 can carry up to 10 pounds of cargo over 50 miles and has already performed operations in Africa, the Caribbean, and the U.S., while the VOLY M20 has the ability to simultaneously carry up to 20 pounds of cargo in addition to 10 pounds of sensor payloads (a military term used to describe the tools that are used on surveillance vehicles, this can include any combination of infrared sensors, visible-light cameras, multispectral and hyperspectral sensors, according to Military and Aerospace Electronics). The M20 has a 350-mile range and a top cruising speed of 75 mph.
The company recently signed an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to begin commercial drone delivery projects in the state. Volansi joins another San Francisco-based drone delivery startup, Zipline, as the latest unmanned vehicle manufacturer to operate out of North Carolina.
Volansi is currently composed of 65 team members spread out across California, Arizona and Africa. The company will be looking to add engineers, developers, and operators to its team as it continues to grow.
“There’s lots to do and we’re all on board and excited to make it happen,” Parvizian continued.
Volansi has raised $75.1 million in venture capital financing to date, according to Crunchbase.