While today’s drone pilots are impressed by the innovations in DJI’s latest drones like the Mavic Air, the Chinese dronemaker has its sights set on the future — and that could be augmented reality.
Drone operations company DroneBase today announced that it has received its third round of funding from DJI. That announced is part of the news of DroneBase’s Series B funding round, in which the company raised $12 million, bringing DroneBase’s total funding to more than $17 million.
Other investors include Union Square Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Hearst Ventures and Pritzker Group.
That funding is expected to fuel the development of AirCraft Pro, DroneBase’s augmented reality technology. Its creators describe AirCraft Pro as a means of filming a CAD model in real-life vs. dropping it in during post-production. Drone blog DroneLife has an excellent look at the details of AirCraft here.
DroneBase initially started as a network of pilots around the world. The company promised to help drone owners find gigs nearby, and let clients post their needs in hopes of matching them with a pilot — a sort of Airbnb for drones. The company says it has grown 10x each year for the past two years, and it has pilots active in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 60 other countries. It also says its pilots have completed over 100,000 drone missions for clients including Hilton hotels and Zillow, according to TechCrunch.
“DroneBase has addressed two key challenges in the industry by providing reliable, affordable and scalable drone services for enterprises across industries, while offering opportunities for pilots of all skill sets with purposeful reasons to fly their drones,” said Jan Gasparic, Head of Enterprise Partnerships at DJI.
The funding was made via SkyFund, an investment vehicle by DJI and Accel Partners that intends to invest in companies that create industry-specific software applications for drones, such as those involving mapping, imaging, agriculture and inspection.
Given the tie-in with DJI, DroneBase requires its pilots to exclusively use DJI products “in order to standardize the footage collected,” according to TechCrunch.