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Xwing teams with Bell for Unmanned Aircraft development

September 2018

Xwing teams with Bell for Unmanned Aircraft development

September 2018

NASA SIO Demonstration

The autonomous aviation startup will provide detect-and-avoid and perception systems

San Francisco, CA – September 06, 2018: Xwing, an autonomous aviation company, announces a partnership agreement with Bell, a Textron Inc. company, to develop and test unmanned aircraft technology.

Xwing will team up with Bell, Textron Systems, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) to demonstrate end-to-end commercial mission operations part of NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) project. With the end-goal of enabling certification, the focus is on tackling the key remaining challenges that prevent routine commercial unmanned aircraft operations. Flight demonstrations are planned for 2020. Early applications include cargo transport missions for medical facilities, disaster relief and offshore platform supply.

“Some of the key technologies involved here represent a significant step to the safe and widespread commercialization of autonomous cargo- and passenger-carrying VTOL aircraft. Xwing is excited to work with Bell, with the support of NASA and the FAA, to accelerate the path to certification of these systems.” said Marc Piette, Xwing’s founder and CEO.

For the NASA SIO demonstrator vehicle, Xwing will be providing integrated Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) and perception technology to enable detection and geolocalization of hazards through sensor fusion on board the vehicle. Bell will lead the development and systems integration of the Autonomous Pod Transport 70 (APT70) vehicle. Textron Systems will supply Command-and-Control (C2) technology, and CASA will provide weather avoidance technology.

The UAS in the NAS project falls under the Integrated Aviation Systems Program office managed at NASA Headquarters in Washington by the agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, manages both the project and this solicitation and selection for the SIO demonstration.

For more information on the UAS Integration in the NAS project, see NASA’s press release. To learn more about Xwing, please visit xwing.com.

Autonomous aviation startup Xwing takes off with $4MM

July 2018

Autonomous aviation startup Xwing takes off with $4MM

July 2018

Funding & Launch

The autonomous aviation startup is building a suite of technologies for pilotless flight of small passenger aircraft

San Francisco, CA – July 31, 2018: Xwing, an autonomous aviation company, today announces the closing of a $4MM seed round. Led by Eniac Ventures with participation from Array Ventures and prominent angels and aviation buffs, including John and Patrick Collison, founders of Stripe, as well as Nat Friedman of Xamarin, Microsoft and GitHub. The round allows the San Francisco-based company to scale operations and continue to hire top aerospace and software talent.

“Aviation is currently undergoing what will be a seismic shift. In the not-so-distant future, technology will dramatically change the way people and goods move and transform transportation as a whole,” said Marc Piette, Xwing Founder and CEO. “Xwing has brought together experts in optionally-piloted vehicles, unmanned systems, and certified avionics, to develop key autonomous flight technology and accelerate this change.”

“The coming wave of eVTOLs coupled with the high-cost structure of the commercial aviation industry makes the timing perfect for autonomy,” said Vic Singh, Founding General Partner, Eniac Ventures. “We are excited to support Marc and Xwing. We believe they are the best, most experienced team and have built the leading technology platform to make intelligent autonomous aviation a reality.”

Modern airliners and high-end business jets have expensive autoland-capable autopilots, GPS-based navigation, and redundant fly-by-wire control systems, but these systems still require pilots to steer at times and always be ready to take over if any issues arise. Xwing is building a suite of technologies necessary for fully-autonomous flight of smaller, cost-effective passenger aircraft. The company’s early focus is on the key functions of autonomous flight: sensing, reasoning, and control, and are developing and integrating technologies for rotorcraft, general aviation fixed-wing, and the new emerging electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for each of these capabilities.

Through the integration of a suite of sensors, Xwing allows aircraft to perceive their surroundings. They algorithmically fuse input from these sensors to reliably detect ground-based and airborne hazards and precisely determine the vehicle’s position. This perception technology serves as the base building block for autonomous aircraft, and can also be used to increase the operational envelope of current-day piloted aircraft.

Xwing’s Autonomy Flight Management System (AFMS) enables the aircraft to then act upon the information from its surroundings. It will integrate with air traffic control, generate flight paths to seamlessly navigate the airspace, monitor system health, and address all contingencies to ensure passenger safety.

The company was founded by successful former entrepreneur and software executive Marc Piette in 2016, and has since built up a team of exceptional industry talent from leading industry groups in optionally piloted and unmanned vehicles such as Rockwell Collins as well as world-class software talent from companies like Google. Xwing aims to bring together aviation industry experts to partner and collaborate in order to challenge conventional thinking and speed up overall market adoption.

To learn more or request a demo, please visit xwing.com.

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