Airplane maker Boeing said Tuesday it is investing in California drone startup Matternet, to develop vehicles for the drone air cargo business.
“Matternet’s technology and proven track record make the development of a safe, global autonomous air mobility system a near-term reality,” Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures said in a Boeing press release. “Our investment will allow Matternet to scale its operations while strengthening Boeing’s position as a leader in next-generation transportation solutions.”
Matternet, based in Menlo Park, Calif., last year became the first company allowed to launch unmanned aerial vehicles over densely populated urban areas in Switzerland. It has already partnered with Swiss Post for deliveries of medical samples to hospitals in Switzerland.
Matternet soon will start a trial program to deliver medical supplies and samples to medical facilities in California and North Carolina.
Matternet also said Tuesday it will be part of the World Economic Forum’s Drone Innovators Network, an initiative meant to accelerate a safe, sustainable, global drone system focused on improving people’s lives.
“We are excited to partner with Boeing, the pioneers of safe commercial aviation, to make this new mode of transport mainstream,” said Matternet Founder and Chief Executive Officer Andreas Raptopoulos. “As we expand Matternet’s U.S. and global operations, we will work with Boeing to make next-generation aerial logistics networks a reality and transform our everyday lives.”
Boeing HorizonX Ventures led the $16 million, Series A investment in Matternet, with participation by Swiss Post, Sony Innovation Fund and Levitate Capital.