Dawn of the Drones: A New Frontier
If you asked someone in the year 2000 when they thought flying cars would become the new norm, they would probably say in the year 2020. Fast forward to now, it’s 2022 and we don’t even have drones delivering our groceries and packages in a large capacity. The thought of a flying car doesn’t even seem possible in today's world. However, with the pandemic continuing on and millions of people stuck at home, new ideas regarding a futuristic world have vastly increased. In fact, Israeli High Tech startups have been dominating the game for the past two years during this unprecedented time creating new technologies to better adjust humans to this new normal. One company that is pioneering this movement is Airwayz, an AI unmanned traffic management (UTM) software company. Founder Runway got the chance to sit down with the CEO and Co-Founder of Airwayz, Eyal Zor, to discuss how they are revolutionizing the drone industry.
Eyal spent 15+ years of service in the Israeli Airforce working on complex missions that involved high-level human capability to control airspace. One day his friend and Co-Founder, who also worked in the same unit, and himself decided that some missions were almost too complex for a human to manage by themselves. They needed advanced technology to help with complex environments and decision-making. Eyal mentioned they have “always wanted to create an autonomous air traffic system” and quickly learned that in the future there were going to be a lot more drones than airplanes. So, they decided to create an autonomous air traffic control system for drones, this was the start of Airwayz.
Drones have been around for at least 10 years now but nobody has been able to harness the full capabilities of these technologies, such as for delivery service, due to one problem: how will the airspace be maintained? In January 2020, the Israeli government became greatly interested in creating a solution to having multiple drones flying around simultaneously. Airwayz became the leading company to develop a solution and was ultimately granted the opportunity by the Israeli government to test out their software in the real world. Airwayz has created an artificial intelligence software that mimics the “pilot” and “air controller” by using cloud management and communication. This AI-enabled software allows multiple drones to fly simultaneously along multiple routes and creates communication between the different drones so they can fly safely. It’s an idea unlike any other that harnesses the full capabilities of drones and modern technology. It’s important to understand that without this type of technology, you cannot have scalability in this industry, you must have a UTM system.
In May of 2021, the Israeli government became impressed with the technology Airwayz created and decided to back this initiative. They awarded Airwayz with the opportunity to showcase their UTM system by managing 20 drones from five companies simultaneously over an unpopulated area of the northern coastal city of Hadera. This test was a major success and has set the company up for future opportunities. Following the pilot in Israel, Airwayz has some very advanced international deployments in 2022, in the EU, the U.S., and the Far East. Airwayz has raised several million dollars from investors to date and has received a grant from the Israel Innovation Authority. They hope to bring their software system global to revolutionize the industry to better serve future generations.