Acquisition expected to combine market-leading automated drone platforms. Global reach further positions American Robotics as a leader in the growing commercial drone space.
Ondas Holdings Inc., a leading provider of private wireless, drone and automated data solutions through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Ondas Networks Inc. and American Robotics, Inc. (“AR”), announced that it has signed a term sheet to acquire through acquisition or merger AIROBOTICS Ltd., a leading Israeli developer of autonomous unmanned aircraft systems and automated data analysis and visualization platforms.* The addition of Airobotics is expected to help accelerate American Robotics’ technical development and regulatory roadmap, and expand the breath of applications, use cases and vertical markets AR targets. The parties intend to complete the proposed acquisition or merger in the second half of 2022.
“Airobotics’ Optimus System is a sophisticated automated drone platform designed for high- value use cases in industrial, homeland security and smart city services markets,” said Eric Brock, Chairman and CEO of Ondas. “The proposed acquisition of Airobotics will provide strategic technology, regulatory and business capabilities to both American Robotics and Ondas Networks, opening new geographies and end markets, and further strengthening our ability to deliver complete end-to-end solutions for customers on a global scale. This opportunity demonstrates the leadership role Ondas Networks and American Robotics currently have in defining next-generation, mission-critical industrial data solutions and signals a new growth phase for the commercial drone sector.”
“We look forward to joining the Ondas family and the American Robotics team,” said Meir Kliner, CEO and co-founder of Airobotics. “Ondas Networks has demonstrated market leadership in the development of their wireless and automated industrial technology platforms, and American Robotics has pioneered fully automated drone operation through its precedent-setting FAA beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) approvals. This combination will offer Airobotics the opportunity to expand globally, especially in the United States, which we believe is the largest market for our Optimus System. The technologies and talented people at Ondas Networks and AR will strengthen our systems and services, improving our ability to participate in the scaling of the commercial drone economy.”
Airobotics is a pioneer in developing the Optimus System, an advanced, autonomous UAS focused on high-value applications in industrial, homeland security and smart city services markets. The Optimus System is an industrial grade drone-in-a-box (“DIB”) platform consisting of the Optimus Drone and the Optimus Airbase. The Optimus Airbase offers the market’s most comprehensive set of functionalities, including robotic battery swapping and robotic payload swapping. As a result, the system is able to provide near-continuous flight time and multi-option imaging capabilities, feature sets desired by certain markets such as security and public safety. The system also includes the Insightful Data Platform, a powerful automated data distribution and processing software. The Optimus System offers customers an enterprise level automated data capture and analysis solution, including real time video, and can operate 24/7 without human intervention.
Founded in 2014, Airobotics is headquartered in Petah Tikva, Israel. Since inception, Airobotics has raised and invested over $130 million from leading global institutional investors. The Optimus System is a robust and mature platform deployed and operated in some of the world’s most complex environments. Airobotics has an active customer pipeline in the United States, Israel, Singapore and the UAE, as well as the potential to expand into additional international markets. Airobotics is in its final stages to receive a precedential Type Certificate by the FAA for its Optimus UAS, a feat no drone company has ever accomplished. As part of this process, the FAA has published the safety criteria for the Optimus System, which will allow Airobotics to certify its highly automated drone system, automating all phases of flight including swapping batteries and payloads and eventually permitting operation over cities and other populated areas. Airobotics expects to have one of the first DIB system to receive such certification from the FAA.
Strategic Rationale for Combination
American Robotics, via the Scout System, and Airobotics, via the Optimus System, are both recognized as leading developers of automated drone platforms in their respective markets. The combination of the two companies will bring together leading engineering and aviation talent, regulatory leadership, and world-class technology platforms, providing a unique opportunity to offer a broader scope of solutions and services for customers in accelerated timelines. Further, we expect the combined company will be a true global provider of automated drone solutions to a broader range of markets and applications, allowing multi-national customers and governments to focus their UAS programs with the leading solutions provider.
The Company expects to realize the following benefits through the proposed acquisition or merger of Airobotics:
Extended IP & Technology Leadership: The number and types of markets, users and use cases for autonomous DIB technology is vast. The combination of Airobotics and American Robotics will bring together best-in-class elements of the commercial DIB ecosystem, offering the opportunity for accelerated product offerings to a broader set of end markets and applications. Significant opportunities exist to share advanced technology and intellectual property between American Robotics and Airobotics. Critical system elements including payloads, detect-and-avoid (DAA) technology, reliability and safety systems, and data analytics can be optimized in the companies’ current and next-generation drone platforms.
Global Marketing and Service Platform: The opportunity for autonomous DIB is global, with AR estimating over 10 million asset sites around the world having need for this technology in order to drive the next era of industrial digital transformation. The proposed acquisition or merger will provide a U.S.-based marketing and field services platform to drive adoption of the Airobotics Optimus System in commercial, security and defense markets. Similarly, the combined company will have a greater opportunity to bring American Robotics’ Scout System into international markets, offering Ondas the ability to better serve large, multinational customers across the world with a wider variety of solutions and services.
Regulatory Scale: Regulatory authorization is central to the ability to commercialize and scale DIB technology. American Robotics and Airobotics have demonstrated expertise and leadership in UAS regulatory affairs. Both companies were participants in the recent FAA-sponsored Aviation Rulemaking Committee on the operation of unmanned aircraft BVLOS (known as BVLOS ARC). American Robotics has developed and integrated best-in-class safety technologies and systems, resulting in its historic FAA approvals to operate BVLOS with no humans on-site. The integration of AR’s safety systems with the Airobotics Optimus System will offer the potential for extended FAA approvals for BVLOS flight operations. Additionally, Airobotics is in the final stages of Type Certification with the FAA for its Optimus System, which will offer significant time and cost advantages as the combined company pursues Type Certification of future UAS platforms, including the Scout System.
Expanded Wireless Opportunity: With increased data collection comes the need for improved wireless connectivity. Ondas Networks’ software-defined wireless connectivity platform will see a broader opportunity for product development in UAS applications including command and control UAS navigation. Further, a presence in Israel offers the opportunity to expand existing relationships with Israeli aviation and defense vendors and the broader international MC-IoT vendor ecosystem.
Financial: The combined company is expected to benefit from synergies, including cost-related efficiencies resulting from integrated engineering and product development programs, the benefits of shared sales and marketing resources and the elimination of certain duplicative costs related to legal, board and other public company costs.
*Subject to transaction details.