AeroVironment, Inc. has acquired advanced unmanned aircraft navigation solutions provider Planck Aerosystems, Inc. with the aim of accelerating AeroVironment’s development of advanced autonomy capabilities.
Planck works closely with customers from the US Department of Defense, security agencies, allied governments and offshore industrials to develop customer-centric Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) solutions. The company’s products include embedded technologies and fully integrated UAS and leverage its deep technical expertise in UAS guidance and navigation, autonomy and artificial intelligence.
The small technology company based in San Diego, California and will be acquired by AeroVironment’s Petaluma-based medium UAS business segment to focus on integrating its flight autonomy solutions, such as ACE (Autonomous Control Engine), into AeroVironment’s offerings to enable safe, autonomous takeoff and landing from moving platforms on land or at sea in GPS-denied environments.
Other solutions include AVEM, a fully integrated mobile tethered sensor platform designed for persistent autonomous operation from moving vehicles and vessels in any environment, and a suite of machine-learning object detection and tracking systems that are customized for specific end-user needs.
“Planck has a compelling product and technology roadmap with valuable capabilities that we plan to deploy and integrate with AeroVironment’s existing portfolio of intelligent, multi-domain robotic systems,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The Planck team has developed advanced unmanned autonomy and navigation solutions for various defense and commercial customers and by working together, we believe we offer more compelling and differentiated solutions to our customers moving forward.”
“This transaction accelerates AeroVironment’s innovation in flight autonomy, increasing the effectiveness of our solutions in contested environments and reducing the cognitive load of operators, and adds a tethered SUAS to our portfolio of systems, creating exciting opportunities for upcoming programs of record,” Nawabi added.
“AeroVironment’s heritage of creating innovative solutions to meet customer needs is an ideal fit for the Planck team,” said Josh Wells, Planck chief executive officer. “We couldn’t be more excited about joining forces with AeroVironment to deliver innovative, multi-domain unmanned systems to the next generation of U.S. and allied warfighters. AeroVironment’s reach, technical capabilities and portfolio of unmanned systems will enable the Planck team to scale our products to more customers, and to provide better solutions in less time.”