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ModalAI – Company Profile
|Country:||USA||# of Employees:
Funding Status – Privately funded.
ModalAI offers start-to-finish custom design services and plug-and-play computing platforms designed to help drone manufacturers and independent builders get to market quickly and affordably.
ModalAI – Offerings Profile
Primary Target Markets – Defense / Security, Manufacturing, Other (Technology)
Technology / Product / Service(s) – ModalAI accelerates autonomy by providing innovators with robots and drone perception and communications systems manufactured in the U.S.A. The company offers start-to-finish custom design services and plug-and-play computing platforms designed to help drone manufacturers and independent builders get to market quickly and affordably.
As a Blue UAS Framework component manufacturer, ModalAI is the go-to supplier for drone developers looking to build drones compliant with National Defense Authorization Act 2020 (NDAA) Section 848, which bars the US military from purchasing unmanned aircraft systems that are designed or manufactured in foreign countries.
The company’s highly-integrated AI-powered modules and printed circuit boards empower a variety of industries to utilize aerial and ground autonomous navigation systems that communicate on 4G and 5G cellular networks. Offerings include:
- VOXL Flight – Introduced in 2020, ModalAI’s flagship product is the VOXL Flight. VOXL Flight is an open-development platform for autonomous drone navigation that fuses a companion computer with a PX4 flight controller on one printed circuit board (PCB). This Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWaP) optimized design reduces cabling, cost, size and weight to get to market sooner and increase profitability. It is the first single-board, open-development platform for autonomous drone navigation assembled in the U.S.A.
- Seeker – ModalAI also released the Seeker in 2021, the first micro-development drone that accelerates indoor and outdoor autonomy. The Seeker is powered by the new VOXL CAM which houses Blue UAS Framework components, VOXL and Flight Core, and SWaP-optimized sensors and payloads optimized for indoor and outdoor navigation. It is designed to navigate small spaces, as the 270mm carbon fiber airframe, self-contained VOXL CAM and tilted rotors make it perfect to navigate through tunnels, scaffolding and bridges.
- ModalLink – ModalLink is a handheld, private LTE network specific for the DoD use case to communicate multiple sUAS, robots and handheld devices using the DoD’s 1800MHz spectrum.
Value Proposition – ModalAI’s products, such as VOXL Flight and Seeker are highly-engineered to reduce cabling, cost, size and weight making them attractive to drone manufacturers who want to extend the range of their product. The primary value attributes include:
- Reliability and Performance – ModalAI is based in the USA and manufactures its products there, which allows U.S.-based customers to enjoy quick turnaround times. ModalAI representative indicates that their boards and components are higher quality and more reliable than those produced outside the US. The company provides customer support and comprehensive documentation for its products.
- Sectors of Operation – ModalAI technology is utilized for a variety of applications including safety and communication, indoor asset inspection, outdoor asset inspection and drones for deliveries. ModalAI’s AI-powered modules allow these industries to utilize aerial and ground autonomous navigation systems that communicate on 4G and 5G cellular networks.
- Safety and Communication for Military and Defense Missions – Autonomous drones equipped with VOXL Flight can plan and complete critical intelligence missions in high-risk environments including during military operations.
- Indoor Asset Inspection for Warehouse Inventory and Maintenance – VOXL Flight supports GPS-denied navigation allowing autonomous surveillance drones to monitor inventory, security and maintenance facilities remotely indoors.
- Outdoor Asset Inspection for Utilities – Vision-based drones powered by VOXL Flight can travel beyond visual line of sight to complete outdoor maintenance inspections safely and efficiently.
- Drones for Deliveries – VOXL Flight provides command and control of drones allowing them to independently deliver food, packages and medical supplies safely and promptly.
Demand Drivers – According to the Federal Aviation Administration (2021), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, are rapidly becoming a part of our everyday lives. As technology advances, drones will become more prevalent across an increasing number of various industries.
Uses for drones range from recreational and commercial applications, and on to military usess. Currently, there are 870,823 drones registered in the United States. Over the next ten years, the commercial drone space is projected to become a multi-billion dollar business.
ModalAI closely monitors the fast-paced drone landscape, working closely with drone manufacturers and applications developers to create solutions that increases the autonomy and simplifies the development of their drone-based solutions.
ModalAI is a Blue UAS Framework Component Manufacturer and works alongside the US DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit to provide American-made, autonomous flight controllers like VOXL Flight and Flight Core for their various projects.
ModalAI – Business Model(s) and Competition
Business Model – ModalAI sells its product directly online and through wholesale agreements with customers.
Partners – ModalAI is a Blue UAS Framework Component Manufacturer and works alongside the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a US Department of Defense organization that contracts with commercial companies to solve national security problems, to develop American-made, autonomous flight controllers like VOXL Flight and Flight Core for their various projects. In 2019, ModalAI was awarded a contract from the DIU to design the hardware architecture for Group 1 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for use by armed forces operations.
ModalAI is also a member of the City of San Diego’s team for the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP), helping to create the robust connectivity required for the project. It is also a silver member of Dronecode, ModalAI contributes hardware and software development to advance the growing, open-source PX4 ecosystem.
Customers – ModalAI assists various businesses in accelerating autonomy with their highly-integrated drone perception and communications systems built in the U.S.A. For example, with the assistance of technology from ModalAI, Uber Eats successfully tested its first food delivery by drone, in a high-density urban area. As the drone carried its edible cargo, VOXL, a powerful yet light-weight computing platform with 4G cellular connectivity, helped keep it safely on the flight path, even when the drone was out of sight from the pilot-in-command.
In 2019, the U.S. Army, through the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), awarded ModalAI a contract to design the hardware architecture for Group 1 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for use by armed forces operations. In the next phase of the partnership, ModalAI received a $3 million award from the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to advance the research and development of Blue sUAS autopilots.
Inspired Flight, a developer of UAVs, partnered with ModalAI to incorporate its American-made PX4 Flight Controller into all its drones. At an affordable price, ModalAI gave Inspired Flight the boost they needed to support their customers and improve their product. ModalAI was available with 24/7 remote support.
Additionally, Cleo Robotics teamed up with ModalAI to integrate VOXL Flight into their Dronut. With VOXL onboard, the Dronut boasts a unique, compact, and resilient form factor with intelligent, autonomous on-board computing. By partnering with ModalAI, Cleo accelerated its time to market and designed and assembled the Dronut in compliance with the NDAA Section 848 compliant VOXL.
ModalAI – Recent News
- VOXL Flight First Open-Development Platform to Fuse Flight Controller and Companion Computer on Single Board
- VOXL from ModalAI Contributes to Uber Eats Drone Delivery Testing
- DoD Announces $13.4 million DPA Title III Investments in U.S. Small Unmanned Aerial System Industrial Base
- Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) Awards ModalAI Contract to Develop Next-Generation UAS (Drone) Technology
- ModalAI CEO Chad Sweet Appointed to Dronecode’s 2021 Board of Directors
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