According to reports from several websites, Massachusetts-based Aria Insights, which in January changed its name from CyPhy Works, has shut its doors. The tethered drone company was aiming to use the rebranding to focus on integrating artificial intelligence and machine language into its drones.
In a blog post on the DroneLife.com website, CEO Lance Vanden Brook provided a brief statement, saying “Aria Insights has ceased operations effective March 21, 2019.”
The company was founded in 2008 under the name The Droid Works, with robotics pioneer Helen Greiner, the co-founder of iRobot, as one of its founders. The company’s tethered aerial vehicles were used in the agriculture, defense, law enforcement, and energy industries.
In June 2018, the company raised $4.5 million in debt finance funding, but also revealed that Greiner had left the company to work with the U.S. Army. The company had raised about $39 million in venture funding and debt financing, according to Crunchbase.
Vanden Brook talked with Robotics Business Review in Januuary about the rebranding and why it wanted to focus more on providing data analytics. “After 10 years of innovating and redefining drone technology, the team at CyPhy saw the limitations facing the industry – namely the complications and risks of retrieving and analyzing data,” he said. “A number of our partners were collecting and housing massive amounts of information with our drones, but there was no service in the industry to quickly and efficiently turn that data into actionable insights.”
In 2015, Greiner gave an interview to Joanne Pransky, associate editor of Industrial Robot and a contributor to Robotics Business Review, talked about some early failures with developing robots:
Greiner: “We failed because we had a price point that was too high for a consumer product. Our price was coming out at around $5,000, which is a lot of money. Additionally, the Internet technology wasn’t ready yet, and it wasn’t consumer-friendly. Consumers didn’t yet have always-on Wi-Fi connections. The one thing I learned is it’s not just about the great idea. It’s about the timing. … I just wanted to do it too early. We couldn’t have succeeded at that time, as we were at least a decade ahead of the market, and I just didn’t know it then.”
The closure of Aria/CyPhy is another in a line of recent robotics and aerial drone-related companies in recent months. Cobot pioneer Rethink Robotics shut its doors in October 2018, drone company Airware closed in September 2018, and consumer robot companies Mayfield Robotics and Jibo also ceased operations last year. Earlier this month, Jibo’s servers finally shut down, having the robot “announce its own death.”
Robotics Business Review has reached out to Aria Insights officials for a statement. We will update this story as more information comes out.