Boeing’s venture capital arm HorizonX Ventures has invested in US-based startup Kittyhawk, which develops software to help manage traffic of commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

Kittyhawk’s technology will work to develop a UAS traffic management system (UTM) that will simultaneously allow commercial drones and piloted aircraft to fly safely in the same airspace.

HorizonX Ventures invested in the drone startup through a seed funding round led by Bonfire Ventures, which also saw the participation of Freestyle Capital.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures managing director Brian Schettler said: “When paired with the broad portfolio of complementary data service offerings within Boeing, Kittyhawk is poised to help us shape the future of safe autonomous flight.

“We are excited to explore new capabilities made possible through foresight, expertise and a focus on holistic solutions that support the safe integration of unmanned systems into the national airspace.”

“Kittyhawk is poised to help us shape the future of safe autonomous flight.”

Established in 2015, Kittyhawk has been developing enterprise software and mobile-based apps that integrate real-time UAS flight operations and management solutions all in one platform.

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The company has already teamed up with Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen to expand unmanned operations by participating in the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) low-altitude authorisation and notification capability (LAANC).

The LAANC programme is a joint effort to create UTM processes that integrate unmanned aircraft, cargo delivery and beyond visual line of sight operations safely into the airspace.

Kittyhawk founder and chief pilot Joshua Ziering said: “Boeing’s world-renowned aviation expertise and resources will help Kittyhawk continue to mature our enterprise offerings.

“Boeing’s long history of forging new industries within the aerospace sector will also help as Kittyhawk continues its mission to create robust, open and interoperable standards to empower the commercial drone industry.”