Iris Automation has raised a $10 million CAD Series A from Silicon Valley firm Bessemer Venture Partners.

David Cowan from Bessemer has joined the board. Based in San Francisco, Iris Automation was founded by University of British Columbia engineering grads. Its system includes an embedded computing platform combined with a high-resolution, vision-based sensing package, allowing for the detection of moving objects such as Cessna airplanes at ranges of 1500 feet, or 500m. Once detected, Iris Automation’s system maneuver the drones or other flying robots safely away from collision trajectories.

“Iris Automation’s approach to sensing is unlike anything ever attempted in the autonomous vehicle space,” said Alexander Harmsen, CEO at Iris Automation. “Our team of experts in computer vision, machine learning, and traditional aviation have built a product that will provide the level of safety necessary for pushing the boundaries of what is possible with drones, at a size factor and price point unheard of in the world of aviation.”

Iris’ team includes expertise NASA, Boeing, and PhDs in computer vision. The company plans to use the investment to expand its engineering team in San Francisco and Reno-Tahoe, and to scale the technology to participate in the upcoming White House UAS Integration Pilot Projects.

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