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Watch this robotic arm swap fresh batteries into an autonomous drone

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New Israeli startup, Airobotics, has built a Transformer-like base station for its drones

There are a bunch of companies selling autonomous drones to mining and construction companies. SkyCatch is working with Komatsu, the largest builder in Japan. And Kesprey is trying out autonomous drones in the US. Today, a new player entered the market, Israel's Airobotics. And it brought along the most high-tech landing pad we've seen from a drone company yet.

Seriously look at this thing.

airobotics landing bay

It looks like a Transformer, and that's fitting, since Airobotics has dubbed its drone "Optimus." Because military service is mandatory in Israel, many of the team members have experience working with extremely precise guidance systems, and the company claims that its drone is outfitted with "military-grade avionics for flight performance and reliability."

The drone lands on top of the base station and is then lowered inside, where it is met by a robotic arm. The arm can swap out batteries and change the payload, all autonomously, allowing the drone to operate for long periods of time or across multiple missions without any human assistance.

The drone can autonomously switch from mapping to security mode

Airobotics announced today that it has raised $28.5 million in funding from BlueRun Ventures and CRV. It also has the backing of Noam Bardin, the CEO of Waze, and Richard Woolridge, the chief operating officer of Google's ATAP division.

You can check out some detailed examples of how Airobotics drones might operate in the real world in the video below. It's interesting to see a company propose that a single drone could be used for inspection and surveying during the day, then switched to security at night, all at the tap of a button.