Near Earth Autonomy Named Innovator of the Year by Pittsburgh Technology Council

Near Earth recognized as AI/ML/Robotics category winner in the PTC's Tech 50 for 2022.

Near Earth Autonomy

Near Earth enabled autonomous operation of Kaman's K-Max Titan helicopter.
Near Earth Autonomy, which has developed systems to make aircraft from drones to helicopters autonomous, received recognition from the PTC for its innovation.

Near Earth Autonomy Inc. this week said that the Pittsburgh Technology Council, or PTC, has chosen it as the 2022 artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics innovator of the year.

“We are grateful for the Tech Council’s recognition of our work in building the future of autonomous flight,” stated Sanjiv Singh, co-founder and CEO. “My sincere gratitude goes to our employees and collaborators in helping create the building blocks for safe and efficient autonomous flight. The PTC has been a driving force behind the region’s upward trajectory, making Pittsburgh a great place to grow and scale a technology company.”

Near Earth said its technology enables uncrewed aircraft to autonomously take off, fly, and land safely, with or without GPS. It has designed systems to enable aerial mobility applications for partners in the commercial and defense sectors.

The Pittsburgh-based company claimed that it bridges the gap between aerospace and robotics with complete systems that can improve efficiency, performance, and safety for aircraft ranging from small drones to full-size helicopters.

Pittsburgh Technology Council honors local leaders 

Pittsburgh Technology Council recognizes Near Earth Autonomy

The Pittsburgh Technology Council recognized Near Earth as an innovator of the year. Source: Near Earth Autonomy

The Pittsburgh Technology Council said it celebrates the most successful and innovative technology companies in Southwestern Pennsylvania at its Tech 50 Awards event. The PTC announced this year's honorees at its 26th annual event, which had nearly 600 attendees.

“Every year, the list of finalists and winners continues to impress me,” said Audrey Russo, CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council. “Nowhere else can you find companies large and small across multiple industry clusters solving the world's toughest problems with technology.”

“While Pittsburgh is known for self-driving cars, Near Earth is unique in that it has pioneered autonomy for the next generation of aircraft,” she added. “We expect nothing less than a rethinking of aerial transportation from them. We are proud of Near Earth for bringing 'Aviation Alley' to the high-tech ecosystem in the Pittsburgh region.”

Near Earth Autonomy continues ascent

Near Earth noted that it was a 2017 finalist for the Collier Trophy, one of the top aviation awards in the world. The company's work won the 2018 Howard Hughes Award, which recognizes outstanding improvements in fundamental helicopter technology.

Last year, Near Earth partnered with Volocopter GmbH for test autonomy for the VoloDrone electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The Pittsburgh Robotics Network (PRNmember also partnered with Kajima for drone inspection of GPS-denied construction sites and with L3 Harris Technologies for drone delivery of blood and medical supplies to combat medics in the field.

More recently, Near Earth partnered with aerospace company Kaman Corp. and raised more than $10 million in funding. It also integrated its technology with Kaman’s K-Max Titan helicopter to enable autonomous aerial logistics (see video below).

Near Earth said it is expanding and hiring for a wide variety of roles.

Autonomous operation of K-Max Titan Helicopter enabled by Near Earth Autonomy.

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Near Earth Autonomy

Near Earth enabled autonomous operation of Kaman's K-Max Titan helicopter.

Robot Technologies