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Drone Aviation raises $4m for tethered drone system

The company says its drone is ideal for collecting video and sensor data.

Drone Aviation has completed a $3.7 million raise to commercially launch its tethered drone, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing and a press release.

Cornerstone investors in the raise include members of the company’s senior management, chairman Jay Nussbaum, and Frost Gamma Investments, which is affiliated with the chair of the company’s advisory board, Phillip Frost, according to the release.

Drone Aviation’s website says the company’s WATT drone has the ability to hover in place at heights up to 300 feet while drawing power from host vehicles, including agriculture and infrastructure equipment, or via ground power equipment. The system can carry a payload of up to 10 pounds, including video or sensor equipment.

As previously reported by Agri Investor, the recent burst in commercially available drone technology has tremendous potential for use in the agri sector. Chinese drone maker DJI recently developed an unmanned drone specifically for crop-dusting.

However, the regulatory environment has been slow to adapt to the growing availability of drone technology, particularly in the US. An executive at CyPhy, another producer of tethered drones, told Agri Investor that easing requirements for licensed pilots and observers at US drone flight would increase the ability for growers to take advantage of drone technology to monitor fields and automate farm operations.