Showing posts from 2021

Autonomous aviation startup Xwing hits $400M valuation after latest funding round

  The safety pilot has his hands off the controls during an Xwing demonstration flight. Image Credits: Xwing Xwing has scored another win two months after it completed its first gate-to-gate autonomous demonstration flight of a commercial cargo aircraft. The company said Thursday it has raised $40 million at a post-money valuation of $400 million. The company is setting its sights on expansion — not only tripling its engineering team, but eventually running regular fully unmanned commercial cargo flights. Xwing has been developing a technology stack to convert aircraft, including a widely used Cessna Grand Caravan 208B, to function autonomously. But it’s had to solve a few problems first: “the perception problem, the planning problem and the control problem,” Xwing founder Marc Piette explained to TechCrunch. The company has come up with a whole suite of solutions to solve for these problems, including integrating lidar, radar and cameras on the plane; retrofitting the servomotors that

France Moves to Ban Short-Haul Flights

France moved one step closer this weekend to banning short-haul flights in an attempt to fight the climate crisis . A bill prohibiting regional flights that could be replaced with an existing train journey of less than two and a half hours passed the country's National Assembly late on Saturday, as Reuters reported . "We know that aviation is a contributor of carbon dioxide and that because of climate change we must reduce emissions," Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Europe 1 radio, according to Reuters. The measure now has to pass the French Senate, then return to the lower house for a final vote. It would end regional flights between Paris's Orly airport and cities like Nantes and Bordeaux, The Guardian explained . It would not, however, impact connecting flights through Paris's Charles de Gaulle/Roissy airport. The bill is part of a legislative package which aims to reduce France's emissions by 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030, Reuters report

Shell invests in LanzaJet to speed up deliveries of its synthetic aviation fuel

Image Credits: Thomas Jackson / Getty Images The energy giant Shell has joined a slew of strategic investors — including All Nippon Airways, Suncor Energy, Mitsui and British Airways — in funding LanzaJet, the company commercializing a process to convert alcohol into jet fuel. A spin-off from LanzaTech , one of the last surviving climate tech startups from the first cleantech boom that’s still privately held, LanzaJet is taking a phased investment approach with its corporate backers, enabling them to invest additional capital as the company scales to larger production facilities. Terms of the initial investment, or LanzaJet’s valuation after the commitment, were not disclosed. LanzaJet claims that it can help the aviation industry reach net-zero emissions, something that would go a long way toward helping the world meet the emissions reductions targets set in the Paris Agreement . “LanzaJet’s technology opens up a new and exciting pathway to produce SAF using an AtJ process and will he