SkyX, an Israeli-Canadian startup that has developed a self-charging drone for use in the monitoring of long-range assets like oil and gas pipelines, said Monday it has received $4 million out of a total of $5 million investment from China’s Kuang-Chi Group.
Kuang-Chi is a multi-billion-dollar technology conglomerate based in Shenzhen with a particular focus on investing in aerospace technologies. In 2016, the group said it was earmarking $300 million for investments in Israel and other global technologies, and in January the Chinese firm said it was looking to step up its activities in Israel.
SkyX’s drones have been developed to inspect pipelines for damage and also provide clients with mapping and security surveillance, thus limiting the industry’s reliance on road vehicles and manned aircraft and helping improve efficiency and lower costs.
Its SkyOne model offers Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) capabilities, while providing a remote recharging feature in the field. This means instead of returning to base, drones fly to a local xStation and recharge in a specially designed dome that also provides protection from inclement weather. The drone can then complete its mission.
Kuang-Chi’s investment SkyX was made in a series of tranches at key milestones in the development of the product, with the latest tranche invested earlier this week, bringing the total investment to $4 million, SkyX said in a statement. Kuang-Chi has earmarked an additional $1 million investment in the startup, bringing the total investment to $5 million.
Having Kuang-Chi as a strategic partner will help SkyX grow its markets and develop its products, Didi Horn, founder of SkyX and a former Israeli fighter pilot, said in the statement.
“SkyX has developed groundbreaking technology and we had no hesitation in providing our full backing to this exciting project,” said Dr. Ruopeng Liu, chairman of Kuang-Chi. “SkyX is exactly the type of company in which we at Kuang-Chi look to invest – innovative, disruptive, visionary and commercially attractive. This is a project with which we are passionate to be involved and we are excited to be part of the SkyX journey.”