Kaman Corporation (NYSE: KAMN) announced that it has invested $10 million in Near Earth Autonomy, Inc. (“Near Earth”), in exchange for a minority interest in the outstanding equity of Near Earth and one seat on its board of directors. The investment by Kaman will allow Near Earth to accelerate its technology to establish an industry standard in autonomous solutions for the next generation of aviation.
This partnership also leverages Kaman’s core competency in precision parts manufacturing as the preferred manufacturer of autonomous parts and components for Near Earth. This investment builds upon an already strong working relationship between the two companies. Since 2019, Near Earth has been a partner of Kaman on the autonomy technology for Kaman’s K-MAX TITAN heavy-lift optionally piloted helicopter for the United States Marine Corps and the KARGO UAV unmanned aerial system, a purpose-built autonomous medium-lift logistics vehicle. Going forward, Near Earth will provide safe landing, obstacle avoidance, and other autonomous flight technologies such as sense and avoid, navigation in a GPS-denied environment, and precision landing.
“We are excited about this opportunity to accelerate the technology development of autonomous systems,” said Ian Walsh, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “After several years of working together on our K-MAX TITAN and most recently on KARGO UAV, taking our relationship with Near Earth to the next level will help us accelerate this important technology even faster. In an ever-changing and growing autonomy market, we are confident that our joint expertise will result in highly capable, reliable, affordable and maintainable solutions for both military and commercial applications.”
“This investment represents a major leap forward for both Kaman and Near Earth to enable the next generation of autonomous aerial logistics,” said Sanjiv Singh, CEO of Near Earth. “Kaman has a well-deserved reputation for its robust aircraft specializing in logistics and is a fantastic partner for the development of autonomous cargo transport. We are excited at the opportunity to mature the technology for the commonplace use of autonomous aircraft for logistics across the industry.”
Kaman Corporation, founded in 1945 by aviation pioneer Charles H. Kaman, and headquartered in Bloomfield, Connecticut, conducts business in the aerospace & defense, industrial, and medical markets. Kaman produces and markets proprietary aircraft bearings and components; super precision, miniature ball bearings; proprietary spring energized seals, springs and contacts; complex metallic and composite aerostructures for commercial, military and general aviation fixed and rotary wing aircraft; safe and arming solutions for missile and bomb systems for the U.S. and allied militaries; subcontract helicopter work; restoration, modification and support of our SH-2G Super Seasprite maritime helicopters; manufacture and support of our heavy lift K-MAX® manned helicopter, the K-MAX TITAN unmanned helicopter and the KARGO UAV unmanned aerial system, a purpose-built autonomous medium-lift logistics vehicle. More information is available at https://www.kaman.com.
Near Earth’s technology allows aircraft to autonomously take off, fly, and land safely, with or without GPS. Their solutions enable aerial mobility and inspection applications for partners in the commercial and defense sectors. Near Earth bridges the gap between aerospace and robotics with complete systems that improve efficiency, performance, and safety for aircraft ranging from small drones to full-size helicopters. Their work won the 2018 Howard Hughes Award, which recognizes outstanding improvements in fundamental helicopter technology, and was a 2017 finalist for the Collier Trophy, one of the top aviation awards in the world. More information is available at https://www.nearearth.aero/.