wjr business beat

WJR Business Beat: Pandemic Brings Flying Drones and Taxis Closer to Reality (Episode 321)

On the Business Beat, Jeff discusses how the pandemic has accelerated the growth — and funding — of delivery drones and other autonomous systems.

Tune in to the Business Beat, below, for details:

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Good morning, Paul! The COVID pandemic was powerful enough to decimate businesses and even category sectors of businesses, but it’s been kind to others believe it or not. For example, one sector taking flight as a result of the pandemic is that of air taxis and cargo drones. Once seen as sci-fi fantasia is now seen as a coming reality and coming sooner than any of us ever thought was possible as a direct result of the pandemic. Now one hallmark of any trending sector is the amount of investment that one can see going into that site. And, indeed, startups in this particular sector are getting a lot of attention these days from investors. The latest data shows this sector is superheated with investor interest and lots of dollars. This year, startups building autonomous drones to carry passengers and packages have raised $5.5 billion up from about $1.1 billion just a year ago. That’s nearly a fivefold increase and that compares to just $438 million in venture capital funding for the entire decade between 2009 and 2019. So, you can see the growth and investment into the sector is massive and accelerating rapidly. That’s all according to data from the investment tracking firm Pitchbook. So why are drones growing? Why now? Well, the pandemic induced jammed-up supply chain, labor shortages and the ultimate cost savings of moving goods through the air and unmanned drones solves multiple issues for logistics companies. And now with huge cash reserves, these startups are accelerating rapidly to develop autonomous electric drones that promise to slash those delivery times and costs as it relates to moving both packages as well as people. So Paul, the bottom line is that the day when we look up at a passing, flying taxi or a delivery drone operating on its own, autonomously doing its job, may be relatively close. I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of startupnation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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