Boeing's VC arm makes new autonomous tech investment

Boeing’s venture capital arm has invested in an unmanned aircraft radar developer as part of efforts by one of the world’s two largest airplane makers to further integrate autonomous vehicles safely into civilian airspace.

Terms of the investment into Fortem Technologies were not disclosed. Boeing said Thursday this is the second investment its HorizonX Ventures organization has made in autonomous systems technology since the fund was established in 2017.

Founded in 2016 and based in Salt Lake City, Fortem designs its radar technology to help unmanned aerial vehicles detect and avoid other aircraft and airborne objects beyond visual line of sight.

Fortem eyes its TrueView radar system as being able to help autonomous planes with cargo transportation, package delivery and infrastructure inspection flights.

HorizonX’s investments are one facet of Boeing’s push to be a leader in autonomous systems. Boeing has also made a pair of acquisitions to add new autonomous capabilities, including last year’s buy of electric-powered drone maker Aurora Flight Sciences and the 2016 addition of unmanned underwater vehicle builder Liquid Robotics.

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