Drones

Drone Companies Finding Investors in Silicon Valley

For commercial use, not military

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American skies aren't supposed to open for another couple of years to drones flown by commercial operators, but they're already getting liftoff with Silicon Valley investors.

On Wednesday, a drone start-up called Airware plans to announce that it has raised $10.7 million in a round of financing led by the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Google Ventures, the investment arm of the search giant, is also pitching in money.

Although the term drone conjures up images of unmanned military planes that can shoot missiles from the sky, Airware is developing technology for the budding array of commercial uses for unmanned aerial vehicles, as they are also known. The company, based in Newport Beach, Calif., and founded by former aerospace engineers from Boeing and other companies, has created a combination of hardware and software that can be added to drones made by other companies to make them more programmable, Jonathan Downey, the chief executive of Airware, said in an interview.