Troy-based Skypersonic Inc., a drone and software company that began as a startup affiliated with the James and Patricia Anderson Engineering Ventures Institute at Detroit’s Wayne State University, announced it signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Red Cat Holdings in Florida, a drone technology company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Skypersonic produces unmanned aerial vehicles and navigation systems to enable inspection services in industrial spaces that lack GPS access or are restrictive, impractical, or dangerous for human inspection. Its technologies include Skycopter, a miniature drone encased in a spherical frame, and a trans-continental remote piloting platform, a software suite that enables the drone to record and transmit telemetry data while being operated from anywhere in real time.
“Skypersonic invented the first worldwide, real-time remote piloting system — a unique technology conceived and created in Detroit,” says Giuseppe Santangelo, founder and CEO. “The ability to control the flight of a drone from thousands of miles away will revolutionize the civilian drone business market, allowing remote business services such as industrial inspections or law enforcement surveillance.”
The company’s technology has proven useful for inspection of automotive plants as well as tunnels, boilers, sewers, and other areas of limited accessibility. The drones, which only weigh a couple of pounds, can test gas levels, temperatures, radiation levels, and other safety metrics. Videos are captured in HD format, and an LED system allows users to see in the dark.
Santangelo, who was a part-time faculty member in Wayne State’s College of Engineering, also created a drone pilot training program. More than 40 pilots have completed the program, and the potential to expand the program to Wayne State students is being explored. Santangelo taught courses in autonomous vehicles and drone technology and started Skypersonic in 2014.
Soon after, he began working with the Anderson Institute, the college’s entrepreneurial incubator, which leveraged its resources to put in seed money, connected Santangelo with investors, and provided guidance to help Santangelo turn Skypersonic into a viable company.
Wayne State has made an investment in Skypersonic of $350,000 over the last three years and is the company’s second-largest investor and only university investor.
Skypersonic announced earlier this year it completed a flight in Detroit that was controlled from Florida in a partnership between Skypersonic and Red Cat.