In May 2021 the autonomous piloting systems provider Boundary.AI announced it had raised an angel round financing from Sequoia Capital China Seed and the SME Development Fund (Shenzhen Nanshan Limited Partnership, managed by Oriental Fortune Capital).
Founded in 2020, Boundary.AI provides autonomous piloting systems for eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-off and Landing). The systems combine traditional flight control systems and AI technology, which integrates sensors such as vision/lidar, GNSS and IMU to realize perception, navigation, decision-making, and flight control functions for eVTOL.
Thanks to the technology development in electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and safe-critical systems, a safe, intelligent, and low-cost large eVTOL has become possible. This type of aircraft does not have to rely on runways to takeoff or landing. It has helicopter-level flexibility, fixed-wing-level efficiency, aviation-level safety, and automobile-level low cost. eVTOL can be applied in various scenarios such as passenger transportation, freight, disaster relief, etc. It is very likely to change the way everyone travels and unlock a new dimension of mobility, or so-called UAM (Urban Air Mobility).
Everyone's eyes are on UAM now. More than 300 companies and projects worldwide have devoted themselves to the development of eVTOL. Governments are working on infrastructure and airworthiness regulations to pave the way. Venture capitals and customers also have high hopes for UAM technology.
eVTOL brings many new challenges to flight control and autopiloting systems. Firstly, the large-scale deployment of UAM in the future requires vehicles to increase its level of autonomy. Additionally, the current aviation industry sacrifices efficiency and cost advantage to meet the safety requirements. However, if we could realize aircraft's perception, decision, and execution by introducing advanced and intelligent autopiloting systems, we could have it all. Most traditional aircraft manufacturers do not have flight control system R&D capabilities, let alone upgrading current flight control systems to make them autonomous and intelligent.
Boundary.AI was founded on this background. As a supplier, it offers a new generation of high autonomy, high-safety, low-cost autonomous flight systems to eVTOL design teams and manufacturers.
WENG Haimin, the founder and CEO of Boundary.AI, graduated from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in aerospace engineering and served as the CTO of Autoflight Group and the head of the UAV department of SF Technology. The founding team has worked together for many years, possessing solid technical background, innovative thinking and a passion for aviation. During this time, the team established an aviation-standard development process and conducted many eVTOL aircraft from scratch to maiden flight, production and finally commercialization. It is one of the most experienced flight control and integrated avionics systems providers for large eVTOL in China.
Their experience includes:
"We hope we can use the expertise and know-how that we built over the past years to help more eVTOL design teams and manufacturers as a supplier of flight control and autopilot systems," says WENG Haimin. "We could work hand in hand with clients to accelerate the development process, especially in prototype development and flight tests."
As two heavyweight capitals, Sequoia Capital China Seed and OFC's investment fully demonstrate that the capital market has strong confidence in UAM, as well as Boundary.AI.
Boundary.AI would use this investment mainly to expand the R&D team and develop the first-generation flight control system and computer vision perception system.