Pyka closes $37M Series A for electric autonomous plane
The startup Pyka has raised a $37 million Series A round to accelerate deployment of its pilotless, battery-powered crop duster, the Pelican.
Why it matters: The plane is currently being used for agriculture, but Pyka CEO Michael Norcia says the company plans to expand to cargo operations.
The details: The funding round was led by Piva Capital and Prelude Ventures.
By the numbers: Pyka has produced seven of its orca-shaped planes for clients.
- The company counts two large agriculture firms in Latin America as clients, and says it's signed more than $320 million in MOUs and commercial agreements with customers.
- The company last summer also unveiled an electric passenger aircraft.
What's next: The company is modifying the Pyka aircraft to fly cargo routes within a 200-mile radius — roughly the distance from New York City to Baltimore.
- To expand U.S. operations, Pyka is seeking a 44807 commercial exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration, Norcia tells Axios. This would allow the transportation secretary to grant a waiver for an unmanned aircraft that would otherwise be too heavy under current federal regulations.
- The aircraft is currently flying in the U.S. under "Special Airworthiness Certificates," Norcia says. The certificates can be used for experimental aircraft, including unmanned vehicles.