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May 17, 2021

Marlborough drone firm acquired for $71M

Courtesy | American Robotics American Robotics' Scout drone prepares to land on its base station.

Marlborough’s American Robotics has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Nantucket-based Ondas Holdings for approximately $70.6 million.

The agreement, announced early Monday morning by Ondas, will integrate the two companies’ technology platforms and increase automation, data collection and artificial intelligence-powered analytics.

“The drone industry’s product is data, not aircraft. The drone is the ultimate data gathering edge device for mission critical operations, solving a huge pain-point for Ondas’ industrial and government customers and ecosystem partners,” Eric Brock, chairman and CEO of Ondas, said in the release.

The acquisition comes shortly after American Robotics received the first-ever, and currently only, Federal Aviation Administration-autonomous drone approval. The company’s drone technology will be the first allowed to continuously operate without human observers. 

The company’s Scout System features acoustic detect-and-avoid technology enabling its drones to maintain a safe distance from other aircraft. Each Scout drone lives within a weatherproof base station, which enables autonomous charging, data processing and analysis and data transmission. Once installed in the field, all facets of Scout’s operation are automated, according to the company.

The purchase price of American Robotics will be funded via a mixture of cash and equity securities, according to the release. Ondas had previously made a $2-million loan to American Robotics on April 22. 

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, according to Ondas. No additional information regarding personnel or status of the American Robotics’ Marlborough headquarters were available Monday morning.

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