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Boeing launches blockchain, AI drone venture

drone package

Today Boeing and AI company SparkCognition announced that they intend to create a new company called SkyGrid in Austin Texas. SkyGrid will develop software for “aerial urban mobility” for autonomous cargo and passenger air vehicles. In other words, software for drones.

SkyGrid’s system will harness both blockchain technology and AI for dynamic traffic routing. The statement says that that platform will go beyond “unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) traffic management”. The aim is to enable UAS for package delivery, industrial inspections, and emergency assistance, amongst others. SkyGrid plans to work with regulatory agencies including the FAA.

A blockchain will be used to store flight and unmanned air vehicle data.

The two companies first announced plans to work together at the UK Farnborough Airshow in July.

“SkyGrid is building the digital infrastructure that will make safe, seamless commercial and personal transport possible for billions of people around the world,” said Steve Nordlund, VP and general manager of Boeing NeXt.

“SkyGrid merges expertise in AI, blockchain, security and aviation to deliver breakthrough technological advancements for the rapidly-growing urban aerial mobility industry,” said Amir Husain, who will serve as CEO of SkyGrid in addition to his role as founder and CEO of SparkCognition. “By offering scalable and robust capabilities in a single, integrated framework, SkyGrid will make large-scale air vehicle applications more practical and accessible.”

To date SparkCognition has raised $63 million in funding since its founding five years ago. The former CTO of IBM Watson Solutions joined the firm four months ago. CEO Amir Husain is the author of the book “The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence”. But earlier this month the company published another book that’s likely to cause much debate: “Hyperwar: Conflict and Competition in the AI Century”.

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