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Elroy Air

Elroy Air

Elroy Air is an American startup company intending to replace land delivery trucks on inefficient routes with unmanned cargo aircraft.

The company is targeting the US government as a customer first, with a start date of 2021. This will be followed by overseas governments, then the US domestic commercial cargo market.

History

The San Francisco-based company was founded in November 2016 by David Merrill, CEO and Clint Cope, VP engineering. Elroy Air initially pursued the electric aircraft VTOL air taxi market, but turned to autonomous cargo aircraft to avoid starting out dealing with the complications of passenger-carrying certification.

In December 2017, the company secured US$4.6 million of seed funding, led by aerial mobility investor Levitate Capital.

Cargo aircraft

The tandem-wing design to be employed in the air cargo role has a pusher propeller for forward flight, six propellers under twin booms for vertical lift and a pod to carry 150 lb (68 kg) of cargo under the central fuselage. The hybrid electric powertrain has variable-pitch rotors with a large diameter to turn more slowly, for redundancy and to reduce noise.

Its 150 mi (240 km) operational radius is optimized for express logistics. Ground robots are planned to be employed for ground handling and one pilot would be responsible for an entire aircraft fleet.

By early 2018, a full-scale prototype had been tested at Half Moon Bay Airport, south of San Francisco. Its lift system—rotors, motors and controllers—was rigged on a truck-based testbed to verify the lift produced and the noise levels for urban areas operations. In early 2018 a subscale prototype was under construction to validate the aerodynamics and controls, with ground testing planned in early March 2018 and first flight by late March. The full-scale aircraft is forecast to be flown by late summer 2018.

Timeline

August 4, 2021
Elroy Air lands $40M Series A funding from Lockheed Martin's venture capital arm.
August 4, 2021
Elroy Air raises a $40,000,000 series A round.
March 24, 2020
Elroy Air raises a $6,800,000 venture round.
November 5, 2018
Elroy Air raises a $4,700,000 seed round from Catapult Ventures, E14 Fund, Hemisphere Ventures, Lemnos Labs, Precursor Ventures, Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures and Venture Investment Associates.
December 22, 2017
Elroy Air raises a $4,500,000 seed round from 122West Ventures, Homebrew, Lemnos Labs, Shasta Ventures and TenOneTen Ventures.

Funding rounds

People

Name
Role
LinkedIn

Bob Lisbonne

Advisor

Clint Cope

Employee

David Merrill

Founder

Jake Gibson

Investor

Jaz Banga

Advisor

Jeevan Kalanithi

Advisor

Joey Krug

Investor

Jyri Engeström

Advisor

Kat Dawe

Employee

Matthew Bartus

Attorney

Michael Mettler

Investor

Rachel Sheinbein

Advisor

Vijay Pradeep

Investor

Further reading

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Companies

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News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Aria Alamalhodaei
August 4, 2021
TechCrunch
Elroy Air has raised a $40 million Series A, including financing from Lockheed Martin's venture capital arm, to ramp up the build, testing and validation of its inaugural autonomous cargo drone. The funding round saw participation from Marlinspike Capital and Prosperity7, as well as existing investors Catapult Ventures, DiamondStream Partners, Side X Side Management, Shield [...]
Darrell Etherington
December 18, 2019
TechCrunch
Autonomous aircraft transportation seems like a sure thing at this point - in particular for cargo, where safety concerns around potential harm to people isn't as much of an issue. One company pursuing this goal is Elroy Air, which has developed a hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that can carry over 300 lbs [...]
Darrell Etherington
August 28, 2019
TechCrunch
SF-based Elroy Air hopes to transform bulk air cargo shipping with its 'Chapparal' vertical take-off and landing craft, the first version of which will be able to carry 250 lbs of cargo as far as 300 miles. The startup, which was founded in 2016 by experienced professionals with track records of working in UAS (uncrewed [...]
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