KEF Robotics awarded $1.5M from US Army for R&D

KEF Robotics, a drone firm based in Pittsburgh, was awarded $1.5 million by the Army for research and development purposes.

KEF Robotics, an aerial autonomous drone developer, located in Larimer, recently announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Applications Laboratory of the United States Army for the sum of $1.5 million further to support the development of the startup's technology.

Since the firm didn't officially begin operations until December of 2018, this is the single biggest contract win they've received.

KEF Robotics

KEF said that it would be better enabled by the money to build out the computer vision algorithms that it requires to have its tethered drones fly autonomously in an urban area and under day or night circumstances.

The company added that such a breakthrough would speed up its efforts to construct a vision-based autonomous flying system that can be installed on any aircraft, even those that operate in regions that do not have access to GPS signals.

“Our platform-agnostic, attachable approach to aerial autonomy positions us well to provide safe tethered flight in dynamic and complex environments,” KEF Robotics Co-Founder, Eric Amoroso said in a statement. “The tethered system allows us to tightly couple the visual sensing on the ground vehicle and Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), from which our system uses both machine learning and stereo vision techniques to probabilistically map difficult hazards like power lines and tree branches.”

The tethered method of handling drones that KEF employs entails anchoring power and data cables to the ground and attaching the aerial systems to those cables. According to the company that developed this technology, this enables their drones to fly “nearly indefinitely without recharging, providing a local, continuous overwatch capability to ground assets.”

KEF also intends to make use of the cash to investigate several potential means by which these tethered ground bases may become more mobile. Specifically, the organization is considering the prospect of having these bases linked to a moving vehicle rather than a fixed location.

Follow on your Google News feed.

Get your Part 107 Certificate

Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.

pilot institute dronexl

FTC: uses affiliate links that generate income.* We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email, ever. Our email goes out on weekdays around 5:30 p.m.

Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

Articles: 2434

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap
%d bloggers like this: