Planck Aerosystems wins Defense Innovation Voucher Program Grand Prize

San Diego – Planck Aerosystems, a technology company that develops specialized drone technology, was awarded a $25,000 voucher as part of its participation in the inaugural Defense Innovation Voucher Program (DIV) Grand Prize Pitch. Launched in 2018 to help small and mid-sized defense companies in San Diego scale, the DIV Program worked directly with 15 local defense companies throughout 2018-2019, providing strategic boot camps and business consulting services via an initial $15,000 grant to aid in strengthening and expanding company operations.

“Our local defense economy supports one in five jobs, and small businesses represent 98 percent of total companies in our region,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “This is why EDC is committed to building programs that promote defense innovation and build resiliency in small and mid-sized businesses.”

Five DIV companies were chosen to participate in the DIV Grand Prize Pitch, based on their accomplishments, goals and overall involvement in the program. The finalists were EpiSci (EpiSys Science Inc.), Fuse Integration, Inc., GET Engineering Corporation, Planck Aerosystems and Trabus Technologies.

A live voting audience and a panel of judges selected Planck Aerosystems as the winner.

“Planck is thrilled to win the Grand Prize Pitch event and be a part of DIV’s first year,” said Dave Twining, COO of Planck Aerosystems. “Thanks to San Diego Regional EDC, Booz Allen Hamilton and Propel San Diego for your guidance and support through the DIV program. We’ll be using the funds to scale our marketing efforts, which we hope will generate additional sales and investment in San Diego.”

In its inaugural year, the DIV program provided two primary benefits to chosen participants. Companies selected a pre-approved contractor to assist with services including marketing, certifications needed for government work, strategic planning, accounting compliance or lean supply chain & additive manufacturing support. Additionally, participants enrolled in a six-month-long boot camp, which provided best practices and strategies on topics ranging from contract procurement to fundraising to marketing and branding.

“We are proud to support the continued innovation that is a hallmark of the San Diego defense community,” said Jennie Brooks, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton. “At Booz Allen, we empower people to change the world, and DIV’s mission helps empower and strengthen the small and mid-size businesses that are bringing an incredible range of solutions to all branches of the military.”

Managed by San Diego Regional EDC, DIV is primarily funded through Propel San Diego, a grant award provided to the City of San Diego from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment. Additional programmatic funding for DIV is provided by Booz Allen Hamilton, the presenting sponsor.

The DIV Grand Prize Pitch event was hosted at San Diego Central Library on Thursday, May 23, with a keynote presentation by Marisa Silva, partner at Booz Allen Hamilton.

About San Diego Regional EDC

San Diego Regional EDC mobilizes business, government and civic leaders around an inclusive economic development strategy in order to connect data to decision making, maximize regional prosperity, enhance global competitiveness, and position San Diego effectively for investment and talent. | Twitter: @SDregionalEDC

DIV is a project funded with Community Economic Adjustment Assistance for Reductions in Defense Industry Employment funds provided by the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment to the City of San Diego.

Planck Aero partners with Empirical Systems Aerospace

Planck Aerosystems (Planck Aero) announced today a partnership with the aerospace manufacturer, Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. (ESAero) to support Planck’s defense and commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS) business.

Under this agreement, ESAero will manufacture Planck Aero’s Group 1 Unmanned Aerial Systems, Shearwater, in the ESAero manufacturing plant in San Luis Obispo, California to support increasing demand across Planck’s customer base, both domestically and internationally. This effort will support Planck’s strategy to scale the company.

For more information:

Planck Aero Performs Day and Night Flight Testing and Demonstrations from Moving Ground Vehicles at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar


SAN DIEGO, CA – Planck Aerosystems (Planck Aero) recently received authorization from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, Air Traffic Control (ATC) to test the Shearwater sUAS in controlled airspace and at night.

Planck’s Shearwater sUAS repeatedly preformed successful autonomous takeoffs and precision landings onto a moving, off-road ground vehicle with centimeter-level accuracy in complete darkness without the need for GPS or a pilot in the loop. Nighttime operations from moving vehicles represents a major step forward in the demonstrating the maturity of Planck’s vision-based navigation solution.

This is the first time that authorization has been given to a commercial UAS company to operate at MCAS Miramar’s Autonomous Vehicle Proving Ground (AVPG). On any given day or night, the airspace includes fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft performing training flights, including the C-130, V-22, CH-53E, AV- 8B, F/A-18 and F-35B.

“This type of testing is critically important to prove that small UAS can safely be operated in close proximity to a high volume of military air traffic, which will continue to be the case as small UAS become proliferated more widely with operating forces,” said Josh Wells, CEO and Co-Founder of Planck Aerosystems and former US Navy Pilot. “Through close coordination with Air Traffic Control leads from the Marine Corps, we were able to demonstrate that our technology could perform safe, autonomous missions, from moving vehicles, in national airspace - not only during the day but also at night. The team from MCAS Miramar and Marine Corps Installations Command is leaning forward and breaking down barriers to adoption of advanced new solutions that enhance capabilities for surveillance, reconnaissance, real-time situational awareness, and force protection within DOD.”

Planck Aero’s products open a new world of possibilities in UAS operations for both commercial and government organizations.

Additional information is available on the MCAS Miramar site.

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Jake McClung

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Jake McClung

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Sarah Ralph

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Sarah Ralph

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Jake McClung

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Jake McClung

AI for Whale Detection from Unmanned Aircraft

In the Summer of 2018, Planck Aero worked with the Government of Canada to automatically detect and locate endangered North Atlantic Right Whales in imagery from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Automating the process has the potential to lower cost and risk, while improving the efficiency with which the whales can be found, ultimately helping the conservation efforts.

The full story can be found on NVIDIA’s website.

Global UAV Collaborates with Planck for Moving Vehicle Ops of Unmanned Helicopter

Global UAV Technologies announced today a collaboration with Planck Aerosystems that has resulted in successfully performing a fully autonomous landing and takeoff from a moving off-road vehicle with one of Global UAV’s research and development unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from NOVAerial Robotics Inc. The integrated system included an unmanned helicopter and Planck’s flight control software technology for precision landing on moving platforms.

“The Global UAV Procyon is a powerful platform for a variety of use-cases on its own, but with the integration of Planck’s autonomy software, it has become a game-changing asset for operators in the off-road and offshore environment, said Josh Wells, CEO, Planck Aerosystems, Inc. “Global UAV continues to push the envelope of single-rotor UAV technology, and we’re glad to be a part of that effort here at Planck.”

Planck Chosen for Defense Innovation Program

Planck Aero has been chosen for new Defense Innovation Voucher Program (DIVx), along with 14 other companies in the San Diego region, to help diversify government contracts and to explore commercial markets. DIVx is an initiative of Propel San Diego.

More information can be found at

System of Systems Demonstrated at ANTX

Planck Aero, along with Marine Advanced Research and Teledyne, performed a system of systems demonstration at the 2018 Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) August 29-31, 2018. The system consisted of Planck’s Shearwater UAS operating from an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) along with multiple other underwater and surface vehicles. The demonstration showed the emerging capabilities of highly autonomous unmanned systems cooperating in a relevant environment.

Planck’s Shearwater UAS performed several takeoff and landings onto the moving 16-foot USV from Marine Advanced Research without the need for a skilled pilot in the loop, showing the maturity of these technologies.

More information is available in Marine Technology News:

Planck at AUVSI Xponential 2018

Denver, May 1 – 3, 2018

Planck Aerosystems will have a booth at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2018, the leading trade show for unmanned systems technology. At Booth 3235-B, Planck will be showcasing it’s technology, including precision drone landing on moving platforms and mobile tethered UAV operations.

Planck’s CTO, Dr. Gaemus Collins, will be presenting a talk titled “A Heterogeneous Unmanned System for Maritime Air and Surface Operations” in Room 207 on Wednesday, May 2 at 11:45am. The talk will discuss autonomous drones operating from unmanned vessels, which was work recently performed by Planck Aerosystems for port security applications.

Stop by Planck’s booth to discuss the future of autonomous unmanned systems.

Planck Aero Announced as Finalist for AUVSI USDPS Innovation Challenge

National Harbor, MD – Planck Aerosystems has been selected as one of five finalists for the inaugural Innovation Challenge at AUVSI Unmanned Systems—Defense. Protection. Security. (USDPS), which is being held February 6 – 8, 2018 in National Harbor, MD. Planck was selected from a field of more than 30 companies that cover unmanned air, ground, and maritime systems.

For more information on the finalist, visit

For more information on the Innovation Challenge, visit

Fugro, Planck Aerosystems Recognized for Oil Seepage Mapping Project

Fugro and Planck Aerosystems received an Environmental Leadership Award from The Maritime Alliance, during BlueTech Week 2017 in San Diego. The award was for work that included using Planck’s drones to map oil leaking from abandoned undersea well sites off the coast of California, and led to the passing of the SB-44 legislation for cleanup and remediation.

Visit Fugro for more information: