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:

Planck’s Drones Team with Unmanned Surface Vehicles

SAN DIEGO – On September 14, Planck Aero participated in a port security / counter-terrorism exercise at Naval Base San Diego, which included teaming Planck’s Shearwater Drone System with an unmanned surface vehicle (USV), the first such pairing in history. The successful exercise included the drone launching from the USV, detecting and following unknown vessels in the vicinity, and providing geo-location information to a second USV, which deployed an ROV to the provided location. At the conclusion, the drone intercepted the USV and executed a precision landing. The exercise was overseen by DoD’s Physical Security Enterprise & Analysis Group (PSEAG).

Details of the event, including photos and video, are included in the San Diego Union-Tribune’s recent article, which was included in the September 24, 2017 Sunday edition.

Planck Aerosystems joins MetroConnect to expand international growth

SAN DIEGO – Planck Aerosystems is pleased to announce it has been selected to take part in MetroConnect 2017, an export assistance program run by the World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) and designed to help San Diego companies accelerate their global growth. The announcement was made today by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and WTC San Diego. This program will allow Planck Aerosystems to expand it’s international reach in maritime markets and establish trade partnerships.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the MetroConnect program,” said Dave Twining, Planck Aero’s co-founder and COO. “Over the past couple years, they’ve established a proven track record of success in helping companies improve and expand export efforts. It is great timing for Planck.”

As the flagship export assistance program of World Trade Center San Diego, MetroConnect seeks to cultivate a pipeline of export-ready firms to elevate San Diego’s global reach. Now in its third year, program participants will receive a $10,000 grant, presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co., and a suite of programmatic support services to assist with international expansion strategies. Program participants will have access to a dedicated staff manager at WTC San Diego, and will receive guidance on export compliance, financing and fundraising, among other international support services.
“We applaud Planck Aerosystems for taking the next step in going global,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego. “With SMEs like this at the forefront, San Diego must continue to increase its export capacity and boost the region’s global identity. MetroConnect is equipping these companies with the resources necessary to do just that.”

The MetroConnect program is highly competitive, with just 15 selected based on a variety of criteria, including interest in new markets, interest in targeted metro markets, assessed impact of funds, current international traction and more. Applicants were assessed by a panel of judges, including representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, Biocom, UC San Diego, Rough Draft Brewing, San Diego State University, Tech San Diego, U.S. Department of Commerce, UC San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC and WTC San Diego.

Planck Aerosystems joins a cohort of 14 other companies representing a unique cross-section of San Diego’s industries, from cleantech to maritime to craft brewing and life sciences – each with plans to take San Diego innovation globally.

Participating companies will also be considered for the program’s MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest in May 2018, which will provide an additional $35,000 to help one or two companies further advance their global agendas.

MetroConnect is underwritten by JPMorgan Chase & Co., with additional support provided by Air Canada, CDC Small Business Finance, Japan Airlines, Japan External Trade Organization, Qualcomm, SYSTRAN, Taylor Guitars and others.

About Planck Aerosystems
Planck Aerosystems is the world’s first autonomous drone company to focus on use cases operating from moving vehicles. Planck’s specialized drone systems and intelligent computer vision software provide a safer, faster, and more efficient way to perform real-time situational awareness, inspection, and object detection tasks from moving vehicles, such as work boats and trucks. They work with government agencies and high value industrial maritime operators to deliver unprecedented aerial data collection capabilities.

About World Trade Center San Diego
World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad.