The New Wireless Project From Aura Raises $75 Million
The Aura wireless network, which has 57 sites across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa, contains about $110 million in funding. Two previous investors, Mudrick Capital Management and Tracker Capital Management, each contributed $20 million in cash to the company last week. Fortress Investment Group invested $55 million and Mudrick Capital Management contributed another $20 million.
Aura provides a secure communication platform for flight data transmissions in unmanned, autonomous aircraft as a command and control communication service provider. Using its network, air traffic controllers (ATC) and operators can communicate with uncrewed air systems (UAS).
To ensure that its network meets the DO-377A requirements, Aura has been testing it both on the ground and in the air over the last few years. An Aura airborne radio modules and voice communications module equipped with Cessna Caravan was used in flight tests this summer to demonstrate Aura's communication links. A series of BVLOS regional air cargo flight tests were conducted over Maryland and Ohio.
Despite the FAA not yet approving any pilotless commercial flights, Tolpegin said he believes air cargo companies such as Xwing will implement Aura's communications network to launch their first autonomous aircraft. Wisk Aero's autonomous eVTOL air taxi services, for example, will also be enabled by Aura's network. Since Wisk has not yet defined its certification pathway, it is unclear when it expects to begin operating commercially. In 2024, Xwing plans to begin non-piloted cargo operations using remote-controlled Cessna Caravans (with safety pilots aboard).
The company has not yet disclosed any official partnerships with any of these industries, according to Tolpegin. Aura works with several key players both in air cargo and in advanced air mobility (AAM), but it has not yet disclosed any official partnerships. UAS policies have, however, been actively shaped by the company in cooperation with regulators.
BVLOS' third-party services working group was led by Aura last year by the FAA's rulemaking committee. Following this, Aura was chosen to participate in NASA's AAM National Campaign, which seeks to integrate AAM into the NAS. The FAA and Aurea are also working on developing ATC voice communications performance standards for UAS.