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Aerones makes really big drones for cleaning turbines and saving lives


Enthusiasts will talk your ear off about the potential for drones to take over many of our dirtiest, dullest and most dangerous tasks. But most of the jobs we’ve actually seen drones perform are focused on the camera — from wildlife surveying to monitoring cracks on power plant smokestack.

Aerones is working on something much larger. The Y Combinator-backed startup is building giant drones with 28 motors and 16 batteries, capable of lifting up to 400 pounds. That kind of payload means the drones can actually perform a broad range of potential tasks to address the aforementioned three Ds.

The company launched two and a half years ago, led by a trio of founders that had already collaborated on a number of projects, including a GPS fleet management system and an electric race car. The team is still lean, with seven employees, most of whom are engineers. The company was bootstrapped with its founders money, but has since raised around half a million euros, all told. Founded in Latvia, Aerones has relocated to Mountain View in search of seed money, after signing on with Y Combinator.