PrecisionHawk raises $18 million to bring drones safely into U.S. airspace

Mandatory drone registration and a massive national database of drone owners is already under way in the U.S. But simply knowing who owns what won’t stop unmanned aerial vehicles from collisions or becoming a public nuisance.

A Raleigh, North Carolina company called PrecisionHawk Inc. has raised $18 million in a Series C round of venture funding to help companies use drones for different commercial purposes in the United States, without getting into airspace where they can’t fly safely or legally.

New investors in PrecisionHawk included: Verizon Ventures (an investment arm of TechCrunch’s parent company Verizon Communications Inc.), insurance giants USAA, NTT Docomo Ventures and Yamaha Motor Ventures.

Precision Hawk’s earlier backers also invested in the Series C round including Intel Capital,Millennium Technology Value Partners, and the Innovate Indiana Fund.

According to PrecisionHawk CEO Bob Young, formerly the CEO of open source software firm Red Hat Inc., the startup wants to become the top provider of data and safety services for the commercial drone industry.

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