Santa Monica, CA
Number of employees-55
Why they’re on this list: The company recently became the second supplier of the LAANC system via their AirMap mobile app. In March, AirMap partnered with Rakuten to form a joint venture to bring unmanned traffic management to Japan. In early December of 2017 the company announced that Rakuten AirMap has officially launched the AirMap platform in Japan, revolutionizing airspace management and authorization.
Rugged, high endurance drones
Number of employees-55
Why they’re on this list: Headed by Helen Greiner, the co-founder of iRobot and inductee into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame, CyPhy Works specializes in the rapidly expanding field of drone manufacturing for defense, public safety and commercial industries. The company recently announced a partnership with UPS and the Red Cross to launch a drone pilot program, that will use a tethered drone to assess damage after major natural disasters in the United States. The tethered drone will go up 400 feet to provide aerial observation. The 30X zoom camera provides tens of miles of visibility and will be able to identify homes that have experienced water damage long before waters recede. The tethered drone from CyPhy can provide uninterrupted coverage at a disaster site for days or weeks at a time.
Autonomous mobile robots for warehouse automation
San Jose, CA
Number of employees-35
Why they’re on this list: Led by CEO and senior robot engineer Melonee Wise, the company raised $25 million in series B funding in the first week of December to focus on automating warehouses and factories, especially in the on-demand e-commerce sector. Fetch’s robots are capable of various warehouse and factory tasks such as moving boxes all over the warehouse and automatic data collection. The value of the Fetch robots will be apparent during the Christmas crunch time where packages have to get from warehouse to your house in as short a time as possible.
Social home robots
Petaluma, CA/ Boston, MA
Number of employees-105
Why they’re on this list: JIBO is the first truly personal in-home robot, using speech and facial recognition to interact with all members of a household. The brainchild of company founder and former M.I.T. professor Cynthia Breazeal, the company truly is a study in gender diversity as it is one of the rare tech companies where fully 50% of its high level executives are women. This will be the first Christmas that the company will be in full marketing mode so it will be interesting to analyze the initial results. Jibo uses facial recognition technology to remember each person in his loop, analyzes the sentence structure of everything he’s about to say and he even recognizes speech patterns and tones so when you speak to Jibo he answers you directly and even turns to face you. In-home robots don’t get any more personal than this.
Makers of the revolutionary S2 aircraft
Santa Cruz, CA
Number of employees-40
Why they’re on this list: The company’s S2 aircraft is truly a game changer. By combining innovations in battery technology, electric motors, and control systems, Joby Aviation is revolutionizing transportation with the S2, an electric 200 mph vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. A 2-seat fixed-wing aircraft, the S2 provides a quiet and reliable means of airborne transport. This environmentally-friendly personal airplane requires 5 times less energy than conventional auto transportation at 5 times the door-to-door speed. In addition, with help from NASA, the company has also developed the Lotus aircraft and LEAPTech system.
Digital photo editing system from San Diego based software developed MacPhun
Del Mar, CA
Number of employees-50
Why they’re on this list: Primed to take on Adobe Lightroom, Luminar streamlines photo editing, enabling Mac and PC users to produce the sharpest, clearest photo images with the least amount of work. Luminar is a simple program that removes flaws with its lens correction tools and organizes photos with its new digital asset management module.
Head mounted virtual retinal display
Number of employees-900
Why they’re on this list: One of the most secretive tech companies around, Magic Leap is working on a head-mounted virtual retinal display which superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects by projecting a digital light field into the user’s eye. Obtaining any specifics on products in development is next to impossible with Magic Leap as rumor has it that the company’s home base of Plantation, FL was chosen simply to be as far away from Silicon Valley as possible while still remaining in the United States. 2018 will be the make-or-break year for Magic Leap as the company has already raised a small fortune of investment capital and are negotiating with Singapore based Temesek Holdings to raise an additional $500 million, yet they have no product and no certainty that they’re the real deal.
Mobile WiFi and data solutions for vehicles
Mt View, CA
Number of employees-70
Why they’re on this list: Purveyors of The Internet of Moving Things, Veniam provides hardware, software, and cloud components for delivering data and services over mesh networks of connected vehicles. Veniam enables vehicles to be a lot more than machines that carry people and goods from one place to the other: they expand wireless coverage and gather massive amounts of urban data for a myriad of smart city applications. The company offers mobile Wi-Fi and data solutions to fleets worldwide in cities like Singapore, New York and Porto and appears primed to not only be on the autonomous vehicle train but at the front of it.