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ModalAI accelerates autonomy by providing innovators with robot and drone perception and communications systems manufactured in the U.S.A.

The company’s highly-integrated AI-powered modules empower a variety of industries to utilize aerial and ground autonomous navigation systems that communicate on 4G and 5G cellular networks.

Offering both start-to-finish custom design services and plug-and-play computing platforms, Modal AI helps manufacturers and independent builders get to market quickly and affordably.

Based in San Diego, California, ModalAI spun out of Qualcomm® in 2018 and leverages more than five years of prior research and development in the drone and robotic markets. 

ModalAI co-founder, Chad Sweet, was lead engineer for Qualcomm’s robotics R&D effort, which led to the creation of drone and robotic product lines for Qualcomm’s Chipset Division. 

The company has advanced the SWaP-C optimized, market-ready technology started at Qualcomm to create the navigation and computing platform VOXL. VOXL enables autonomy and communications for indoor and outdoor, aerial and ground robots. The integration provided by VOXL enables fully autonomous UAVs under 300 grams in total weight.

ModalAI has also developed a handheld, private LTE network (ModalLink) specific for the DOD use case to communicate multiple sUAS, robots and handheld devices using the DOD’s 1800MHz spectrum.

Company Timeline

June 2018

Spun out of Qualcomm®, ModalAI was founded and established its headquarters in San Diego, California

November 2018

Secured contract with the U.S. Army, through the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU www.diux.mil), to add new hardware and software features to VOXL and make it commercially available in 2019. This contract also included developing the ModalLink prototype for the Army’s UAS based on 4G and LTE cellular networks.

July 2019

ModalAI contributed to Uber Eat’s UAS-based delivery of food delivery. ModalAI’s VOXL platform kept the delivery safely on the flight path, even when the drone was out of sight from the pilot-in-command.

ModalAI continues to develop command, communication and control (C3) technology for Uber and other partners to dispatch Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to navigate to a location and carry out their mission.

March 2020

Released VOXL Flight, the first open-development platform for autonomous drone navigation that fuses a companion computer with a PX4 flight controller on one printed circuit boards.


Member - Federal Aviation Association unmanned Aerial Systems Integrated Pilot Program (IPP)

ModalAI is a member of the City of San Diego’s team for the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP), helping to create the robust connectivity required for the project. As the IPP progresses, UAS technology companies will be pushing the bounds of Beyond Visual Line of Sight technology (BVLOS).

Member – Dronecode

As a member of Dronecode, ModalAI contributes hardware and software development to advance the growing, open-source PX4 ecosystem.

Dronecode is a US-based non-profit hosted by The Linux Foundation and is community funded through yearly memberships by companies who support open source. The organization provides neutral and transparent governance to open source projects and their adjacent communities, offers a framework for inclusive collaboration on open standards, funds services used to develop and distribute releases, and evangelizes to increase adoption and contributors to open source.

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