Boeing says its venture capital arm, HorizonX, is investing in C360 Technologies, a startup that focuses on augmented reality, virtual reality and 360-degree videos.
Pittsburgh-based C360 collected an oversubscribed $3.5 million in a Series A funding round led by BlueTree Capital and joined by Boeing, Pasadena Angels and the medical investment firm MI-12 Ventures.
Steve Nordlund, Boeing vice president for HorizonX, called the investment a “win-win” because it brings C360’s video capabilities to a new market while providing an outlet for Boeing to further some of its own technological initiatives.
“Our C360 investment is a powerful example of how HorizonX can access rapid advances in innovation outside aerospace and bring them to our Boeing customers,” he said today in a statement.
Some of these advancements in aerospace technology could include applications of virtual and augmented reality to improve autonomous systems, Boeing said.
During a news briefing earlier this summer, Mike Sinnett, vice president of product development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said current trends in the aviation industry could push Boeing to look into autonomous options, provided that they are equally as reliable as human pilots.
“There’s going to be a transition away from the requirement to have a skilled aviator operating the airplane tactically, to having a system that operates the vehicle autonomously,” he said.
Aerospace would certainly be a big change of scene for C360. The company’s technology has gotten them partnerships with sports organizations such as the National Hockey League and media networks like Fox Sports, which showed off C360’s video during this year’s Super Bowl.
Part of C360’s appeal is its single-camera setup. Other 360-degree videos require multiple cameras, and the results need to be stitched together in post-production. C360’s video can be broadcast live in 4K.
C360 joins three other companies in HorizonX’s investment portfolio: Virginia-based Upskill, which provides augmented-reality solutions for industrial settings; Kirkland, Wash.,-based Zunum Aero, which is working on a new class of hybrid electric airplanes; and Texas-based SparkCognition, which focuses on artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.