- Aerodome provides an end-to-end automated drone response system for police and fire departments.
- After seven months in stealth, Aerodome recently closed a $6.5 million seed round.
- The company is deploying its system to five police departments over the coming months.
A crime is committed. Someone dials 9-1-1. Drones arrive within three minutes to assist in the capture of the suspects.
This may sound like something out of a science fiction film, but it is what Aerodome, a New York-based startup that provides automated drone response systems for police and fire departments, is bringing to five police departments in the coming months.
“Our belief is that replacing outdated, dangerous, inefficient, and costly helicopter-based air support programs will enable public safety agencies to reduce crime and save lives in previously unimaginable ways,” said Rahul Sidhu, CEO and cofounder of Aerodome.
Aerodome recently closed a $6.5 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz and 2048 VC after seven months in stealth. Boxer and social media star Jake Paul’s venture firm, Ring founder Jamie Siminoff, and entrepreneur Nikita Bier are among the other investors. (The valuation was not revealed.)
“It’s rare to see this kind of founder-market fit, let alone from a founder with a previous exit in this domain,” Bier said in an interview with Insider.
Sidhu and cofounder Kenaniah Cerny previously founded SPIDR Tech, a customer service interface for law enforcement that was acquired by Versaterm Public Safety in 2021 for an undisclosed sum.
Sidhu is a reserve officer for the Redondo Beach Police Department and previously worked as a full-time officer for two years.
Sidhu first had the idea for Aerodome in 2020, when much of the police force was out sick due to COVID.
“We had to find a way if we couldn’t send a cop, could we send a drone to at least triage and determine if we needed a patrol officer on scene?” Sidhu stated.
During an early test in Redondo Beach, the drones were also able to assist in the capture of a robbery suspect who darted into narrow side streets, according to Sidhu.
“The drone was able to catch them within minutes, whereas a helicopter would’ve had to dispatch and fly over and the officers wouldn’t have been able to see them,” Sidhu said in a statement. “That showed us that this is just as capable in that sense as a traditional helicopter, but way faster and easier to dispatch.”
If all of this sounds too dystopian, Sidhu emphasizes that the drones are only intended to respond to 911 calls.
“What we’re trying to do is make safer communities,” Sidhu said. “These devices are not designed or intended for surveillance.” That is not the purpose of what we are doing.”
Aerodome’s competitors include Motorola, Dronesense, and Skydio, but those companies focus on software rather than the all-in-one package Aerodome provides.
Aside from responding to crime, Sidhu claims that Aerodome will eventually be able to detect wildfires and alert authorities when smoke appears.
“The idea is that you want to detect a fire within five minutes of the smoke showing so that you can stop it from becoming a five acre fire,” he said.