We are a drone intelligence company. We enable drones to operate from moving vehicles, including precision landing. We automatically detect, identify, and track objects on land and water. We are building new categories of drone data.

Our mission is to reduce risk and improve real-time situational awareness through highly autonomous unmanned aerial systems. Planck Aero’s Shearwater Drone Systems fly autonomously from moving vehicles and vessels at sea.

Save time, save money, stay safe, work efficiently.

Work trucks and work boats around the world need aerial support for data collection and workflow improvements. Planck Aerosystems has developed the fundamental drone intelligence and precision landing technologies to make that a reality.

Planck Aero serves government agencies and industrial maritime operators


Planck Aerosystems puts drones to from moving platforms.

The Shearwater™ Drone System is fully autonomous, meaning there is no need for a dedicated pilot, and you can keep doing your job uninterrupted. The computer does the flying, from takeoff to landing, even when moving at sea.

Advanced object detection and tracking software will tell you what is in going on around you. Contact us if you have a maritime or mobile application that requires aerial support.


Time is money. Precision is vital.

The vessel-based Shearwater™ drone system automatically detects and geo-references objects and features in the water, such as navigational aids, shoals, and sandbars.

Mapping of shorelines inaccessible via land is easy with Shearwater’s autonomous operation.

Save time, save money, but don’t sacrifice precision.


Emergencies requires actionable real-time situational awareness so that responders can make critical decisions as safely and efficiently as possible.

For example, responding to an oil spill requires a team to identify and track oil on the ocean surface. This crucial task can be difficult and expensive, even from manned aircraft.

Planck Aero’s system can launch from small boats and automatically map the extent the spill so that the response team knows where to put their resources.


Contact Us

About your maritime safety and surveillance needs.


The technology behind the Shearwater drone system applies to moving ground vehicles as well, such as trucks in the field.

Now you can launch a mission on the go and keep moving. The system provides real-time situational awareness, including object detection and tracking, in locations that are difficult or impossible to get to otherwise.

Contact Planck Aerosystems to discuss opportunities to integrate drones into your work vehicles.


Drones are a valuable tool for data collection while at sea, from marine mammals to atmospheric research.

Marine biology, climate research, and physical oceanography all benefit from aerial assets while at sea, even from small boats that can access difficult places.

The geo-referenced data and imagery is instantly overlaid on maps and charts. Collect data that was never previously accessible.



  • Fully autononous guidance and navigation relative to a moving boat or truck.
  • Built-in controls account for roll, pitch, and heave so that the drone safely and precisely lands every time.
  • All of the collected imagery and data is geo-referenced and displayed relative to the vessel or vehicle, providing actionable real-time situational awareness.


  • Patented technology for fully autonomous flights from moving boats and trucks, meaning there is no need for a skilled dedicated pilot. In fact, there is no need for a pilot at all.
  • Let the sensors do the flying, from take-off to precision landing and everything in between.
  • Start putting drones to work quickly on boats of any size, requiring only basic training and minimal installed hardware.
  • Suitable for boats and trucks of any size.
  • Doesn’t interfere with your workflow.
  • Get the data you want quickly and easily.
  • Detect objects at sea, on or near the surface.


Automatically detect, locate, and characterize objects below, on, or near the surface of the water.


Automatic detection and analysis of maritime objects, such as kelp and other plant life vital to healthy oceans.


Automatic precision mapping of features in the water or on land.



    The drone system for dynamic missions.

    Real-time situational awareness and object location & mapping has never been more efficient.

    Planck Shearwater maritime drone system


    Drone aircraft for dynamic missions

    Shearwater® drones operate from moving vehicles of any size to help professionals perform their job more efficiently and safely during dynamic missions.

    • Autonomous takeoff and landing from moving vehicles and vessels
    • Designed for on-the-go missions
    • Minimal installed hardware
    • No need for dedicated, highly skilled personnel to operate. Push a button, and go.
    • Deployed in minutes
    • High reliability for demanding industrial and commercial applications
    • Long range digital communications for live HD imagery, object detection and track, option for thermal imaging.
    • Powerful onboard computing capabilities
    • Option for tethered operations from moving platforms for ultra-long endurance.

    Precision Landing on Moving Platforms

    Planck Aero’s technology makes it possible to operate autonomously from moving platforms, including precision landing, without the need for dedicated personnel or extensive installed hardware. The sensor-guided flight not only accounts for forward motion of a vessel, but also roll, pitch, heave, and wind effects. Now, this capability is available to marine and maritime operators who need aerial support to perform their jobs more efficiently.  

    Precision landing can be integrated into a wide range of drones, enabling them to operate from boats of virtually any size, without interfering with normal workflow.

    Furthermore, fully autonomous operations can be integrated seamlessly with existing maritime interfaces and data visualization tools.

    Contact us to learn more about how your fleet of drones can land precisely, even from moving vessels at sea. 


    Do you already have a fleet of aircraft that you want to automate for missions operating from moving platforms? We can integrate Shearwater software into other flight platforms, including complete test, support and training. If you have a special mission, we will help you accomplish it.


    Planck Aerosystems is the world’s first autonomous drone company to focus on use cases operating from moving vehicles. Our specialized drone systems and intelligent computer vision software provide a safer, faster, and more efficient way to perform real-time situational awareness, inspection, and object detection tasks from moving vehicles, such as work boats and trucks. We work with government agencies and high value industrial maritime operators to deliver unprecedented aerial data collection capabilities.


    Planck Aero has a diverse team to tackle tough problems, including experts in shipboard aviation, UAV controls, autonomous systems, robotics, computer vision algorithms, and maritime operations.

    Josh WellsFounder & CEO

    Josh is a former navy helicopter pilot who led the effort to safely integrate unmanned systems into aircraft carrier strike groups. He earned a BS from the US Naval Academy and MS in Product Development from USC Viterbi. He is a board member of the The Maritime Alliance.

    Gaemus Collins, Ph.D.Founder & CTO

    Gaemus is an expert in the development of control and computer vision algorithms. He earned a PhD in Mathematics from UC Santa Barbara.

    Dave TwiningFounder & COO

    Dave Twining leverages his background of systems engineering for high reliability, low size, weight, and power systems that operate in harsh environments.

    Allan Matthew R&D Manager

    Allan is the Research and Development Manager at Planck Aerosystems. Previously, Allan worked as a Senior R&D Engineer for in the consumer drone space, where he focused on embedded Linux, video transmission, and radio systems. He also worked in the consumer electronics, renewable energy, and maritime industries. Allan received a B.S. and M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Washington.

    Tim McLainTechnical Advisory Board Member & BYU Professor

    Professor Tim McLain is an authority on small unmanned aircraft systems and a trusted technical advisor to Planck Aerosystems.

    Luc LenainTechnical Advisory Board Member & Scripps Institution of Oceanography Air-Sea Lab

    Luc Lenain is an expert on unmanned and manned instrument platforms in the maritime environment.


    Planck Aerosystems is located in San Diego, the ideal crossroads of maritime industries and drone innovation. With great access to talent, customers, and the ocean, there is no better place to be. With the best weather in the United States and our test boat just a few miles from the main office, our engineers get ample time on the water as well.

    It started with Josh Wells in a garage in 2014. After over a decade of naval aviation, Josh knew the value of an aerial perspective over the ocean. Planck Aero now employs talented engineers in its main East Village office, which includes indoor flight test areas, ship deck simulators, and full R&D drone lab.






    Get in touch…we’re located in Old Town San Diego.

    For general inquiries can be emailed to


    Contact us for demonstrations, quotes, new opportunities, and investment inquiries.


    Planck at AUVSI Xponential 2018

    Denver, May 1 – 3, 2018 Planck Aerosystems will have a booth at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2018, the leading trade show for unmanned systems technology. At Booth 3235-B, Planck will be showcasing it’s technology, including precision drone landing on moving platforms and mobile tethered UAV operations. Planck’s CTO, Dr. Gaemus Collins, will be presenting a talk titled […]

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    Planck Aero Announced as Finalist for AUVSI USDPS Innovation Challenge

    National Harbor, MD – Planck Aerosystems has been selected as one of five finalists for the inaugural Innovation Challenge at AUVSI Unmanned Systems—Defense. Protection. Security. (USDPS), which is being held February 6 – 8, 2018 in National Harbor, MD. Planck was selected from a field of more than 30 companies that cover unmanned air, ground, and […]

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    Fugro, Planck Aerosystems Recognized for Oil Seepage Mapping Project

    December 29, 2017

    Fugro and Planck Aerosystems received an Environmental Leadership Award from The Maritime Alliance, during BlueTech Week 2017 in San Diego. The award was for work that included using Planck’s drones to map oil leaking from abandoned undersea well sites off the coast of California, and led to the passing of the SB-44 legislation for cleanup […]

    Planck’s Drones Team with Unmanned Surface Vehicles

    September 25, 2017

    SAN DIEGO – On September 14, Planck Aero participated in a port security / counter-terrorism exercise at Naval Base San Diego, which included teaming Planck’s Shearwater Drone System with an unmanned surface vehicle (USV), the first such pairing in history. The successful exercise included the drone launching from the USV, detecting and following unknown vessels […]

    Planck Aerosystems joins MetroConnect to expand international growth

    August 1, 2017

    SAN DIEGO – Planck Aerosystems is pleased to announce it has been selected to take part in MetroConnect 2017, an export assistance program run by the World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) and designed to help San Diego companies accelerate their global growth. The announcement was made today by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and […]


    We are always looking for talented , enthusiastic people to join our team. Feel free to reach out even if you don’t see an open positions.

    Current Open Positions

    Production & QA Manager, for high reliability electronic assemblies and subsystems.

    Business Development Lead, with previous experience in government contracting and sales, or related maritime industries

    Android Developer, with focus on user interface with autonomous drone systems


    For all positions, please send a resume/CV to