An Israeli-based drone maker made history by becoming the world’s first operator to be certified to fly a fully-automated drone.

"The best metaphor I can give is if tomorrow somebody gets that same certification to operate an autonomous car with no driver...it's huge," Airobotics co-founder and CEO Ran Krauss told Reuters.

The Optimus, a 7.5kg quadcopter, is able to carry a 1kg payload at a 36kph for 30 minutes.

Read: Drone operators wait years for licences in SA. So how did Absa put 300 in the skies over Joburg?

The system, which takes off, flies and lands pre-scheduled missions or missions on demand, is comprised of three components: the drone, cloud-based software, and an "airbase", or docking station.

In between flights, Optimus is housed in a weatherproof box the size of a tool shed, where a system attaches to the vehicle and recharges or swaps batteries and payloads when necessary. 

Israel's Civil Aviation Authority has authorised the operation of the fully automated system, the first time such approval has been granted by a government agency, Krauss said. This gives the company an advantage over any potential competitors.

Airobotics has raised a total of over $30 million (around R400 million) in funding.

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