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Planet Labs to boost satellite AI with NVIDIA tech

EditorNatashya Angelica
Published 06/10/2024, 02:33 PM

SAN FRANCISCO - Planet Labs PBC (NYSE: PL), a key player in daily Earth data and insights, today revealed a strategic collaboration with NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) to enhance the onboard processing capabilities of its upcoming Pelican-2 satellite. The partnership aims to integrate NVIDIA's Jetson AI platform into Planet's next-generation high-resolution mission, with the Pelican-2 satellite expected to launch later in the year.

This initiative is set to utilize NVIDIA's GPU accelerated computing to provide intelligent imaging and swift insights for Planet's clientele, which spans government and commercial sectors. By adopting cutting-edge artificial intelligence advancements, Planet anticipates a more rapid delivery of valuable data to its users.

Kiruthika Devaraj, VP of Avionics and Spacecraft at Planet, stated that this collaboration focuses on delivering near real-time answers from orbit directly to customers. The Pelican satellite's high-resolution optical sensor, augmented by NVIDIA Jetson and real-time connectivity, promises enhanced solutions and the ability to swiftly process and download imagery and insights, even in varied connectivity environments.

Deepak Vasisht, Assistant Professor at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, emphasized the significance of on-orbit compute capabilities, which allow for immediate understanding and tracking of phenomena such as forest fires and disasters as they occur, eliminating the delay associated with data download and processing on Earth.

With the upcoming technology demonstrations on Pelican-2, Planet is set to become one of the first to space-qualify and deploy NVIDIA Jetson on an Earth observation satellite.

Planet Labs, established by three NASA scientists in 2010, operates the largest fleet of imaging satellites for Earth observation and provides essential data and analytics to over a thousand customers across various industries, including agriculture, forestry, intelligence, and government agencies.

This collaboration is based on a press release statement and reflects Planet's ongoing commitment to leveraging the latest technological advancements to enhance the utility and accessibility of satellite imagery for a diverse range of applications.

In other recent news, Planet Labs has been making significant strides in its financial performance and strategic direction. The satellite imaging provider reported a 15% year-over-year increase in Q1 revenue for fiscal year 2025, reaching a record $60.4 million. This growth was chiefly driven by strong performance in the government sector, particularly in defense and intelligence. In contrast, the commercial segment saw a 13% decline due to cautious spending and weaker renewals.

Planet Labs also announced significant new contracts with the UK civil governments and the Kenya Space Agency, while renewing a part of its Exclusive Operating Control License (EOCL) contract. These developments indicate the company's continued expansion and engagement with governmental entities. Additionally, the company launched the Planet Insights platform and prepared the first Tanager satellite for launch, underlining progress in its product offerings.

Despite the mixed performance across different segments, Needham reiterated a Buy rating for Planet Labs, expressing confidence in the company's strategic direction and anticipating long-term growth. Conversely, Craig-Hallum maintained a Hold rating, lowering the company's price target from $3.00 to $2.00 due to customer retention challenges. Nonetheless, Planet Labs maintains a healthy cash balance of $276 million and a backlog worth approximately $220 million, emphasizing its focus on operational efficiency and profitability.

InvestingPro Insights

As Planet Labs PBC (NYSE: PL) forges ahead with its innovative partnership with NVIDIA, the financial metrics provided by InvestingPro offer a deeper understanding of the company's current market standing. With a market capitalization of $587.33 million, Planet Labs is a significant player in the Earth observation sector. The company's commitment to integrating advanced technologies is evident in its impressive gross profit margin, which stands at 51.33% for the last twelve months as of Q1 2023. This figure underscores the company's ability to efficiently manage its production costs relative to its revenue.

InvestingPro Tips suggest that while Planet Labs holds more cash than debt on its balance sheet, providing a solid financial foundation for strategic initiatives like the NVIDIA collaboration, analysts remain cautious about the company's profitability in the short term. Indeed, they do not anticipate Planet Labs will be profitable this year, which is reflected in the negative P/E ratio of -4.23. Moreover, the company's liquid assets exceed short-term obligations, indicating a strong position to meet its immediate financial commitments.

For readers interested in a more comprehensive analysis, InvestingPro offers additional tips that can provide further insights into Planet Labs' financial health and future prospects. By using the coupon code PRONEWS24, readers can get an additional 10% off a yearly or biyearly Pro and Pro+ subscription, accessing a wealth of information that can guide investment decisions. There are currently 5 additional InvestingPro Tips available for Planet Labs, which can be explored in detail at: https://www.investing.com/pro/PL.

The strategic collaboration with NVIDIA reflects Planet's ongoing dedication to technological innovation, and the InvestingPro data indicates a company with a solid financial base, albeit with challenges in achieving profitability in the near term.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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