Commercial drones are making rapid inroads into almost every industrial sector – such ‘eyes in the sky’ are turning out to be invaluable for inspecting critical infrastructure, high-value assets, public events, large farms, and even underground mines. The combination of commoditized hardware, intelligent automation software and proactive regulation is serving as a tail-wind for the rapid growth of enterprise drone automation programs.
While there is a wide variety of commercial drone hardware being built, tested and deployed – with autopilot and automation software controlling such hardware – the fact is that many commercial drone use-cases simply require live video streams, to begin with. Live video feeds from drones provide immediate feedback to stakeholders, who can then make better-informed decisions whether in the context of public safety or infrastructure maintenance.
It is precisely such capabilities that FlytNow (earlier branded as FlytGCS) provides – not only to drone operators and service providers but also to system integrations and in-house enterprise drone programs. Drone live streaming, with near-real-time 4K video feeds over 4G/LTE/5G networks, enables remote stakeholders to participate in drone missions – and even control the drone and/or camera gimbal from far away.
Drone operators are looking for cost-effective SaaS solutions that align with their business realities, while drone solution providers need the ability to customize such software and enable special sensors, cameras, video archival requirements, and third-party integrations. Larger drone service providers also need the option to white-label their drone management platform and enable secure access to HD video from drones, telemetry, and remote gimbal control – thus ensuring data privacy. Finally, in-house enterprise drone operations demand best-in-class security, cost-effective scalability and the ability to do custom PoCs and pilots that address corporate use-cases for drones.
FlytNow is unique in its ability to support most major drone hardware platforms (eg. DJI, Ardupilot, Pixhawk) – in fact, any platform that provides access via a comprehensive, reliable, scalable SDK. Customers can tailor their live, remote drone operation solution by choosing a suitable off-the-shelf drone (or building a custom one with a standard autopilot) – and complementing it with the relevant RC, companion computer, Android device and/or connectivity hardware. Thus, high-quality video streams, with very low latency, can be made viable on almost all commercial drones; this can be complemented with the ability to remotely control the drone and/or gimbal, over a 4G/LTE/5G or WiFi connection.
With a modular IoT architecture that has edge and cloud capabilities, the FlytBase technology platform is designed to easily expand FlytNow capabilities to incorporate edge-level capabilities such as obstacle avoidance, cloud-level features such as video storage on private/public clouds, and APIs that can make drone data available for automatic processing using AI/ML, computer vision and object recognition techniques.
Nitin Gupta, FlytBase CEO, emphasized, “Whether it’s public safety, perimeter security or asset inspections, our customers need real-time situational awareness – video streaming is a key component of this capability. The ability to easily share live video feeds from drone missions with stakeholders across the world, and control such access at a user level, makes enterprise drone operations rapidly scalable, yet secure. We see commercial drones delivering business value across use-cases, starting with high-quality video streams and expanding to the use of various sensors, thermal/IR cameras, precision landing, autonomous charging, dynamic airspace management and more.”