Drone swarm navigation management: meet the Uber of drones

Drone swarm navigation management: meet the Uber of drones
The transportation industry is becoming increasingly simple for users with companies like Uber coming up with passenger-friendly solutions that enhance convenience and reduce expenditure. Why couldn’t similar solutions be used to manage drones too? After all, the number of commercial UAVs are increasing every day and there is no comprehensive system to actually ensure that they all fly without encountering trouble.

This was the thought that inspired R2 Robotronics to come up with a Drone Swarm Navigation System that they call DROSNAS. It is a platform independent, application independent, cloud powered enterprise drone swarm management platform. Simply put, it’s like the Android for your drone. It lets you use your drone with any sensor, in any mode, without limitations on the range of application or the abilities of the pilot. A dual-AI system makes sure that even if the server loses connection with the drone, the system will have no problem navigating its path.

“Drones use a computer or a SoC [System on Chip] to connect to our cloud and we install certain programs on top of the system to ensure flight stability and management in the event of a loss of connection with the cloud,” said Aman Singh, CEO and Co-founder of the company. “It is like plug n play effectively. Once the drone is connected to the cloud, we can transmit and receive data from a drone very easily and manage it to suit our applications.”

The company sees several applications for its solution ranging from smart agri-analytics to natural resource management. However, Singh pointed out that probably the biggest application of drones is in security surveillance. DROSNAS allows the operation of an autonomous security fleet which is connected 24x7 and requires just one person to oversee an area that could be up to tens of hundreds of acres.

How does DROSNAS work?

The system operates over a SoC, pairing with the hardware of the drone’s flight controller and controlling it to give specific commands which are required to perform specific tasks.

“The SoC is, in turn, linked to our cloud-based AI which tracks and directs these controllers to do what is needed. The cloud-based AI finds its counterpart in our onboard AI which makes sure that the drone maintains flight stability and navigation,” Singh said. “The interaction of these two systems together ensures that the system works flawlessly. The AI incorporates fail-safe protocols for power management, propulsion management, etc. Communication has been incorporated through 4G telecom network [and] secure radio networks. The cloud-side AI allows the user to interact with their drone fleet through a website-based, extremely simple UI, allowing for the maximum display of information with least amount of clutter.”

 Of course, what makes the solution special is its ability to integrate data. Since DROSNAS is a centrally monitored system, all the information is available at one place. Drones operating anywhere in the world can be monitored from anywhere in the world. This technology enables even regulatory bodies to supervise these flying machines.
 
“The power of Cloud and APIs makes this system extremely dynamic and powerful. Data can be shared while on the move with software for processing, while making sure that the user doesn’t need to worry about the OEM’s compatibility with his system,” Singh added.

How has the market responded?

R2 Robotronics is an Indian company, but due to the slow development of regulations of commercial UAVs in the country, most of the company’s prospects are international. These include those from countries like Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.

“It is easier to talk about markets and clients there because of the presence of a legislation which enables drone flights,” Singh said. “These countries are witnessing an expansion of the industry at nearly 30 percent CAGR, with the global market value expected to reach nearly $22 billion by 2022. The growth of the industry and the rising costs of manpower are already triggering demand for autonomous drone management systems. We see that as a good omen for the time to come.”

The company expects the development of technologies like AI to have a catalyzing effect on this industry. R2 Robotronics already employs AI across two levels of management of the fleet. For add-ons such as obstacle detection and computer vision, AI is the cornerstone. The abilities of such a system include reduced computation time and suggestion of evasive maneuvers that could keep the UAV and its payload safe. It should also be noted that as the technology progresses, the costs associated with AI would greatly impact the affordability of solutions. Nevertheless, the evolution of AI would help swarms operate more cohesively while requiring lesser supervision.
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