AUVSI XPONENTIAL 22, which is one of the biggest, most influential drone events out there, is in full swing this week. There are tons of speeches to listen to, classes to attend, networking events to engage in — and a giant expo hall to browse.
The expo hall is more relevant than ever this year because — after two years of no drone conferences for many — this is the first time that many people have gotten to see fresh drone products that had been released over the past couple years.
And for many products themselves, it’s the first time they’ve been on wide display.
The Drone Girl checked out the biggest product reveals at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 22, and here are a few of the ones that stand out.
FLIR’s Hadron 640R camera system
Teledyne FLIR has launched a new drone payload for integrators, called the Hadron 640R camera system. Teledyne FLIR says this is its most advanced, dual uncooled thermal-visible camera yet. With it, you’ll get a 640 x 512 resolution Boson longwave infrared (LWIR) thermal camera that can see through total darkness, smoke, most fog, glare, providing temperature measurements for every pixel in the scene.
And it doesn’t work with drones, but also integrates with most sorts of unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), robotic platforms, and emerging AI-ready applications where battery life and run time are mission critical.
Iris Automation’s ground-based surveillance system, Casia G
Iris Automation, which is one of the biggest players in making products with Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights in mind, is using AUVSI XPONENTIAL 22 to make its Casia G commercially available.
Casia G is the ground-based version of its existing detect and avoid (DAA) surveillance solution, and it uses he same patented AI and computer vision technology as Iris Automation’s onboard solutions. With it, you can get a full optical, 360° degree field of regard designed to detect, alert and enable operators to avoid both co-operative and non- cooperative aircraft for safe beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight.
Casia G creates a perimeter of sanitized, monitored airspace for UAVs to perform work safely, without additional payload. It’s ideal for operations in fixed or temporary locations, supporting drone in the box operations and augmenting or replacing human visual observers. BVLOS flight for uncrewed systems has been challenging due to right of way concerns, specifically the inability for uncrewed aircraft to successfully see and avoid other aircraft.
Quite simply, human operators can’t see everything, but this piece of technology can.
“Casia G sees the entire sky, with uniform probability and resolution, 10 times per second, without distractions or breaks,” Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation said in a prepared statement. “This is a solution for airspace awareness that covers a large majority of small UAS use cases, but at a price point that is economically viable and without complex integration.”
And given its commercial availability, it could lead to more viable BVLOS flights, which is one of the hottest topics in the drone industry right now. In fact, Casia G has already obtained a BVLOS waiver on behalf of the City of Reno in Nevada.
Drone Logbook’s integration with Skyfish drones
Skyfish, which is an American made survey-grade engineering drone maker, now allows for mission data tracking on its M4 and M6 drone platforms through a partnership with DroneLogbook.
DroneLogbook is a set of operations software designed to allow users to plan missions (check airspace), manage fleets & personnel, track maintenance & inspections and provide detailed reporting.
And now pilots of Skyfish M4 and M6 drones can more easily keep track of equipment performance, maintenance schedules, and all information to comply with FAA regulations. That’s because Skyfish Mission Control software is now able to automatically cloud synchronize flight telemetry data to DroneLogbook servers as soon as the pilot lands their Skyfish drone. The benefit? Improve ROI for the end user, reducing data processing time, streamlining compliance reporting, and simplifying planning and drone inspection.
The Skyfish drones are on display at Booth #2511, where you can see how they function with Drone Logbook.
A FlytBase docking station for the DJI M300
Two drone companies, FlytBase and Hextronics, teamed up to build a Drone Dock for the DJI M300 drone, which will be displayed at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 22.
FlytBase has been working since 2016 to build software solutions for automating and scaling drone operations. Hextronics isn’t far from the conference’s 2022 location. Based in Miami, it builds drone stations designed to reduce operation costs, extend battery life and optimize their flights. Together, the two have built a fancy drone dock called the Atlas 300, designed specifically for one of the most popular enterprise drones, the DJI M300.
The Atlas 300 dock is basically a robotic battery swapping mechanism. Designed for rugged environments, it can house up to eight batteries, with a lifespan of more than 2,000 cycles. It’s designed to accommodate a variety of payloads, including LIDAR, thermal and mapping cameras, parachutes, and other sensors.
The dock is even air-conditioned and climate-controlled. And since it’s weatherproof, it can theoretically be used in even highly extreme environments. It’s got a downtime of less than four minutes. And it’s got an uptime of up to 55 minutes.
If you’re heading to AUVSI XPONENTIAL 22, expect to see a live demonstration of the HexATLAS 300 (you’ll find it at booth #2737).
A docking station for the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise (and other smaller drones)
By the way, if a smaller drone is more your style, those companies last year created a new docking station for smaller drones too. It’s called the Global Advanced, and — like the drones it is designed to support — is small and lightweight itself.
The battery-swapping drone dock, which launched in May 2021 is waterproof and compatible with off-the-shelf drones such as the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Series. It can charge up to 6 DJI batteries simultaneously, with a swap time of less than 90 seconds to ensure minimal downtime, and theoretically allow for 24/7 operations.
A HexTruck (which better integrates drones with pickup trucks)
Good news for pickup truck drivers: there’s a kit that turns your truck into a drone station.
Hextronics revealed what it calls a HexTruck back on Oct. 28, 2021, but this is the first time many have seen it in-person given the lack of events last year. The HexTruck is one of the first kits to allow for the tight integration of drone stations within a pickup truck. Park your truck, and the drone can use it as a base for automated mobile deployments.
The HexTruck includes a truck-bed mount and retractable cover, extended antennas for reliable WiFi and GPS connections, a DC/AC inverter, and an isolated battery pack. For now, it’s compatible with both the Global Advanced and Atlas 300 drone docks.
What is AUVSI XPONENTIAL 22?
AUVSI XPONENTIAL ’22 is the latest version of an annual conference put on by the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International, which is a giant lobbying group for robotics industries including drones.
This year’s conference is being held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, and is scheduled to run from April 25-28. Tickets purchased on site range in price from $169 to $1,199, depending on the level of access you want (just XPO Hall to VIP Pass) and whether or not you’re an AUVSI member. New events this year include a Law-Tech Connect Workshop and a KO Kickoff Party at TopGolf.