Utsav Chopra's Posts (24)

How Drones are Useful in Forest Fire Response

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are already in use for controlling fires in urban areas and places where people reside. These UAVs are usually quadcopters that are quite effective in hovering in one place.

In the event of a fire, the primary objective of using drones is to gather situational awareness, which can be used to direct the efforts of the firefighters in locating and controlling hot spots.

Just like urban fires, forest fires too require monitoring so that firefighters know what they are dealing with.

Forest fires are different from urban fires; they are hard to control (sometimes cannot be controlled) and pose a greater threat to people and property. Here, drones can play a crucial role in detecting, containing, and extinguishing forest fires.

One example of drones to combat forest fires is that of California National Guards, who are using MQ-9 Reaper (military reconnaissance drones) to assist emergency responders in controlling forest fires. They have already provided crucial assistance in massive forest fires, which include Mendocino Complex Fire and Carr Fire.

Before we dive into how drones are used in this context, it is important to understand why they are used.

Why Drones are Used in Controlling Forest Fires?


In the event of a forest fire, time is of the essence. This is why it makes sense to use a drone for two primary purposes: initial detection and initial rescue. Here is a further breakdown:

  • Drones can quickly be airborne, fly to a location, map the area affected by the fire, and share the information to all relevant agencies within a couple of minutes.
  • A drone can carry a whole range of sensors, including a thermal camera that supports multiple color pallets. The combination of all these sensors provides a better picture of the spread and speed of the fire, which can help civil authorities to come up with a relief plan.

How Are Drones Used in Forest Fires?


Drones are useful especially in forest fires that are difficult to control. They are primarily used for collecting information and during post-incident recovery. Their usage can be explained as follows:

Information gathering: During a forest fire it is important for firefighters to know whether they are hitting the hot spots, which is difficult and dangerous for the ground crew since such fires tend to spread over a large area.

Here drones carrying a thermal camera can do the job much more efficiently. A pilot flying a drone can cover a large area and identify hot spots using the thermal camera. Thermal cameras like DJI Zenmuse XT offer multiple color palettes that can precisely identify hot and cold zones giving a better idea of the kind of temperatures the responders are dealing with.

Learn how DEEP (The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) has been using drones to combat forest fires.


Aid and protection: Fighting any kind of fire is an occupational hazard for firefighters. But forest fires can move in any direction depending on the wind. This means a firefighter on the ground fighting a forest fire without the knowledge of the spread can easily get trapped.

The footage captured by a drone can provide insights about the spread and direction of the fire. This information can protect firefighters from going too close to the inferno.

Terrain Mapping: Footage captured from a drone can be converted into a 3D map allowing civil authorities to ascertain the extent of the damage. This information is useful during post-incident relief work and for insurance companies to verify damage claims.

Real-time Awareness: Any kind of relief work requires resources, and for that situational awareness is required for planning. In 2018, wildfire threatened the town of Hechingen, Germany, which was facing severe drought and the water level dropped below 50%.

The fire department of Hechingen was called in to control the blaze. The fire was close to a remote country road far away from water sources and covered an area close to 5000 square meters. DJI M210 drones, with Zenmuse XT and X4S cameras, were put to the test and flown over the area to gather intelligence. Aerial imagery showed the firefighters the hot spots and the spread of the fire; accordingly, they planned to carry water, in fire engines, to the spot and control the blaze.

Thus, drones played an important role in providing intelligence for decision making.

How FlytNow Enhances the Capabilities of Drones Fighting Forest Fires


FlytNow is a cloud-based fleet management solution that provides a unified dashboard for managing a fleet of drones. The dashboard provides access to drone-mission planning, live telemetry, and video streams from all connected drones over a 4G/LTE/5G network. Below is an illustration of how the solution works.

How Drones are Connected to FlytNow?


FlytNow supports a wide variety of drones including the popular DJI Mavic and Matrice series of drones.

Connecting a DJI drone is extremely simple; download and install the FlytOS mobile app and connect the mobile with the RC of the drone. The mobile application acts as a relay between the drone and the cloud application. Live telemetry and the video feed are sent to the FlytNow cloud server over the mobile network.

Custom drones also work with FlytNow by leveraging a single board computer (SBC). An SBC with the operating system is connected to the flight controller of the drone, which communicates with FlytNow either through Wifi or a GSM module.

Establishing a Localized Command Center Using FlytNow Business


FlytNow Business is a standard offering that comes with out of the box features. This solution is ideal for setting up a localized command center to manage drones working to bring a forest fire under control.

A forest fire can burn for days before it’s brought under control, so it becomes important for fire officials to stay close to the situation and monitor it. Following are the features that would allow firefighters to set up a command center and some ways they can be used:

  • FlytNow Business can be accessed from a web browser. A firefighter with a laptop or a tablet can log in to the FlytNow dashboard and see the statuses of all connected drones. Like a command center, he/she can manage and control all drones from a single dashboard.


FlytNow for drone forest fire

  • FlytNow Business comes with an advanced mission planner that allows for setting up a flight path for a drone. Using the mission planner, a fire official can program a drone to fly over a defined perimeter and map it in order to understand the spread of the fire.
  • It can stream live video and telemetry from all connected drones. Using this feature, a fire official can see the video feeds (at ultra-low latency) from all connected drones on the dashboard and even share them with various agencies either via email or using the built-in team management. This would allow for better coordination among different agencies.


fire fighting response team

  • The dashboard supports multiple views for different kinds of operations. For example, in a search and rescue operation, an operator can switch to the IR view to detect the heat signature of people trapped by the fire.


Drones wildfire response

In the case of DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and Matrice 210 V2 Dual, the dashboard supports MSX, which generates high contrast thermal images with lines and edges, and multiple color palettes including isotherms. Using the color palettes, a firefighter can identify hot and cold regions, which can aid in the identification of hot spots.

Early detection of forest fires

  • FlytNow Business can be integrated with cloud servers like AWS S3 for the storage of video captured during firefighting operations. These videos can later be used for training purposes.

Establishing an Automated Drone Based Response System Using FlytNow Enterprise


FlytNow Enterprise is a customizable offering that includes all the features of the Business version plus additional features. It can be used to set up a fully automated response system that can be integrated with ground-based hardware (Drone-in-a-Box and charging pads) and computer-aided dispatch systems like 911. A system like this would function in the following way.

drones for fighting forest fires

  • An emergency operator receives a forest fire alert through the computer-aided dispatch system.
  • The alert is routed to the nearby fire stations. A fire official logs in to the FlytNow dashboard and selects the alert, which pinpoints the fire’s location.
  • The firefighter requests a drone recon over the area. The response system (powered by FlytNow Enterprise) automatically creates a mission and selects a nearby drone station ( Drone-in-a-Box hardware). FlytNow Enterprise supports all popular Drone-in-a-Box hardware.
  • The drone receives the command and flies off autonomously. FlytNow Enterprise supports integration with UTM service providers like Airmap for airspace intelligence to support BVLOS flights.
  • On reaching the location, the drone starts recording and sends out a live video feed for the firefighter to see.
  • A firefighter has the option to use AI features like object detection to identify certain ground objects, for example, a hotspot.
  • The drone continues the mission until its battery becomes low. It goes back to the station and lands on the DiaB hardware using the precision landing feature by FlytNow Enterprise. The solution makes it safe for the drone to fly autonomously with advanced failsafe that allows a drone to do an emergency landing in case of a hardware failure.

Summary


In this blog, we understood the importance of drones and how they are used in controlling forest fires. We discussed in detail the challenges that drones allow firefighters to overcome, and how FlytNow as a solution enhances the capabilities of drones.

You can implement FlytNow today with our 28 days free trial and see yourself how FlytNow can enhance your workflow with drones. Making the justification of using drones even stronger.

Source:https://flytnow.com/drones-in-forest-fire-response/

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When we think about commercial drones, we mainly see them as a tool for aerial inspection and monitoring, since a lot of applications happen in this context. According to phillybyair.com, the construction industry was the largest user of drones, in terms of usage, in 2019, which further strengthens the perception of widespread use by this industry. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the commercial drone ecosystem; we are now witnessing a rapid adoption of drones by various government agencies across the world for public safety use cases. For instance, during the global pandemic lockdown, police officials in the state of Gujarat, India created the country’s first drone command center from where a fleet of drones was managed to monitor the streets of the city of Ahmedabad; read the full case study

If we dig deeper into the use of drones for public safety, there is one use case that is not often talked about, drones for highway patrolling. No! You won’t be getting a speeding ticket from a drone any time soon. But what drones can do is to act as first responders in emergency situations happening on highways. Clearly, drones aren’t meant to catch criminals and speeding vehicles, they are more like eyes-in-the-sky that provide situational awareness when something goes wrong. 

Why Use Drones for Highway Patrolling


With regards to highway patrolling, drones provide the following advantages:

  • A drone can reach a location much faster compared to ground-based vehicles, which is why they are ideal for the role of first responders. 
  • In situations like wildfires or avalanches, where roads get blocked, drones can be sent to assess the situation and identify people who are in distress.
  • Drones can help optimize the resources to be deployed for emergency response, by providing crucial first-hand information on a fast-evolving situation to human first responders (police, fire, and paramedic). 
  • Drones can carry a variety of payloads, such as Automated External Defibrillators. A drone carrying an AED can save lives by rapidly reaching someone having a cardiac arrest in remote areas.

Instances of Drones Used for Patrolling


Save people from avalanches: Drones are actively being used in mountainous areas for patrolling ski paths and participating in search and rescue missions, in case of an avalanche.

Drones Used for Patrolling

According to BBC, 90% of avalanche victims survive if rescued within the first 15 minutes, but the odds of surviving drops to 20% after 45 minutes. Thus, the rapid response abilities of drones become ideal for such situations.

In the Czech Republic, there is a nationwide agency called the Mountain Rescue Service of the Czech Republic that actively participates in rescuing people trapped by an avalanche. They rely on a response system based on a network of drones. When an avalanche strikes, mobile vehicles carrying drones go to the affected area and deploy the drones. The drones carry a transceiver to hone into a particular frequency that skiers transmit. In this way, skiers trapped in snow are quickly located and saved. 

Analyze crash sites: Iowa State Patrol has deployed drones to investigate crash sites on highways. Drones equipped with a high-resolution camera can be used to render 3D images and recreate accident sites for investigators. The state patrol is using this technology only for investigating accidents, not to monitor traffic violations.

Drones for Highway patrolling

How FlytNow can Power a Drone Response System for Highway Patrolling


FlytNow is a cloud-based application that offers a web dashboard to manage a fleet of drones. The dashboard has an integrated map that allows live tracking of all connected drones; it also has widgets to control the drones along with their payloads. 

FlytNow comes in two main versions (FlytNow Business and FlytNow Enterprise) for commercial users. 

How Drones are Connected to FlytNow?


FlytNow supports both DJI and custom drones. DJI drones are connected using the FlytOS mobile app. The app connects with the Remote Controller (RC) and establishes a connection with the web application. 

When connecting custom drones based on PX4 and Ardupilot or DJI enterprise drones, a single board computer (SBC) is required; this could be a Raspberry Pi 3b+/4, Odroid N2, DJI Manifold 2, Nvidia Jetson Nano / TX2, etc. that is loaded with the FlytOS operating system and connected with the autopilot of the drone. The SBC allows the drones to communicate with FlytNow and receive instructions over the cloud.

FlytNow Business for Remote Patrolling


FlytNow is a standard offering that provides out of the box features to manage drones remotely. It is ideal for localized response systems that rely on both remote viewing capabilities and the support from local pilots. Here are some of the features that help police officials:

  • FlytNow has a standard web-based dashboard to manage all connected drones. It has panels to monitor the live telemetry data of each drone and the live video feed coming from the drones. An officer having access to the dashboard can inspect an emergency situation remotely, and guide the personnel present at the scene. In the case of a DJI drone, an officer close to a scene might use the mobile app to share the footage with remote officers or an expert.


flytnow getting started

  • FlytNow Business offers integration with a private cloud server to store videos captured by the drones. Police officials can use this feature to maintain a video record of every incident captured by the drones, which might prove to be useful in future investigations.


Drone Response System

  • This version supports the remote control of a variety of payloads, including payloads offered by DJI. Among the supported payloads include a thermal camera, spotlight, and loudspeaker. Such payloads are useful in special circumstances like night time search and rescue missions where time is a critical element.


FlytNow Enterprise


The FlytNow Enterprise version includes everything that the Business version has, plus additional features and the option of customization. This offering is ideal for establishing a full-fledged emergency or disaster response system that includes a network of Drone-in-a-Box installations, multi-user access, and integration with services like 911. Below is an illustration of how a system like this might work:

drone response system

Understanding a drone-based response system using FlytNow Enterprise for highway Patrolling


Here we will explore how a drone-based highway response system might work using a hypothetical situation.  

  • At hour 21:00 on route 66, a tanker collides with a truck and catches fire. A nearby witness calls 911.


drone monitoring of a road accident

  • An emergency operator receives the request and triggers an alert. The alert is then routed to nearby state troopers and the fire service.


drone response center

  • As fire engines are prepared for dispatch, a fire serviceman opens the FlytNow dashboard and selects the fire alert (made possible through integration with 911), which puts a pin on the map.


drone station

  • The fireman requests drone coverage for the scene. Since FlytNow is integrated with a network of drone stations, powered by Drone-in-a-Box (DiaB) hardware, a mission is created automatically and a nearby drone is selected for the task.
  • On receiving the command (over the internet), a drone automatically takes off from a DiaB and flies towards the location. FlytNow automatically selects an optimal path for the drone, taking into consideration airspace norms, by leveraging UTM services like Airmap.


road accident

  • On reaching the location, the drone begins a live-video stream of the incident, providing crucial situational awareness to the firefighters. The stream is broadcasted (the drone maintains communication with FlytNow over 4G/LTE/5G network) to nearby state troopers.
  • A state trooper with special privileges takes secure control of the drone’s camera and initiates a thermal scan to identify victims. The object detection capability of FlytNow allows the drone to identify crash victims. The trooper passes the information to the paramedics.
  • When the battery of the drone becomes low, the drone automatically returns to the DiaB to recharge and stay ready for the next mission.

     

Summary


In this blog, we discussed the fast-evolving adoption of drones in public safety operations, especially highway patrolling. We touched upon the utility of drones in patrolling operations and specific instances where drones have saved lives.

We then discussed how FlytNow, as a solution, enables emergency responders to build a system where drones can autonomously go to an emergency situation and provide situational awareness.

If you or your police department is interested in such a drone system, then try our 28 days free trial of FlytNow Pro. This version allows you to immediately demonstrate the power of drones for public safety.

Or contact us at https://flytnow.com/contact/ for the Business or Enterprise version.

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Drones are eyes in the sky for firefighters. They can serve as an essential firefighting tool for people in the fire services, especially in and around urban centers, where a deadly inferno might occur in a highrise building. 

Drone for fire fighting can equip fire officials with the latest technology, and add complementary capabilities to the existing resources such as fire trucks, ladders, specialized suits, etc. Firefighters can now acquire aerial information in a quick, cost-effective manner. 

In 2016, a tragic fire broke out in a warehouse in Oakland, California. The warehouse had been converted into a living space called Ghost Ship. The fire, which claimed the lives of 36 people, is one of the deadliest in the history of Oakland. Drones, equipped with a thermal camera, were used by firefighters to identify hotspots and search the unsafe-building after the fire was extinguished.

The effectiveness of drones is rapidly catching on, as agencies around the world begin to adopt this technology. In the US, more than 900 state and local agencies related to the emergency services are using drones one way or another; out of them, approximately, 186 is believed to be related to fire and emergency medical services.

Can Drones (UAVs) Put Out a Fire?


This is a common question that people often ask. A short answer is No, drones are more useful in acquiring situational awareness about the fire and its surroundings. Firefighters can use this information to control the fire and ultimately put it off. However, there are a few companies that are equipping drones with water hoses or fire extinguishing materials.

How Are Drones Used During Firefighting?


How Are Drones Used During FirefightingSituational awareness: In a typical scenario where a fire has broken out in a building, firefighters arrive at the spot and begin their operation with limited information about the extent of the fire and damage it has caused to the structure. 

Instead, with a fleet of drones, firefighters can begin with an aerial assessment of the scene and know the extent of the fire before starting their rescue operation.

Reach difficult places: Drones are efficient in going to tight spaces since they are nimble and agile, and deploying them first avoidings putting humans in unsafe situations.

Thermal assessment: In a firefighting situation,  firefighters work against the clock to save the lives and integrity of the structure. That is why it is important to direct their efforts towards the source of a fire.  Drones equipped with a thermal camera can assist firefighters to identify hotspots inside a blazing structure. Accordingly, firefighters can direct their efforts to bring the situation under control. 

Search and rescue:  Firefighters are actively involved in search and rescue missions. A thermal camera drone can do the job of 100 people by scanning a large area and identifying people in distress. During a natural calamity like an earthquake, thermal camera drones can fly over fallen structures and identify trapped individuals, and even identify dangerous leakages.

What Kind of Drones and Payloads are Commonly Used During Firefighting?


Drones come in all shapes and sizes, but not all of them are suitable for firefighting operations. The more suitable ones are off-the-shelf drones from the likes of DJI and custom drones based on open source stacks mainly PX4 and Ardupilot. Here are some of the drones that are considered fit for such kind of tasks:


Drones are not usable without the appropriate payloads. For firefighting purposes, these are some common payloads that are used:

  • Zenmuse XT2 (a thermal camera for DJI drones) 
  • Zenmuse Z30 (a normal camera with 30x zoom for DJI drones)
  • Zenmuse H20 (A hybrid camera that combines a wide-angle camera, 23x optical zoom camera, thermal camera, and laser rangefinder for DJI drones)

How FlytNow Can Make Drone Operations a Lot Smarter for the Firefighters

Traditional Challenges in Using Drones for Firefighting


The conventional way of using drones, during firefighting, is a pilot controlling a drone using the remote controller (RC). Here, the pilot becomes the relay point of all the information collected by the drone. This method of using drones may be simple, but is not very effective, since multiple pilots are required to control multiple drones. On top of the human resource requirement, there are several other disadvantages, as follows:

  • It becomes difficult for a drone pilot to share the data with different agencies and ground personnel, which hinders coordination.
  • Difficult to archive flight data, which makes it problematic for the future analysis of an emergency situation.
  • Data collected from multiple drones cannot be stitched together for better situational awareness. 
  • Sharing live data becomes difficult, more so when multiple drones are involved. 
  • Drone response can’t be automated since they can’t be integrated with emergency response systems like the 911 operations centers.

How FlytNow Helps in Overcoming the Traditional Challenges


FlytNow is a fleet management system that helps public safety officials to overcome challenges in using drones for firefighting. 

FlytNow is a cloud-based application that provides a unified dashboard to control a fleet of drones. It has two versions (Business and Enterprise) that cater to two different use cases.

drones for public safetyHow Drones are Connected to the FlytNow Cloud Application


FlytNow is a hardware-agnostic cloud platform meaning it supports different kinds of drones. Users using DJI drones can use the FlytOS mobile app to connect the drones to the cloud application. 

In the case of custom drones, a single board computer loaded with the FlytOS operating system can be attached to the flight controller of the drone, to facilitate communication with the FlytNow application over a 4G/LTE/5G network.

flytcloud

FlytNow Business


FlytNow Business is a standard offering that provides out of the box features in the form of SaaS (Software as a Service). This version is useful in establishing a quick command center, locally, for a particular response to manage the drones in operation. 

Some of the unique features and benefits that it provides are as follows:

  • It provides a web-based dashboard with an integrated map to control a fleet of drones. Using this feature, a single operator can control the movement of multiple drones, thus saving cost and time.drone firefighting operation
  • The dashboard offers live telemetry and visual data from all connected drones, with dual control from both the RC and the web dashboard. This allows for coordinated drone operations where data from multiple drones can be stitched together and shared for better situational awareness. firefighters using drone
  • The Business edition has out of the box support for live video-streaming from multiple drones that can be shared with anyone using their email address.flytnow for remote firefighting operations
  • A viewer can switch between ‘normal’ view (RBG) and ‘thermal’ view (IR) if the drone is equipped with an IR sensor. In the case of DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and DJI M210 V2 Dual, the FlytNow dashboard provides the MSX view that shows the lines and edges, along with the contrast, to differentiate between regions with different temperatures.using thermal camera with drone
  • Along with MSX, FlytNow gives the option to switch between different color pallets like Rainbow, Hotspot, Gray, Isotherms, Hotmetal, and Coldspot for the M2E Dual.using drones for fire fighting
  • Thermal imaging allows firefighters to identify hot spots and see whether they are hitting the fire. In a post-fire situation,  a thermal drone can carry out an inspection of the outer facades of the building, and send the live footage using FlyNow to a structural engineer sitting hundreds of miles away for a better assessment.
  • The business version has out of the box support for DJI payloads (eg. Dual Camera, Spotlight, etc) for drones such as Mavic 2 Enterprise and the Matrice 200 series. These payloads are specially designed for emergency operations.drone payloads for fire fighting
  • Apart from DJI payloads, it supports remote control of the gimbal, on which the camera is attached, via the web dashboard. This allows a remote viewer to control the camera angle for a better visual.

FlytNow Enterprise


The Enterprise version adds customization and addons to the Business edition. This version is ideal for setting up a drone-based emergency response system with the following capabilities:

  • A system that is integrated with a dispatch system like the 911
  • Integration with a decentralized network of drone stations supported by Drone-in-a-Box hardware, which allows for automated dispatch of drones.
  • A unified dashboard that can be part of a command center, which allows for the control and management of the drones over 4G/LTE/5G. 


With respect to fire fighting, the Enterprise version offers advantages such as:

  • AI-based features like object detection to help identify people trapped under debris or lost in a forest.
  • The ability of public safety officials to maintain detailed flight-record of each and every drone flight, to comply with airspace norms. All these legal requirements and complexities are solved using FlytNow Enterprise’s native support for DroneLogbook (a flight data recording service) and Airmap (a UTM service). 
  • Support for custom maps, so that operators can adjust to the terrain over which drones are flying.

Summary


In this blog, we discussed the importance of drones for firefighting and how they can be used to save time, resources, and lives. We also touched upon the kind of drones and payloads used for fire fighting operations. Finally, we ended by showcasing the benefits that FlytNow provides by allowing the usage of drones at scale with data availability for proper coordination. 

If you (plan to) use drones for public safety, then FlytNow is the right software platform to allow you to leverage cloud technology for better management and transparency of your drone operations. You can get started with our 28 days of a free trial. You can also contact us at https://flytnow.com/contact/

Read more…

Drones are eyes in the sky for firefighters. They can serve as an essential firefighting tool for people in the fire services, especially in and around urban centers, where a deadly inferno might occur in a highrise building. 

Drone for fire fighting can equip fire officials with the latest technology, and add complementary capabilities to the existing resources such as fire trucks, ladders, specialized suits, etc. Firefighters can now acquire aerial information in a quick, cost-effective manner. 

In 2016, a tragic fire broke out in a warehouse in Oakland, California. The warehouse had been converted into a living space called Ghost Ship. The fire, which claimed the lives of 36 people, is one of the deadliest in the history of Oakland. Drones, equipped with a thermal camera, were used by firefighters to identify hotspots and search the unsafe-building after the fire was extinguished.

The effectiveness of drones is rapidly catching on, as agencies around the world begin to adopt this technology. In the US, more than 900 state and local agencies related to the emergency services are using drones one way or another; out of them, approximately, 186 is believed to be related to fire and emergency medical services.

Can Drones (UAVs) Put Out a Fire?

This is a common question that people often ask. A short answer is No, drones are more useful in acquiring situational awareness about the fire and its surroundings. Firefighters can use this information to control the fire and ultimately put it off. However, there are a few companies that are equipping drones with water hoses or fire extinguishing materials.

How Are Drones Used During Firefighting?

How Are Drones Used During FirefightingSituational awareness: In a typical scenario where a fire has broken out in a building, firefighters arrive at the spot and begin their operation with limited information about the extent of the fire and damage it has caused to the structure. 

Instead, with a fleet of drones, firefighters can begin with an aerial assessment of the scene and know the extent of the fire before starting their rescue operation.

Reach difficult places: Drones are efficient in going to tight spaces since they are nimble and agile, and deploying them first avoidings putting humans in unsafe situations.

Thermal assessment: In a firefighting situation,  firefighters work against the clock to save the lives and integrity of the structure. That is why it is important to direct their efforts towards the source of a fire.  Drones equipped with a thermal camera can assist firefighters to identify hotspots inside a blazing structure. Accordingly, firefighters can direct their efforts to bring the situation under control. 

Search and rescue:  Firefighters are actively involved in search and rescue missions. A thermal camera drone can do the job of 100 people by scanning a large area and identifying people in distress. During a natural calamity like an earthquake, thermal camera drones can fly over fallen structures and identify trapped individuals, and even identify dangerous leakages.

What Kind of Drones and Payloads are Commonly Used During Firefighting?

Drones come in all shapes and sizes, but not all of them are suitable for firefighting operations. The more suitable ones are off-the-shelf drones from the likes of DJI and custom drones based on open source stacks mainly PX4 and Ardupilot. Here are some of the drones that are considered fit for such kind of tasks:

Drones are not usable without the appropriate payloads. For firefighting purposes, these are some common payloads that are used:

  • Zenmuse XT2 (a thermal camera for DJI drones) 
  • Zenmuse Z30 (a normal camera with 30x zoom for DJI drones)
  • Zenmuse H20 (A hybrid camera that combines a wide-angle camera, 23x optical zoom camera, thermal camera, and laser rangefinder for DJI drones)

How FlytNow Can Make Drone Operations a Lot Smarter for the Firefighters

Traditional Challenges in Using Drones for Firefighting

The conventional way of using drones, during firefighting, is a pilot controlling a drone using the remote controller (RC). Here, the pilot becomes the relay point of all the information collected by the drone. This method of using drones may be simple, but is not very effective, since multiple pilots are required to control multiple drones. On top of the human resource requirement, there are several other disadvantages, as follows:

  • It becomes difficult for a drone pilot to share the data with different agencies and ground personnel, which hinders coordination.
  • Difficult to archive flight data, which makes it problematic for the future analysis of an emergency situation.
  • Data collected from multiple drones cannot be stitched together for better situational awareness. 
  • Sharing live data becomes difficult, more so when multiple drones are involved. 
  • Drone response can’t be automated since they can’t be integrated with emergency response systems like the 911 operations centers.

How FlytNow Helps in Overcoming the Traditional Challenges

FlytNow is a fleet management system that helps public safety officials to overcome challenges in using drones for firefighting. 

FlytNow is a cloud-based application that provides a unified dashboard to control a fleet of drones. It has two versions (Business and Enterprise) that cater to two different use cases.

drones for public safetyHow Drones are Connected to the FlytNow Cloud Application

FlytNow is a hardware-agnostic cloud platform meaning it supports different kinds of drones. Users using DJI drones can use the FlytOS mobile app to connect the drones to the cloud application. 

In the case of custom drones, a single board computer loaded with the FlytOS operating system can be attached to the flight controller of the drone, to facilitate communication with the FlytNow application over a 4G/LTE/5G network.

flytcloud

FlytNow Business

FlytNow Business is a standard offering that provides out of the box features in the form of SaaS (Software as a Service). This version is useful in establishing a quick command center, locally, for a particular response to manage the drones in operation. 

Some of the unique features and benefits that it provides are as follows:

  • It provides a web-based dashboard with an integrated map to control a fleet of drones. Using this feature, a single operator can control the movement of multiple drones, thus saving cost and time.drone firefighting operation
  • The dashboard offers live telemetry and visual data from all connected drones, with dual control from both the RC and the web dashboard. This allows for coordinated drone operations where data from multiple drones can be stitched together and shared for better situational awareness. firefighters using drone
  • The Business edition has out of the box support for live video-streaming from multiple drones that can be shared with anyone using their email address.flytnow for remote firefighting operations
  • A viewer can switch between ‘normal’ view (RBG) and ‘thermal’ view (IR) if the drone is equipped with an IR sensor. In the case of DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and DJI M210 V2 Dual, the FlytNow dashboard provides the MSX view that shows the lines and edges, along with the contrast, to differentiate between regions with different temperatures.using thermal camera with drone
  • Along with MSX, FlytNow gives the option to switch between different color pallets like Rainbow, Hotspot, Gray, Isotherms, Hotmetal, and Coldspot for the M2E Dual.using drones for fire fighting
  • Thermal imaging allows firefighters to identify hot spots and see whether they are hitting the fire. In a post-fire situation,  a thermal drone can carry out an inspection of the outer facades of the building, and send the live footage using FlyNow to a structural engineer sitting hundreds of miles away for a better assessment.
  • The business version has out of the box support for DJI payloads (eg. Dual Camera, Spotlight, etc) for drones such as Mavic 2 Enterprise and the Matrice 200 series. These payloads are specially designed for emergency operations.drone payloads for fire fighting
  • Apart from DJI payloads, it supports remote control of the gimbal, on which the camera is attached, via the web dashboard. This allows a remote viewer to control the camera angle for a better visual.

FlytNow Enterprise

The Enterprise version adds customization and addons to the Business edition. This version is ideal for setting up a drone-based emergency response system with the following capabilities:

  • A system that is integrated with a dispatch system like the 911
  • Integration with a decentralized network of drone stations supported by Drone-in-a-Box hardware, which allows for automated dispatch of drones.
  • A unified dashboard that can be part of a command center, which allows for the control and management of the drones over 4G/LTE/5G. 

With respect to fire fighting, the Enterprise version offers advantages such as:

  • AI-based features like object detection to help identify people trapped under debris or lost in a forest.
  • The ability of public safety officials to maintain detailed flight-record of each and every drone flight, to comply with airspace norms. All these legal requirements and complexities are solved using FlytNow Enterprise’s native support for DroneLogbook (a flight data recording service) and Airmap (a UTM service). 
  • Support for custom maps, so that operators can adjust to the terrain over which drones are flying.

Summary

In this blog, we discussed the importance of drones for firefighting and how they can be used to save time, resources, and lives. We also touched upon the kind of drones and payloads used for fire fighting operations. Finally, we ended by showcasing the benefits that FlytNow provides by allowing the usage of drones at scale with data availability for proper coordination. 

If you (plan to) use drones for public safety, then FlytNow is the right software platform to allow you to leverage cloud technology for better management and transparency of your drone operations. You can get started with our 28 days of a free trial. You can also contact us at https://flytnow.com/contact/

Read more…

Drones are efficient and cost-effective in capturing visual data, on an object, or an earmarked piece of land. That is why they have proliferated into many industries, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now being used for a variety of monitoring purposes. 

Modern drones are highly capable of monitoring. Powered by intelligent software, drones can be flown over the internet, stream live videos, and cover long distances by leveraging fixed wings.

Using such capabilities, UAV service providers can thus deploy drones to monitor the assets of an airport and even long runways and transmit the live video footage to stakeholders sitting far away. 

Note: Learn how FlytNow powered the very first remote construction site inspection in the city of Lillestrøm, Norway over a 5G network.

Benefits of Using Drones for Airport Asset Monitoring


Drones are a better tool for monitoring than ground-based vehicles, because of the following reasons:

  • Drones are small and agile vehicles that can go in nearly all places, especially those where it might be dangerous for humans to go. 
  • A single drone can cover a large area very easily and quickly.  
  • A drone can be fitted with a thermal camera, which might be used during the night time. 
  • Drones can be made smarter by fitting them with companion computers. For example, an operating system like FlytOS, when installed on a companion computer, provides AI-based features like precision landing, object detection, and collision avoidance.
  • Drone-based monitoring can be automated with the help of cloud-connected platforms such as FlytNow.

How FlytNow Business Enabled Dr-ONE to Monitor One of DronePort's Airports


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHWPPKTr_Fs

The infrastructure of an airport requires periodic monitoring for maintenance purposes. One of our partners, DR ONE is leveraging the FlytNow platform to deploy drones for runway, hanger, and airport vegetation monitoring. Compared to conventional methods, aerial monitoring has the following benefits:

  • Minimum disruption to airport operations while monitoring since no land-based equipment is used. 
  • Data is collected by the drones which can be later processed using standardized software. 
  • Since a drone can carry a variety of sensors, there is richness in the data collected by the drones. 
  • The data produced by drones is traceable and reproducible which eliminates any form of subjectivity that an inspector might have. 


By leveraging the capabilities of FlytNow, DR-ONE was able to perform the following activities during a monitoring-mission of one the runways of DronePort (EBR 62), Belgium:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyDl_33_C1Y

  • Using the advanced mission planning feature of FlytNow, they controlled the flight path of their drones over an area close to 88 hectares.
  • The waypoints in FlytNow support the setting of altitude and speed which DR-ONE used to control the flight behavior of drones so they cause minimum disruption to airport operations. The precision settings of FlytNow allowed them to maintain an average speed of 17 km/h during their mission.
  • The live video streaming capability of FlytNow enabled DR-ONE to monitor the runway, other infrastructures like airplane hangars, and the surrounding vegetation. 
  • FlytNow gave DR-ONE a unified dashboard to monitor the entire operation, including the ability to change views from map view to cockpit view. 
  • The geofence feature of FlytNow allowed DR-ONE to conduct safe operations by restricting the flight area of a drone since only a limited section of the airport had to be monitored.  In addition to geofences, FlytNow’s built-in RTH (Return to Home) function allowed them to call their drone back to the base after completing the mission. 

FlytNow Enterprise for Airport Monitoring


The enterprise version of FlytNow provides a whole host of customizations and features to adjust to situational challenges like operating in an airport. Some of them are as follows:

Integration


Airports operate under severe restrictions for the safety of aircraft and people on the ground. The airspace above and around airports is managed and controlled by the Air Traffic Control. So anyone flying a drone inside or close to an airport would require coordination with the Air Traffic Control.

There are service providers that provide intelligence on airspace and detailed map overlays of restricted airspace. FlytNow Enterprise provides REST API that can be used to integrate with such services, enabling service providers like DR ONE to conduct monitoring activities safely without violating any airspace norms.

Add-ons


Both the enterprise and business version support thermal cameras; coupled that with AI-add-ons, available in the enterprise version,  like object detection, an operator can identify damages to the runway and other assets much more easily.

Fleet Management


One of the reasons why drones are useful is because they can cover a large area quickly. Managing multiple drones is the primary pain point that FlytNow solves. Both the enterprise and business version offers a unified dashboard to manage and control a fleet of drones. In monitoring missions, as the one DR-ONE did, multiple drones are beneficial since airports are spread across a large area.

Apart from Runway Pavement Monitoring What Other Places Drones can be Used? 


Here are some of the use cases where drones are being adopted for aerial monitoring: 

Drones are being used to monitor traffic: London Metropolitan Police are using drones to monitor traffic conditions. They are primarily using drones to pip-point drivers engaging in road-rage. 

Crowd Monitoring: During the recent 2020 COVID pandemic, drones were used to monitor the streets of cities in India for catching unlawful gatherings during the lockdown phase. Learn how an Indian startup established India’s first drone command center using FlytNow

Monitoring of Properties: Both commercial and residential real estates are using drones to safeguard their perimeters. A software solution like FlytNow can automate drone-patrolling around a property to protect its perimeter. 

Wild-life monitoring: Drones are being used by forest officials around the world to keep an eye on forest life, and safeguarding it from dangers like poaching and illegal deforestation.

Summary


In this blog, we primarily discussed how DR ONE used the FlytNow platform for the monitoring of assets of an airport with great advantages. A fleet management system like FlytNow makes complex operations like monitoring less challenging and yields some of the following benefits:

  • Time-saving: Since multiple drones can be deployed and managed easily.
  • Cost-saving: A single operator can control and manage multiple drones from a unified dashboard.
  • Compliant:  Operating in an airport means coordination with multiple agencies; the integration features of FlytNow allows for that.


FlytNow is the perfect tool for drone service providers looking to upgrade their capabilities regarding monitoring either of airport assets or any other use case.

What's Next?

Deploy drones in 5 easy steps and leverage the power of FlytNow to conduct remote monitoring with capabilities for automation and AI. To experience FlytNow, sign up for our free trial for 28 days using this link: https://flytnow.com/pricing/

If you are interested in partnering with us, please visit https://flytnow.com/partner/.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Read more…

The ongoing pandemic (COVID-19) has taught us many things. Among those lessons is the realization that drones can be used for operations to save people’s lives.

Even before the pandemic, at AirWorks 2019, DJI announced that drones saved the lives of 279 people around the world. The number probably represents a small fraction of documented cases where drones were used as a means for public safety. For example, during the lockdown that followed after the onset of COVID-19, drones helped Indian authorities to contain the spread of the virus by monitoring the streets for unlawful gathering. Read the full case study.

We have just scratched the surface when it comes to commercial drone usage - drones have tremendous potential in disaster management alone.

In a report from the United Nations, it has been stated that 1.2 million lives were lost, 1.7 trillion dollars of damage was done and 2.9 billion people were affected due to global disasters that occurred between 2002 and 2012. With economic and human losses of this magnitude, every new technology that promises to save lives has a huge potential, including drone technology.

What Problems do Drones Solve During a Disaster Response?


There are several pre-existing protocols that are supposed to be followed during disaster response. Most of them have been successful so far, but they create their own set of challenges. The main one is the response time, which is of great importance during disaster management. The second one is logistical support.

For example, in 2015, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 devastated the Kathmandu region of Nepal, which claimed the lives of 9000 people. All means of transportation were destroyed which drastically affected the disaster response and relief work. Many people, trapped under the rubble, lost their lives since help didn’t reach them on time.

When the Nepali government appealed for assistance to the international community, help arrived in the form of medical support, food, and relief equipment. Several international agencies came and deployed drones to help better assess the situation and to aid the search and rescue process.

Drones were also used during the 2013 typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. They were mainly deployed to survey the impact of the storm on farmlands and ascertain future risks from similar storms.

Drones help improve the response time, since they can be deployed much faster, as compared to traditional vehicles like a helicopter. Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) drones can cover large distances and assess the situation in an event where all transportation routes have been destroyed or made inaccessible.

Drone Benefits During Disaster Response


The process of disaster management can be broken down into the following stages:

  • Prevention
  • Preparation
  • Reponse
  • Recovery


Using drones for disaster response can add value to all of the above-mentioned stages according to a study from Zurich North America. The study highlights the correlation between a short response during the early phase of disaster recovery with increased success in search and rescue operations.

To better appreciate the benefits of using drones, consider the following:

  • Drones can ensure the safety of people. During the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster 2011, drones were used to survey the extent of the disaster without risking the lives of the relief workers.
  • Drones are quite effective as first responders since they can be deployed fast and easily, as compared to manned aerial vehicles.
  • Drones are relatively inexpensive, and with the help of a drone fleet management system, can be deployed in large numbers as autonomous fleets.

Drone Applications for Supporting Disaster Response


Drones are a versatile tool, to be used in various ways, as a critical aid in disaster response.

  • Drones have long been in use for aerial mapping and surveys. The same application can be easily extended to disaster response. For example, drones were used during the landslide of Oso, Washington in 2014 to map the region after the incident.
  • It often happens during an earthquake that a partially damaged building or a civic structure requires a thorough inspection before it can be deemed safe for humans to go there. Drones equipped with sensors like infrared (IR) cameras can do the job safely.
  • Drones can be used for medical delivery. A US-based company called Matternet did its first field trial of medical delivery using drones to camps set up after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
  • Drones can be used for search and rescue operations. In 2005, fixed-wing drones were used to search for survivors after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi.

How FlytNow Enables Drones for Disaster Relief


Drones are not just a piece of hardware; they are usually paired with intelligent software to make them truly effective. In a disaster situation of a large magnitude, having multiple drones can be advantageous, but managing a swarm of drones is not easy. FlytNow, with its cloud-based software solution, solves the problem of simultaneously controlling and managing a large number of drones.

In brief, FlytNow works as a cloud application that provides a unified dashboard to manage drones connected to the system. When a request comes for deploying a drone, an emergency response operator can use the advanced mission planner to create a flight path for the drone and initiate the launch. Once in the air, the drone flies with full autonomy as per the mission plan. Below is an illustration of how a drone public safety operation might operate:

drones for public safety

FlytNow is available in two versions, FlytNow Business and Enterprise; the latter offers a host of customization options.

FlytNow Business


This is a standard offering that provides usability out of the box. The offering comes with features specifically designed for disaster response and public safety operations. Here are some of those features and how they benefit disaster relief operations:

  • The ability to control drones over 4G/LTE/5G networks. By combining this feature with VTOL drones, a disaster response team can fly drones for long distances, and conduct surveys and mapping of an affected area.
  • Role-based access to the system. Disaster response teams are multi-faceted and not all require the same level of access to the drones. A relief worker on the ground might require only video access compared to someone who is required to assess the entire situation for planning logistics.
  • A mixed fleet of drones. FlytNow is a hardware-agnostic platform i.e. it supports both off-the-shelf and custom drones based on PX4 and Ardupilot. In a disaster situation, different types of drones might be required. For example, delivery drones are heavy and can carry large packages. Whereas, drones meant for surveys are smaller in size and may even have fixed wings for long-distance flight.
  • Live video streaming and sharing. Video feeds from a swarm of drones flying over a disaster affected area can be streamed onto a single unified dashboard, which is ideal for command center operations.

FlytNow Enterprise


The Enterprise version includes FlytNow Business as well as customization and add-ons, for operations that need scalability and a high degree of automation. This edition includes an operating system, which is installed on a single-board computer (SBC) - the SBC is then attached to the flight controller of a drone. This configuration allows for add-ons and integration, some of them are as follows:

AI-based features:

  • Obstacle avoidance, also known as FlytCAS, allows a drone to fly over a complex environment. This feature is useful when a drone is flying over or near ruins which can throw unexpected obstacles.
  • Precision landing, also known as FlytDock, allows a drone to land precisely on a machine-generated visual tag. This feature can be used when a drone has to land on a specific location to make a delivery.
  • Object detection, also known as FlytAI, allows a drone to detect objects from its video feed. This feature can be used to detect moving objects or humans on the ground during a search and resume operation.


Support for third-party integrations: The FlytNow application supports integration with third-party applications. During a disaster scenario, it is important to accurately log the drone flights and to make sure the drones don’t interfere with other aircraft. There are service providers like DronelogBook for flight data recording and Airdata for airspace intelligence, which can be integrated with FlytNow easily.

Advanced geofence: For the safety of the drones and compliance with airspace norms, it is necessary to restrict the area of operation during any relief work. FlytNow supports polygon geofences for operators to work on complex geography.

Integration with ground-based hardware: FlytNow has native support for ground-based hardware like charging pads and Drone-in-a-Box systems. By using such hardware, a first-responder system can be set up where the launch and docking of a drone are fully automated. When disaster strikes, such systems can be activated for faster response and expedite the overall relief process.

Some Instances of FlytNow in Use


During the recent lockdown for COVID-19, India's first drone command center was established in Ahmedabad, by Dronelab, using FlytNow, which allowed local drone pilots to launch coordinated operations to monitor the streets for unlawful gathering.

One of our partners in Belgium, DR ONE, is using FlytNow for airport asset monitoring.

History was created in the city of Lillestrøm, Norway, when Droneverkstedet, one of our partners, conducted the very first remote drone construction site inspection using FlytNow over a 5G network.

Summary


In this blog, we discussed the usability of drones in disaster response and the problems they help solve. Then we reviewed the benefits of using drones for use cases in disaster situations. Finally, we ended on the note of how the FlytNow drone fleet management system enables disaster management teams to quickly deploy and manage drones for disaster relief.

Leverage the power of FlytNow to conduct remote public safety operations with capabilities of automation and AI. To experience FlytNow, sign up for our free trial for 28 days using this link: https://flytnow.com/pricing/

If you are interested in partnering with us, please visit https://flytnow.com/partner/.

Read more…

Drone-on-demand refers to a service that provides a drone solution for a specified time or perpetually to accomplish certain business objectives. Such services exist because we have reached a point where there is reliable, off-the-shelf hardware and software available to create enterprise-grade drone solutions.

Enterprises who avail such services see business value in the easy availability of aerial data at a reasonable price, which was not possible a few years ago. Apart from aerial intelligence, drone-based delivery is another segment that has seen a jump in demand in recent times.

Companies that operate drones have to abide by regulatory requirements, which include airspace norms that ensure security, safety, and privacy. While there remain challenges around technology (e.g. battery life, fail-safes), this commercial drone segment is quite lucrative; according to the market research firm, Markets-and-Markets, the drone services market is estimated to reach 63.6 billion dollars by 2025 at a CAGR of 55.9% from 2019 to 2020.

Use Cases for a Drone-on-Demand Service Provider


While these services are relatively new, and people are still discovering new ways to use them, there are immediate use cases where such services are yielding tremendous commercial benefits. Some of them are listed below.

Roof Inspection of private and commercial estates: Roof inspection is a popular application of drones because aerial inspections can do the job quickly, versus manual ones, at a lower cost. Drones also bring in a level of data sophistication in the entire inspection process. With technologies like thermal and 3D imaging, a drone combined with intelligent software can automatically detect things like water damage, insulation issues, structural damages, etc.

While a property owner/caretaker may not wish to own drones and find skilled pilots to operate them, services provided by drone-on-demand companies can be a practical and economical solution.

Aerial inspection of construction sites: Inspections are common at a construction site. But with a drone, a pilot can inspect the outer facades of such structures without the need of manpower and heavy equipment. Since operations like this require skilled pilots, specialized drones, and sophisticated software, a drone-on-demand service, customized for construction applications, can make a lot of business sense.

drone on demand for construction

Emergency Response: There are several drone solution providers that are specialized in emergency response projects. For example, a US-based company called Phirst Technologies, LLC has developed a drone-based first responder system called First iZ, using FlytBase’s technology, that integrates with the CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system which powers the 911 emergency services in Tyler, Texas, USA. This system allows emergency operators to dispatch drones from a unified dashboard to gather information on an emergency situation and pass on the information to human responders who can arrive later, better informed, and prepared.

Public Safety: Drones are extensively used in operations like search and rescue, crowd control, disaster assessment, etc. In an event, Airworks 2019, DJI had announced that drones saved the lives of 279 people. There are service providers who specialize in public safety operations.

drone on demand for public safety

Industrial inspection: Drones are an important tool in the energy and utility sectors. Drones are used for inspecting refineries and gas pipelines to detect damages such as corrosion and cracks. They are also flown over wind turbines to inspect the blades. Such activities require a fair amount of specialization in aerial navigation, which is why there are sector-focused service providers for such drone applications.

Live Video Streaming From Drones

Security and surveillance: There are numerous companies that provide turnkey, drone-based security solutions for some of the following use-cases:

  • Event surveillance
  • Crown monitoring
  • Intrusion detection
  • Border security


drone security operations

Drone delivery: The concept of using drones for last-mile delivery has been around for almost a decade. Since the technology involved is challenging, service providers in this space are highly specialized and tend to focus on a specific kind of package deliveries. For example, Zipline is a company that provides an autonomous drone solution for medical deliveries.

drone delivery operations infographics

Note: Download our comprehensive guide on how to set up a drone delivery operation using Flytnow.

How FlytNow Business/Enterprise Enables a Drone-on-Demand Service


A drone-on-demand service provider brings the hardware and software together to deliver a turnkey solution for a particular use case. FlyBase, an enterprise drone automation software company, offers FlytNow to such companies. FlytNow is a cloud-based video-streaming and fleet management solution that also provides edge-level intelligence to conduct a variety of drone operations.

How FlytNow works?


FlytNow is a cloud-based application that has a dashboard, which can be accessed from a web browser. A user can connect a drone with FlytNow either using our FlytOS mobile app or the SBC cloud connect software kit. Below is an illustration that explains the setup.

drone software

Note: we have the enterprise version that supports the integration of ground-based hardware as well.

There are two versions of FlytNow that are suitable for drone solution providers: Business and Enterprise.

FlytNow Business


The Business version is an out-of-the-box solution, with the following features:

Live video streaming from the drone to the FlytNow dashboard: Video can be streamed from multiple drones on a single screen with the ability to share them with anyone via an email. This feature is useful for commercial providers who offer services related to:

  • Remote roof inspection.
  • Construction site inspection (read our case study).
  • Surveillance.
  • Delivery.
  • Emergency and public safety.
  • Industrial inspections.


With FlytNow, a drone operator can fly a drone over a roof/construction site/inspection site and live-stream the video to stakeholders sitting hundreds of miles away. Similarly, during an emergency response or a delivery operation, live streaming can be used to gather situational information.

drone software for on demand services

Video archiving: FlytNow supports the integration with an Amazon S3 instance, which is used to store incoming video feeds. The videos are automatically stored, and the feature is useful in:

  • Surveillance.
  • All forms of inspection.
  • Emergency and public safety.


All archived videos can be accessed from the FlytNow dashboard with time and date stamps.

flytnow for drones

Thermal Camera Support: FlytNow supports streaming from a thermal camera. The feature is useful in:

  • Detecting water damage during a roof inspection.
  • Spotting structural damages during a construction site inspection.
  • Spotting leakages during refinery or pipeline inspections.
  • Intruder detection during night time.
  • Identify trapped/lost victims during search and rescue operations.


Learn how FlytNow can enhance night time surveillance.

drones for search and rescue

Map annotation: FlytNow dashboard has a built-in map that shows the real-time location of drones that are online. The map also supports adding a description in way-points. The feature can be used to record information during.

  • An inspection of a roof/building.
  • Pipeline/refinery/wind-turbine inspections, to record useful findings.
  • Surveillance.
  • Record situational information during an emergency mission.


Mission Planner: It is an advanced feature that allows an operator to define a route from point A to point B with waypoints for a drone to follow. This feature can be useful in:

  • Surveillance operations, where a drone can be made to go on a patrol on a predefined path.
  • Public safety and emergency operations, where a drone can be programmed to go to a location and monitor the situation.
  • Industrial inspections, where a drone can complete a pipeline inspection autonomously over a predefined path.
  • Defining a delivery route for drone delivery.


Support for custom drones: FlytNow supports enterprise DJI drones and custom drones based on PX4 and Ardupilot. Custom drones are required for specific tasks like delivery which requires long-range and heavy payload carrying capabilities. This means a service provider using FlytNow is not restricted to a particular drone hardware platform.

FlytNow Enterprise


The Enterprise version covers everything that the Business version has to offer, plus customized modules for large scale deployment of drones with extensive flight automation. These include:

AI-based features: FlytBase provides an operating system (FlytOS) that is installed in a single-board computer, which is fitted on a drone. This makes the drone capable of performing the following things under the Enterprise plan:

drone in a box solution

  • Precision landing: Allows the drone to land on a machine-generated tag.
  • Object detection: Allows the drone to classify ground objects using the on-board camera.
  • Obstacle avoidance: Allows the drone to navigate around obstacles automatically.
  • Custom payload integration: Allows remote operation of custom made payloads as well as payloads from DJI for Mavic 2 Enterprise.


Integration with ground-based hardware: The enterprise version comes with the option to integrate with various ground-based hardware like:

drone in a box

  • Charging pad: A platform that charges a drone when it lands on it. The Enterprise version can be easily integrated with charging pads from Skysense.
  • Drone-in-a-box hardware: A docking station that completely houses a drone and keeps it fully charged.


Integration with third-party software: The Enterprise version also supports integration with third-party applications for the following:

  • UTM Intelligence: It is required to acquire airspace information so the drone does not interfere with manned aircraft and complies with legal norms. FlytNow Enterprise has native support for Airmap.
  • Logging applications: Such applications capture the flight data for a drone. FlytNow Enterprise has native support for Dronelogbook.


Advanced flight planning: FlytNow Enterprise has features to precisely control drone flights and ensure the safety of drones around human populations. Some of those features are:

  • Advanced geofencing: Precisely defines the area of operation of a drone with the help of polygons.
  • Custom NFZ integration: It is the ability to define No-Fly-Zones for drones.
  • Advanced failsafes: It refers to the ELP (Emergency Landing Point) feature that allows a drone operator to define emergency landing points alongside a predefined route. ELPs come in handy when a drone in a BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) mission has to do an emergency landing.


The Enterprise version is ideal for service providers who are into making systems where drones can takeoff autonomously after receiving a command, automatically go to a location and perform their mission and come back safely after complete the mission. In a nutshell, it provides customization, automation, and scalability.

Summary


In this blog, we learned about drone-on-demand services and the use-cases they are relevant. We also learned about FlytNow Business and Enterprise editions, what each has to offer, and how each can enable drone service providers.

Deploy drones in 5 easy steps and leverage the power of FlytNow to create a network of drones for On-Demand-Drone services with capabilities of automation and AI.  To experience FlytNow, sign up for our free trial for 28 days using this link: https://flytnow.com/pricing/

If you are interested in partnering with us, please visit https://flytnow.com/partner/

Read more…

Drone-on-demand refers to a service that provides a drone solution for a specified time or perpetually to accomplish certain business objectives. Such services exist because we have reached a point where there is reliable, off-the-shelf hardware and software available to create enterprise-grade drone solutions.

Enterprises who avail such services see business value in the easy availability of aerial data at a reasonable price, which was not possible a few years ago. Apart from aerial intelligence, drone-based delivery is another segment that has seen a jump in demand in recent times.

Companies that operate drones have to abide by regulatory requirements, which include airspace norms that ensure security, safety, and privacy. While there remain challenges around technology (e.g. battery life, fail-safes), this commercial drone segment is quite lucrative; according to the market research firm, Markets-and-Markets, the drone services market is estimated to reach 63.6 billion dollars by 2025 at a CAGR of 55.9% from 2019 to 2020.

Use Cases for a Drone-on-Demand Service Provider


While these services are relatively new, and people are still discovering new ways to use them, there are immediate use cases where such services are yielding tremendous commercial benefits. Some of them are listed below.

Roof Inspection of private and commercial estates: Roof inspection is a popular application of drones because aerial inspections can do the job quickly, versus manual ones, at a lower cost. Drones also bring in a level of data sophistication in the entire inspection process. With technologies like thermal and 3D imaging, a drone combined with intelligent software can automatically detect things like water damage, insulation issues, structural damages, etc.

While a property owner/caretaker may not wish to own drones and find skilled pilots to operate them, services provided by drone-on-demand companies can be a practical and economical solution.

Aerial inspection of construction sites: Inspections are common at a construction site. But with a drone, a pilot can inspect the outer facades of such structures without the need of manpower and heavy equipment. Since operations like this require skilled pilots, specialized drones, and sophisticated software, a drone-on-demand service, customized for construction applications, can make a lot of business sense.

drone on demand for construction

Emergency Response: There are several drone solution providers that are specialized in emergency response projects. For example, a US-based company called Phirst Technologies, LLC has developed a drone-based first responder system called First iZ, using FlytBase’s technology, that integrates with the CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system which powers the 911 emergency services in Tyler, Texas, USA. This system allows emergency operators to dispatch drones from a unified dashboard to gather information on an emergency situation and pass on the information to human responders who can arrive later, better informed, and prepared.

Public Safety: Drones are extensively used in operations like search and rescue, crowd control, disaster assessment, etc. In an event, Airworks 2019, DJI had announced that drones saved the lives of 279 people. There are service providers who specialize in public safety operations.

drone on demand for public safety

Industrial inspection: Drones are an important tool in the energy and utility sectors. Drones are used for inspecting refineries and gas pipelines to detect damages such as corrosion and cracks. They are also flown over wind turbines to inspect the blades. Such activities require a fair amount of specialization in aerial navigation, which is why there are sector-focused service providers for such drone applications.

Live Video Streaming From Drones

Security and surveillance: There are numerous companies that provide turnkey, drone-based security solutions for some of the following use-cases:

  • Event surveillance
  • Crown monitoring
  • Intrusion detection
  • Border security


drone security operations

Drone delivery: The concept of using drones for last-mile delivery has been around for almost a decade. Since the technology involved is challenging, service providers in this space are highly specialized and tend to focus on a specific kind of package deliveries. For example, Zipline is a company that provides an autonomous drone solution for medical deliveries.

drone delivery operations infographics

Note: Download our comprehensive guide on how to set up a drone delivery operation using Flytnow.

How FlytNow Business/Enterprise Enables a Drone-on-Demand Service


A drone-on-demand service provider brings the hardware and software together to deliver a turnkey solution for a particular use case. FlyBase, an enterprise drone automation software company, offers FlytNow to such companies. FlytNow is a cloud-based video-streaming and fleet management solution that also provides edge-level intelligence to conduct a variety of drone operations.

How FlytNow works?


FlytNow is a cloud-based application that has a dashboard, which can be accessed from a web browser. A user can connect a drone with FlytNow either using our FlytOS mobile app or the SBC cloud connect software kit. Below is an illustration that explains the setup.

drone software

Note: we have the enterprise version that supports the integration of ground-based hardware as well.

There are two versions of FlytNow that are suitable for drone solution providers: Business and Enterprise.

FlytNow Business


The Business version is an out-of-the-box solution, with the following features:

Live video streaming from the drone to the FlytNow dashboard: Video can be streamed from multiple drones on a single screen with the ability to share them with anyone via an email. This feature is useful for commercial providers who offer services related to:

  • Remote roof inspection.
  • Construction site inspection (read our case study).
  • Surveillance.
  • Delivery.
  • Emergency and public safety.
  • Industrial inspections.


With FlytNow, a drone operator can fly a drone over a roof/construction site/inspection site and live-stream the video to stakeholders sitting hundreds of miles away. Similarly, during an emergency response or a delivery operation, live streaming can be used to gather situational information.

drone software for on demand services

Video archiving: FlytNow supports the integration with an Amazon S3 instance, which is used to store incoming video feeds. The videos are automatically stored, and the feature is useful in:

  • Surveillance.
  • All forms of inspection.
  • Emergency and public safety.


All archived videos can be accessed from the FlytNow dashboard with time and date stamps.

flytnow for drones

Thermal Camera Support: FlytNow supports streaming from a thermal camera. The feature is useful in:

  • Detecting water damage during a roof inspection.
  • Spotting structural damages during a construction site inspection.
  • Spotting leakages during refinery or pipeline inspections.
  • Intruder detection during night time.
  • Identify trapped/lost victims during search and rescue operations.


Learn how FlytNow can enhance night time surveillance.

drones for search and rescue

Map annotation: FlytNow dashboard has a built-in map that shows the real-time location of drones that are online. The map also supports adding a description in way-points. The feature can be used to record information during.

  • An inspection of a roof/building.
  • Pipeline/refinery/wind-turbine inspections, to record useful findings.
  • Surveillance.
  • Record situational information during an emergency mission.


Mission Planner: It is an advanced feature that allows an operator to define a route from point A to point B with waypoints for a drone to follow. This feature can be useful in:

  • Surveillance operations, where a drone can be made to go on a patrol on a predefined path.
  • Public safety and emergency operations, where a drone can be programmed to go to a location and monitor the situation.
  • Industrial inspections, where a drone can complete a pipeline inspection autonomously over a predefined path.
  • Defining a delivery route for drone delivery.


Support for custom drones: FlytNow supports enterprise DJI drones and custom drones based on PX4 and Ardupilot. Custom drones are required for specific tasks like delivery which requires long-range and heavy payload carrying capabilities. This means a service provider using FlytNow is not restricted to a particular drone hardware platform.

FlytNow Enterprise


The Enterprise version covers everything that the Business version has to offer, plus customized modules for large scale deployment of drones with extensive flight automation. These include:

AI-based features: FlytBase provides an operating system (FlytOS) that is installed in a single-board computer, which is fitted on a drone. This makes the drone capable of performing the following things under the Enterprise plan:

drone in a box solution

  • Precision landing: Allows the drone to land on a machine-generated tag.
  • Object detection: Allows the drone to classify ground objects using the on-board camera.
  • Obstacle avoidance: Allows the drone to navigate around obstacles automatically.
  • Custom payload integration: Allows remote operation of custom made payloads as well as payloads from DJI for Mavic 2 Enterprise.


Integration with ground-based hardware: The enterprise version comes with the option to integrate with various ground-based hardware like:

drone in a box

  • Charging pad: A platform that charges a drone when it lands on it. The Enterprise version can be easily integrated with charging pads from Skysense.
  • Drone-in-a-box hardware: A docking station that completely houses a drone and keeps it fully charged.


Integration with third-party software: The Enterprise version also supports integration with third-party applications for the following:

  • UTM Intelligence: It is required to acquire airspace information so the drone does not interfere with manned aircraft and complies with legal norms. FlytNow Enterprise has native support for Airmap.
  • Logging applications: Such applications capture the flight data for a drone. FlytNow Enterprise has native support for Dronelogbook.


Advanced flight planning: FlytNow Enterprise has features to precisely control drone flights and ensure the safety of drones around human populations. Some of those features are:

  • Advanced geofencing: Precisely defines the area of operation of a drone with the help of polygons.
  • Custom NFZ integration: It is the ability to define No-Fly-Zones for drones.
  • Advanced failsafes: It refers to the ELP (Emergency Landing Point) feature that allows a drone operator to define emergency landing points alongside a predefined route. ELPs come in handy when a drone in a BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) mission has to do an emergency landing.


The Enterprise version is ideal for service providers who are into making systems where drones can takeoff autonomously after receiving a command, automatically go to a location and perform their mission and come back safely after complete the mission. In a nutshell, it provides customization, automation, and scalability.

Summary


In this blog, we learned about drone-on-demand services and the use-cases they are relevant. We also learned about FlytNow Business and Enterprise editions, what each has to offer, and how each can enable drone service providers.

[vc_row type="in_container" full_screen_row_position="middle" column_margin="default" scene_position="center" text_color="dark" text_align="left" overlay_strength="0.3" shape_divider_position="bottom" bg_image_animation="none"][vc_column column_padding="no-extra-padding" column_padding_position="all" background_color_opacity="1" background_hover_color_opacity="1" column_link_target="_self" column_shadow="none" column_border_radius="none" width="1/1" tablet_width_inherit="default" tablet_text_alignment="default" phone_text_alignment="default" overlay_strength="0.3" column_border_width="none" column_border_style="solid" bg_image_animation="none"][vc_row_inner column_margin="default" text_align="left"][vc_column_inner column_padding="padding-5-percent" column_padding_position="all" background_color="#ffffff" background_color_opacity="1" background_hover_color_opacity="1" column_shadow="medium_depth" column_border_radius="5px" top_margin="10" bottom_margin="10" column_link_target="_self" width="1/1" tablet_width_inherit="default" overlay_strength="0.3" column_border_width="none" column_border_style="solid" bg_image_animation="none"][vc_custom_heading text="What's Next?" font_container="tag:h3|text_align:center" use_theme_fonts="yes" css=".vc_custom_1591346290188{padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;}"][vc_column_text]Deploy drones in 5 easy steps and leverage the power of FlytNow to create a network of drones for On-Demand-Drone services with capabilities of automation and AI.  To experience FlytNow, sign up for our free trial for 28 days using this link: https://flytnow.com/pricing/

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 Drone as a technology has come a long way, especially when it comes to adoption by state and local government agencies, and public safety officials. In the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, drones have proven to be quite an effective tool in the fight against COVID-19; especially in countries like China and India

We are witnessing a widespread adoption of drones across different use cases, and public safety is one such application that has yielded significant social and public health benefits. One such example is how drones saved the lives of 279 people, as shared by DJI at AirWorks2019. The total global number is, of course, orders of magnitude more, given the increasingly common use of drones for disaster monitoring, emergency response, search-and-rescue, etc. 

In the US, law enforcement agencies are rapidly adopting UAV technology for the following reasons:

  • Drones provide better accessibility to places that are dangerous for humans. 
  • Drones are ideal for capturing video evidence in the form of aerial footage, thus freeing up valuable manpower that can be deployed elsewhere. 
  • Drones are an effective tool in search and rescue operations since they can cover large swathes of land in relatively less time. 
  • Drones can provide real-time situational awareness in delicate incidents such as hostage situations.
  • Armed with different payloads and sensors, drones can keep an eye on groups of people involved in suspicious activities.

In a study conducted by Bard College, they concluded that 910 state and local law enforcement agencies across the USA have incorporated drones as part of their operations. It is safe to say that drones will play a growing role in public safety and emergency response.

 

Why Drones are the Perfect First Responders

Drones as first responders refer to the deployments of drone fleets that reach the site of emergency first, even before human responders. Drones are turning out to be perfect first responders for the following reasons:

  • They are fast, agile, and nimble and can reach a location quickly. By doing so they can provide critical, real-time support. Researchers at Tu Delft have come up with the concept of a drone ambulance where a drone carrying an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can fly to a person suffering from a cardiac arrest and provide time-critical medical support.  
  • Drones can aid human responders by going to an emergency situation first, assessing it, and sending information back, and based on which human responders can better prepare for the situation.

Understanding a Drone-based First Response System

A drone-based first responder system could be a standalone local system, or work as part of a bigger nationwide network. In either case, such a system would require the optimal combination of hardware and software, so that it can operate in an intelligent, reliable, and scalable manner. The below illustration provides an overview of such a system.
 
 
drone_public_safety_system.png
 
 

There are several components of such a system; the key ones are listed below:

Hardware

This primarily means drones that can be bought off-the-shelf or those that can be custom-built for specific purposes. Below are some specific drone models suitable for such operations:
 
 
drones_for_public_safety.png

Fleet Management Software

 
 

At the heart of a drone-based first response system is a cloud-connected solution like FlytNow, for the following reasons:

  • First-responder applications require the management of a fleet of drones.
  • Public safety use-cases may require autonomous drone flights in order to minimize the reliance on human pilots. 
  • Emergencies may happen in remote areas and hence require beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities.
  • Being an aircraft, each drone must respect airspace management rules and regulations so that there is no conflict with manned aircraft or other aerial vehicles.

Such capabilities are available in FlytNow, a robust drone automation platform that supports drone fleet management, BVLOS operations, and third-party integration with UTM service providers for airspace intelligence. FlytBase customers are already using FlytNow to power their first responder systems.  

A Texas, US company called Phirst Technologies has developed a solution called First iZ using FlytNow to deploy a fleet of drones via the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system that powers the 911 emergency services in the US. The system works by allowing a 911 operator to dispatch drones from a unified dashboard to gather situational awareness on an emergency situation, and thus assisting human responders before and after they arrive.

 

Onboard Software

 
 

This refers to the operating software that goes into a companion computer which is then integrated with the flight controller of a drone. The software acts as the brain and keeps the drone connected with the fleet management system at the base station. 

FlytNow Business/Enterprise comes with its own ‘edge level’ software (FlytOS) that provides the following capabilities:

  • BVLOS or EVLOS operations over 4G/LTE/5G networks.
  • Precision landing and hover features that can be used to land a drone on a charging pad (see FlytDock).
  • Collision avoidance, a critical feature in BVLOS flights (see FlytCAS).
  • Remote control of payload attachments and camera gimbal.
 

Drone-in-a-Box (DiaB) Hardware

 

A ‘drones as the first responder’ system requires the support of ground-based hardware like charging pads, launch systems, etc. The hardware is required to automate the launch of a drone and putting a drone to charging mode when it returns from a mission. FlytNow offers integration with third-party DiaB hardware from some of the following solution providers:

wiport.jpg

The integration capabilities of FlytNow combined with smart automation has enabled Phirst Technologies to deliver a public safety solution using drones (First iZ). One of the unique capabilities of the First iZ system is that it can send a drone to a location and capture the required data autonomously; this wouldn’t be possible without FlytNow’s support for ground-based hardware.

 

Airspace Intelligence

 
Security.png

BVLOS flights in remote, rural areas must be enabled by a first responder system. When conducting BVLOS drone flights, it is important that they don’t interfere with manned-aircrafts or break static, as well as dynamic, airspace norms. Such airspace intelligence is usually available from UTM service providers, whose solutions can be seamlessly integrated into FlytNow so that operators can conduct safe and legal flights. 

Note: Read about the partnership between FlytNow and Airmap.

 

Payloads

 

Depending on the situation, drones require specific payloads to get the job done. For example, in a search and rescue mission, a drone may use an IR sensor to locate the missing person. Such payloads and sensors can be remotely controlled via FlytNow, including:

  • IR Sensor: Commonly known as a thermal camera that captures infrared radiation. 
  • Loudspeakers: Useful in making announcements and riot control.  
  • Spotlights: An important attachment for search and rescue.
  • Beacons: Such devices are used to make a drone visible from the ground in low light.
 
 
dji_payloads.png

Advanced Failsafes

Despite rigorous flight tests, drones can sometimes fail from the sky, posing a threat not just to the drone but more so to the people and infrastructure below. This highlights the importance of fail-safes i.e. a set of actions to be automatically taken in the event of such an emergency. 

FlytNow offers out of the box failsafe features like RTH (Return to Home) and ELP (Emergency Landing Point).

 

How to Quickly Demo First Response System Using FlytNow Pro

 

FlytNow Pro is a lighter version in terms of features compared to our business and enterprise versions. But it is perfect for someone who is looking for a solution to quickly validate a first response system using drones. After a successful POC, he/she can upgrade to our business or enterprise version for the full-fledged implementation.

 

How to get started with FlytNow.

 

Step-1: As someone who is looking for a solution for a quick PoC. You need to first sign up for our 28 days free trial from https://app.flytnow.com/

 

Step-2: Once you are done with your account setup and email verification. Add your drones by following our Get Started guide. 

Step-3: This is an optional step. If you don’t have real drones then you can use our virtual drone. Your FlytBase free account comes with one free virtual drone that you can add by following this guide

Step-4:  A mission is a set of instructions that tells a drone where to go and how to go. In the context of a first response system, the feature can be used to tell a drone to visit a location and investigate why there’s an emergency. Go to the MISSION tab from the dashboard and click on Add Mission.

 
 
flytnow_mission_planning.jpg
 

Give a name to your mission and click on Add Waypoint. By using the drop pins you can create a route to any location. While defining a route you can limit the speed and altitude. 

When creating a route, you can also define a finish action that tells a drone what to do when reaching a location. Currently, there are three options in the system:

  • Hover
  • Land
  • Return to Home
 
 
flytnow_waypoints.jpg
 

Step-5: Set up a geofence, which defines a drone’s area of operation. In FlytNow Pro, a geofence is a circular region within which a drone can fly. A first response system is more likely to function within a specific region and a geofence is a perfect feature to define that region. Follow this guide to create a geofence.

Note: A drone cannot fly beyond its defined geofence. In the enterprise version, polygon geofence is supported. 

Step-6:  Create Pre-flight Checklist items. FlytNow comes with a list of items that you have to check before executing a mission. The checklist serves to remind you of the important things that you have to keep in mind before sending a drone out for a mission.  You can add items to the checklist by going to the CHECKLIST tab -> Add to Checklist.

 
 
flytnow_dahboard.jpg
 

Step-7: Enable video live streaming. When a drone is out on a mission,  you can stream the live video from the drone and even share it via email. This feature is critical in the context of First Response because when a drone reaches a location, you can assess the situation from the live video feed sent by the drone. FlytNow also supports the streaming of video from multiple drones on a single dashboard. Refer to this guide to use video live streaming.

Initiating a First Response Mission

 
 

This is how you will demonstrate your system. Consider a situation, where you have received an emergency alert and you have to send a drone. To execute a drone flight you will follow the following steps:

Step-1: Create a mission for a drone so it can reach that location. 

Step-2: Select a drone and click on the launch button.

 
 
launch_a_drone.jpg
 

Step-3: Select the mission that you just created.

 
 
public_safety-select_mission.jpg

Step-4: The system will present you with a pre-flight checklist; mark all of them as complete and Execute the mission.

 
 
public-safety-mission_executed.jpg

FlytNow Business/Enterprise - A Complete Solution for First Response System

 
 

The above demonstration gives a quick, cost-effective option to prove, conceptually, a first response system, using FlytNow. Once the PoC is successful, users can transition either to the business version or the enterprise version that provides additional features, such as: 

  • Team management & administration. 
  • Support for polygon geofence.
  • Precision landing so that drones can land on charging pads automatically. 
  • Localization of language based on a user’s region. 
  • Thermal camera integration. 
  • Supports DJI M2E payloads. 
  • Mission log.
  • Support for custom build drones based on PX4 and Ardupilot. 
  • Integration with third-party UTM services providers, for BVLOS and EVLOS flights. 
  • Support for thermal cameras and remote gimbal control for visual data in low light situations.

FlytNow business is an out-of-the-box solution for public safety operations. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Indian police officials in the state of Gujarat flew drones to monitor the streets of Ahmedabad (an Indian city) for unlawful gathering with support from a local startup (Dronelab). Dronelab worked with the government officials to establish a drone command center using FlytNow, which allowed public safety officials to centrally access the video feed of all the drones flying over the city. Drone pilots who wanted to volunteer used the FlytOS mobile app to connect his/her drone to the FlytNow dashboard that was being used at the command center. Read the complete case study

Both the versions include the support for our cloud connect kit that can be loaded in a companion computer, which in turn can be integrated with the flight controller of DJI enterprise drones and custom drones based on PX4 and Ardupilot. The companion computer coupled with our onboard software enables a drone to connect with FlytNow over 4G/LTE/5G networks. The enterprise version also provides support for DiaB (Drone in a box) hardware which generally includes a charging pad. A drone can land on a DiaB box using its precision landing feature.

 
 
diab_hardware.png

What's Next?

Leverage the power of FlytNow to conduct remote public safety operations with capabilities of automation and AI. Get started by signing up FlytNow for free.

If you are interested in partnering with us, please visit https://flytnow.com/partner/.

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FlytBase, Inc. flagship product FlytNow is a cloud-based drone video streaming & fleet management solution, which provides a web-based portal to manage live drone operations remotely over 4G/LTE/5G. FlytNow provides live HD video feed, drone & camera gimbal control, and telemetry at ultra-low latency over the internet.

To empower users with the ability to use drones from a variety of manufacturers, FlytBase has now launched a Companion Computer (SBC) based Cloud Connect Software Module for the FlytNow platform. The software module supports custom drones using the firmware PX4 and Ardupilot, and popular autopilots like Pixhawk, Cubepilot, mRo X2.1 (a reduced version of Pixhawk1), Pixhawk4, Pixhawk5, etc. It also supports enterprise DJI drones like  DJI M210, M210 RTK, M300 RTK, M600, etc. and flight DJI controllers: A3 and N3. 

Role of custom drones

Custom drones built for a particular use-case provide better capabilities and efficiency compared to standard off-the-shelf drones. For example, in delivery operations, drones are required to fly long distances and carry heavy payloads; custom VTOL drones can fulfill such requirements. Similarly, for security, public safety, and emergency operations, drones that can carry specialize payload (thermal camera, loudspeaker, beacons, etc) and can transmit data securely are better suited, which can be achieved through a custom-built.  

How the PX4/Ardupilot Cloud Connect Module Works?

The cloud-connect module is a software solution to connect Pixhawk & CubePilot based Drones with FlytNow Business and FlytNow Enterprise.

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Users can install the software on a companion computer of their choice (Jetson Nano, Jetson Xavier NX, Raspberry Pi 3b+/4 Odroid N2, DJI Manifold 2) and then connect the companion computer (SBC) directly to a drone’s flight controller. Once integrated, the drone can directly connect with FlytNow Business/Enterprise over 4G/LTE/5G/WiFi network through USB/Ethernet dongle or router on the companion computer. 

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Why Connect to FlytNow Business/Enterprise Edition?

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Connecting a drone with FlytNow using an SBC allows a user to perform remote drone operations with the drone fleet. It also enables EVLOS or BVLOS (might require regulatory clearance) flights, thus opening up business opportunities in security & surveillance, drone delivery, mapping & surveys, public safety, emergency response, inspections, etc.

“FlytNow compatibility with PX4, Ardupilot, and DJI drones allows system integrators, commercial drone operators, and subject matter experts to use a hybrid fleet of drones better suited to their requirements. 
Subject matter experts or operation heads can now see live HD video feed, telemetry at the back office as the drone operation commences on the field. This adds a lot of value for drone teams and leads to better management, ultimately saving time & cost.” - Achal Negi, Head of Business Development at FlytBase.

The FlytNow Business Edition provides out-of-the-box capabilities for operators involved in security, surveillance, public safety & emergency response. Whereas, the Enterprise version provides customization and end-to-end automation to scale drone operations with a large fleet for use-cases such as drone delivery, automated surveys, inspections, and monitoring.

Stakeholders that use the FlytNow Business/Enterprise for drone operations can:

 

  • Connect, control, and live stream videos from drones over 4G/LTE/5G network.
  • Connect multiple drones and control them from a single web-based dashboard. 
  • Live-stream multiple video-feeds and share them with third parties via email.
  • Connect to a private cloud for video archiving. 
  • Initiate advanced failsafes like RTH (Return to Home) to automatically make a drone return base and ELP (Emergency Landing Point), available only in the Enterprise version, which allows a drone to land on a predefined point along a route in case of an emergency.
  • Integrate with third-party airspace information service providers like Airmap (an Enterprise feature). This feature is crucial for BVLOS and EVLOS flights. 
  • Create advanced geofence using polygons in the Enterprise version. 
  • Integrate precision landing and collision avoidance capabilities (only in Enterprise version)

How do I get started?

  1. To get started with FlytNow, sign up for a 28-day free trial at https://app.flytnow.com

  2. To connect your Pixhawk/Cubepilot drone choose the supported drone hardware and install the software following the documentation given at https://docs.flytbase.com

  3. Cloud connect software module and license can be purchased at https://store.flytbase.com/product/flytnow-bvlos-kit/

Have questions about FlytNow Pro/Business/Enterprise and supported hardware?
Schedule a 30-min free consultation with FlytNow expert -- drop a message at
https://flytnow.com/contact

You may also join FlytNow user community on Facebook, LinkedIn, and FlytForums (forums.flytnow.com)

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Powered by sophisticated computer-vision algorithms, FlytDock allows you to precisely manoeuvre the drone to land on a charging pad or a docking station.

Coupled with Skysense's outdoor charging pad, FlytDock can be seamlessly integrated for complete autonomous missions and used across multiple verticals such as security, surveillance, emergency response, and delivery.

Learn More about FlytDock: http://flytbase.com/flytdock/

Want to deploy drones right away for automated remote inspection? Visit: https://flytnow.com

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FlytBase, Inc. announces the launch of a Preferred Partner Program designed exclusively for drone system integrators, solution providers and drone hardware OEMs. With the mission of helping enterprises automate and scale their drone operations, FlytNow has successfully matured into a commercial-grade solution for managing remote, autonomous drone flights in real-time.
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drone delivery solutionCommercial drones are now becoming a mainstream technology, with the 2020 pandemic serving as a showcase for how drones can save human lives.

Drones have been used for delivery long before Amazon announced its Prime Air service. Founded in 2011, Zipline, a US-based company focused on medical drone deliveries became the pioneer in long-distance drone delivery, with distribution centers in Rwanda and Ghana. With an exponential growth since then, Zipline now delivers 65% of blood samples in Rwanda, particularly because the country lacks suitable road connectivity.

Companies like Zipline are investing heavily not only in better drone hardware but also in remote operations software, so they can intelligently & centrally manage a large fleet of drones.

How Does Drone Delivery Work?

Drone delivery refers to the act of moving a package from point A to B using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Such UAVs are either autonomous or remotely controlled by human pilots.

 

The infrastructure that powers drone delivery operations requires seamless integration between reliable drone hardware and robust software that can enable EVLOS/BVLOS Operations. The components of such systems include:

Drone Hardware

Drones that are capable of carrying heavy payloads; for example:

drone for delivery solution

Links to above-mentioned drone specs:

Companies like Zipline, Wing, etc., have their own fleet of drones specifically designed and developed to suit their specific delivery needs.

Note:

  • The above specifications are as given on the DJI and Foxtech website.
  • FlytNow is compatible with all DJI, Ardupilot, and PX4 based drones and provides software modules for EVLOS/BVLOS operation over 4G/LTE, 5G, Long-range RF.

Drone Fleet Management Software

drone delivery app

Drone delivery requires an advanced fleet management software like FlytNow that helps plan & execute long-range EVLOS/BVLOS flights with live tracking and drone control over 4G/LTE/5G.

FlytNow Delivery is a cloud-based offering that can be used for package delivery operations. Delivery businesses can use off-the-shelf or custom drones to quickly set up a delivery system in their geography. FlytNow solution cuts the deployment time to a few days and gives a unified web-based dashboard to control and manage every aspect of a drone delivery operation. FlytNow Delivery Offers:

  • Operator Dashboard - Centralized web-interface to manage all logistics operations
  • Dispatcher Dashboards - Web interface for store-fronts/medical centers to create delivery requests and live tracking.
  • Recipient Dashboard - Web and mobile interface to live track drone location and delivery status

Onboard Drone Software:

A drone equipped with intelligent onboard software make this kind of operation autonomous and safe. With the integration of FlytOS intelligent modules and sensors with onboard SBC (Nvidia Jetson Nano, DJI Manifold 2, Raspberry Pi 3B+/4), drones can do:

  • Autonomous Precision Landing or Hover (see FlytDock)
  • Collision Avoidance (see FlytCAS)
  • Electro-mechanical gripper control for package pick and drop
  • Electro-mechanical pulley control for releasing a package from a height.

Drone-in-a-Box (DiaB) Hardware:

For operations to be autonomous and efficient -- physical, on-ground components such as a docking station, charging pad, launching systems, etc. are required. With FlytNow DiaB integration enables remote control & telemetry in the same delivery interface. Our enterprise solution also offers integration with DiaB APIs. Below are a few DiaB and charging pad solutions for reference:

UTM Integration:

Airspace intelligence and management is a critical enabler for scalable, safe, beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) or extended-visual-line-of-sight (EVLOS) enterprise drone programs. Such integration with a UTM engine or national airspace services can augment sense-and-avoid capabilities with regards to airspace, flying advisories, and weather information for optimal path planning while avoiding no-fly zones and manned aircraft. Some leading UTM and providers are:

  • Airmap
  • Attitude Angel
  • Unifly
  • Airpalette
  • DigitalSky (for India)

Learn about the FlytBase partnership with AirMap here

FlytNow can be integrated with any 3rd party private or government UTM API services.

Advanced Fail-safes:

Whether you are flying in rural or suburban areas, the safety of people on the ground and expensive drone equipment is of utmost importance. Emergency situations like flight system failure, bad weather conditions, or immediate advisory from the local aviation authorities may happen anytime.

In addition to standard drone fail-safes (RTH, Geofence, etc.), FlytNow provides Emergency Landing Point (ELP) Failsafes. ELP Failsafes allow you to define landing points along your delivery route and land the drone on the nearest ELP when a situation arises.

FlytNow also provides advanced geofence features to draw a polygon on a map along the delivery route to restrict drones from going outside the designated area.

In unavoidable situations, a safety parachute on the drone can avoid accidents. Here are some of the brands which offer drone safety parachutes:

  • Indemis
  • ParaZero
  • VectorSave

Use FlytNow to Quickly Demo Your Drone Delivery Operation

FlytNow Pro is a cloud-based SaaS solution, well suited to help drone operators and service providers quickly set up a PoC (proof-of-concept) delivery system to validate a proposed delivery plan or to manage customer demos.

If you are someone who is looking to quickly validate a delivery idea then FlytNow Pro is a good starting point. As more requirements get identified, customers can then migrate to FlytNow Enterprise for Drone Delivery, which offers an end-to-end software suite with advanced capabilities and priority support.

Getting Started with FlytNow Pro for Drone Delivery PoC

Step 1: Sign up for a 28 days free FlytNow Pro account.

First signup to our free 28 days trial by visiting: https://my.flytbase.com/accounts/signup/?next=https://app.flytnow.com

Open your email and verify it before you can access the dashboard. Login to your account using your credentials.

On the dashboard, you can add drones, create a flight mission, set up a pre-flight checklist, and define a geofence.

drone delivery operations

In the above screenshot, We have already added our drones and two of them are online. In your case, you have to add the drones. Follow our getting started guide to add your DJI drones.

Do not have a drone? Try FlytNow Pro with Virtual Drone. Follow Step 2

(Optional) Step 2: Adding a virtual drone.

Your free trial account supports up to five drones. In case you don’t have a drone, you can also add a virtual drone, you can add one virtual drone. For a virtual drone, you need to set up your FlytBase cloud APIs. Please follow this guide.

drone delivery software

Once granted access to the cloud, you can use your virtual drone’s vehicle ID and token to add it to the FlytNow dashboard.

Step 3: Creating a Mission Plan.

A mission plan lets you add a route for your drone. Considering you are testing a medical delivery system, you use the mission plan to define routes to all the medical centers you want to make deliveries.

To add a mission plan, click on Mission -> Add Mission. Give a name to your mission and click on Add Waypoints to begin defining your route. Clicking on the map will place a pin; this way you can place multiple pins.

drone delivery software solution

In the above screenshot, we have defined a mission that tells a drone how to go to Palo Alto Health Care. Apart from defining a route, you can set the flight speed and a Finish Action. The Finish Action tells a drone what to do once it reaches the destination; you can set the following actions.

  • Hover
  • Land
  • Return to Home

In our case, we have selected Return to Home that signifies that the drone will drop the payload and return to base.

Please note that FlytNow Pro offers limited features for mission planning. Advanced features are available in FlytNow Enterprise for Delivery.

Step 4: Creating a pre-flight checklist.

This feature allows you to create a pre-flight checklist. In the case of a delivery operation, a checklist will ensure that a drone is configured properly before it is sent out on a mission.

To create a checklist, click on CHECKLIST and then Add to Checklist to add a checklist item. While adding a checklist item, you can also add a description.

delivery drone software

software solution for drone delivery operations

We have created a checklist suited for drone delivery operations. You can create your own checklist.

Step 5: Setting up a geofence

A geofence allows you to set up a boundary for your operations. Once you set a boundary, FlytNow will not allow your drones to fly beyond the boundary.

You can set up a geofence by:

  • Going to the GEOFENCE section in the FlytNow dashboard where you should be able to see your drones as a list.
  • Click on the edit option available in front of your drone name.
  • Enable the Geofence radius by clicking on the button.
  • Set the Geofence Values as per your safety requirements, i.e Height, and Radius.
  • The Height is restricted to 500 meters and radius is restricted to 8000 meters.
  • Click on the Save button after entering the values.

The following image shows you how your dashboard will look after geofence is set successfully.

A geofence has two circles. The area between the circles is called a warning zone. Whenever a drone crosses the first circle, the system gives out a warning, but it will not let the drone go beyond the second circle.

While planning a mission, you can’t put a waypoint beyond the first circle.

Step 6: Turn on Live video feed (feature works with a real drone only).

You can access the video feed of a drone from the dashboard. This feature is useful when a drone is out for delivery. This way you can visually assess a flight mission.

Select a drone under the FLY tab. Now you can see the video feed on the top right corner.

You can also enable the multi-cam mode (refer to the above picture) that will allow you to view the video feed from all drones on a single screen.

multi camera for delivery

Step 7: Share live drone location and video feed with a third party (feature works with a real drone only).

You can share live drone locations and video streams with anyone outside the FlytNow platform. This feature is useful especially when you want to share tracking information with a recipient which might include live video feed from the drone.

To initiate sharing click on the share button on the video panel

In the next dialog box click on Create new link.

Enter the email address of the person to whom you want to share the video.

Select the drones and your preferred options. You get the option to share both the map and the video.

The person with whom you have shared the live feed gets an email with a secure PIN. Tell him/her to click on View Operation and enter the secure PIN to start the live streaming.

Initiating a Drone Delivery

Once you are done with the basic setup, it is time to launch your first delivery mission. Consider a situation where you have received a delivery request from a nearby medical center, and you are about to initiate a launch.

Step 1: Launching a drone and selecting a mission.

Under the FLY tab select a drone (has to be online) and click on the launch icon in the bottom right corner.

You will be asked to select a flight mode. Select Mission. In the next window, you will see all your missions. Select a mission and click on start.

Step 2: Completing the pre-flight checklist and executing the mission.

Next, you have to complete the pre-flight checklist.

Once you are done with the checklist, hit Execute to begin your delivery.

What’s the Next Step?

FlytNow Enterprise a Perfect Solution for Large Scale Drone Delivery Operations

We have been talking about FlytNow Pro which has limited features but ideal for validating an idea or doing a POC. Once you are done with the validation stage, it’s time to move to FlytNow Enterprise.

FlytNow Enterprise is a fully-featured comprehensive drone automation solution designed for large scale drone deployment. The solution is fully customizable and can be used in a variety of use cases, and drone delivery is one of them.

Here are some exclusive features of FlytNow Enterprise:

  • Add and manage multiple drones, operators, and clients.
  • Assign a drone to a delivery request.
  • Generate automatic, unlimited flight plan (straight line) from drone location to the delivery location, edit if required.
  • Control the gimbal, manually trigger RTH, and land for emergency situations.
  • Recording of video streams.
  • Set an advanced geofence - support of polygon geofence.
  • Integrate with third-party services like DroneLogbook and UTM like Airmap.
  • Integrate with Drone-in-a-box or charging pad like Skysense, WiBotic, Airscort.

For enterprise drones (DJI, PX4, Ardupilot), FlytNow provides SBC, with the FlytOS installed, for direct integration to make BVLOS flight possible over 4G/LTE/5G network. We also provide accessories and landing tag design for precision landing over charging pads.

drone in a box for security

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Schedule a 30-min free consultation with our expert to learn more about the FlytNow Drone Delivery Software Solution, contact us at https://flytnow.com/contact/

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Drone technology has witnessed a rapid maturity curve - with regards to not only hardware and software technology but also the use cases across industries and sectors. Consumer drones have gone past the typical use in film production and recreational uses. These prosumer off-the-shelf drones are now solving complex business problems - for example, in logistics, drones are being deployed to do last-mile delivery, managing inventory, and conducting security patrols.

In this blog, we will specifically focus on thermal imaging drones and the related use cases. Let’s start with an introduction to thermal imaging, understand how it works and how it might be used, via different drones and cameras, for commercial applications.

Need for Thermal Imaging

The ability to let people visualize what their eyes cannot, have led to the popularity of thermal cameras for conducting inspections and patrols. Owing to the invisible heat radiations emitted or reflected by all objects, such cameras record and produce an image of any object having a temperature above zero without the need for visible light. The hotter the object, the brighter it will appear in the thermal image (you can choose the color pallet accordingly).

Such differences in temperature of the objects under observation are then represented in different colors. Generally, blue shades are used to represent colder objects, while red shades are used to represent hotter ones.

night vision droneThermal imaging has therefore been known to offer superior protection in demanding conditions. Some of the prime benefits include:

  • Ability to remove blind spots
  • Capture data in low-light or at night time
  • Examine inaccessible areas
  • Ability to see-through camouflaging foliage

Recommended Thermal Cameras for Drones

Drones with thermal cameras have resulted in unparalleled flexibility for many businesses that require constant protection against potential intruders. Adding a thermal camera as a payload, allows operators to view thermograms in real-time, with the ability to immediately identify objects from the radiation emitted.

Some of the key factors to take into consideration while choosing an appropriate payload aligned for business include:

  1. Is the camera radiometric or non-radiometric?
    • A radiometric camera provides a temperature reading along with the thermal image.
  2. Does the camera come with a gimbal or a fixed mount?
    • A camera with a gimbal offers greater control to the operator over the camera movement.

Here are some recommended payloads:

flir drone camera

Popular Drones used for Thermal Imaging

Apart from having a fast turn-around time, drones are pocket-friendly as compared to installing thermographic cameras at several locations in the property with a higher possibility of blind spots. Some of the cost-effective drones that could quickly cover the entire facility and be used 24x7 for monitoring include:

Use Cases of Thermal Imaging Drones

Aerial imagery is the primary application of commercial drones; with a thermographic camera, drones can further add value for various enterprise applications.

thermal imaging camera for drone

More recently, during the outbreak of COVID-19, thermal cameras were widely used by the public safety authorities in many countries to detect infected people by checking body temperatures. Thermal drones were also used to identify people defying lockdown rules or social distancing guidelines imposed by many countries especially at night.

Why use FlytNow for Automated Night Surveillance

FlytNow Enterprise for Security and Surveillance enables drone operators, service providers, and enterprises to remotely operate a fleet of thermal drones.

An ideal solution due to the following capabilities:

  1. FlytNow provides geofencing and intelligent waypoint design that a security service provider can use to schedule patrols. The geofencing feature creates a virtual boundary for your drones. The platform allows the creation of unlimited flight plans and streaming of live telemetry to further aid such operations. drone automation
  2. The cloud-based platform provides live, low-latency streaming of thermal video from multiple drones on a single dashboard, which can be used to inspect a structure or situation from multiple angles and viewpoints.infrared drone
    An operator can remotely control the camera gimbal of drones connected to the FlytNow system, and thus effectively track different objects on the ground. With the AI detection feature, FlytNow allows the auto-identification of objects and humans.night vision drone
  3. With FlytNow, one can share a live video feed with anyone using an URL, including the map view. This way, a FlytNow user can share his screen with someone who doesn’t use the platform.
  4. FlytNow provides integration with Airmap and DroneLogbook so users can scale their BVLOS flights.
  5. FlytNow integrates with Skysense charging pads so users can completely automate the launch, operate, and docking cycle of a drone. It also supports precision landing so drones can land on charging pads.

Here is an illustration of what drones with thermal imaging working at scale might look like.

drone with thermal camera

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To get started with FlytNow visit: https://flytnow.com/getting-started-with-FlytNow/

or contact us at https://flytnow.com/contact

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Observational surveillance systems rely on the capabilities of the cameras employed, but the main limiting factor is the stationary nature of the cameras in a traditional surveillance system. Now, surveillance can be achieved utilizing drones; it can be not only cost-effective but also accomplish the desired outcome more safely, efficiently and at a much larger scale. Security drones present a quicker, more economical method of aerial information collection.

Drone operations for the purpose of surveillance and security can now be automated using the FlytNow solution from FlytBase.

Benefits of Using Drones for Surveillance

Here are some of the benefits of using drones for surveillance.

  • Security drones can reach confined and narrow spaces. They can be outfitted with detectors and night vision cameras, giving them a superior vision that can detect things that a human eye cannot.

Use Cases for Surveillance Drones

Intruder Detection

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A drone security system can be deployed for home security or monitoring commercial properties. They can relay live video footage, eliminate blind spots both during the day and nighttime — and follow and track trespassers and intruders, thus reducing the chance of theft.

Traffic Management

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Drone surveillance can aid in real-time traffic control. They can improve situational awareness during accidents. Drones can employ analytics in traffic management that includes automatic vehicle count recognition, license plate identification, and tracking vehicular activities for improved safety and security.

Wildlife Protection

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Forest officials face a constant threat of poachers hunting. Drones outfitted with thermal devices can replace stationary IR systems that are costly and not as effective. Surveillance drones have a fast turnaround time; they can be deployed on-demand and controlled from a base station.

Safeguarding Perimeters

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Commercial and residential properties usually have pre-defined boundaries. Surveillance drones can track a target area from a safe distance with live updates of possible threats present at/inside the perimeter. Surveillance drones can operate even at night time with the help of IR sensors, thus avoiding harm to security guards and serving as ‘eyes in the sky’.

Crowd Management


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The government can track large scale events and execute complex analytics like head-count evaluation, riot detection, and identification of law-breakers. Drones armed with speakers and beacons may be used for crowd control.

Protecting Borders

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Surveillance drones can be used to monitor insecure border operations and dangerous zones. They can give live video feeds to security officials and other stakeholders, thus enabling them to make strategic decisions from safety.

FlytNow Enables Surveillance with Drones

FlytNow is a cloud-based, remote drone operations software that can be used to manage a fleet of drones from a single, user-friendly dashboard. The platform has intelligent features like geofencing, flight path design, precision landing, autonomous charging, collision avoidance, etc. that can be used for automating surveillance activities with drones.

The FlytNow dashboard is the command center from where operators can control multiple drones, which in turn are connected via 4G/LTE/5G. Users can stream live videos from the entire fleet of drones on a single dashboard, and can easily switch between map mode or video mode.


The FlytNow solution also integrates with the Drone-in-a-Box technology allowing enterprise users to completely automate the flight, patrol and docking cycle of a drone.

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How can drones be easily, quickly adopted for security use-cases?

FlytBase offers a 28-day free trial for users to explore FlytNow Pro edition and its relevance to specific use-cases for security stakeholders. Customers can add their drone fleets, fly them autonomously, create flight plans & coordinate missions, set geo-fence and checklists, view and store live video footage and integrate drone operations into an existing system.

To get started with FlytNow visit: https://flytnow.com/getting-started-with-flytnow/

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In the wake of the recent COVID-19 outbreak which has affected almost every nation, government organizations and law-enforcement agencies are in search of an effective solution to fight this pandemic with minimal human interaction.

Drones seem to be an appropriate solution to tackle this menace. Apart from the transportation of emergency medical & pharmaceutical supplies, health-kits and blood samples, these unmanned aerial vehicles can effectively aid authorities in administering a state of lockdown.

A report in South China Morning Post says, the Chinese government “has adapted and co-opted industrial drones to help ensure that an estimated 50 million residents are kept at home and indoors across a dozen cities.” A fleet of drones is estimated to replace the surveillance capacity and enforcement duties of more than 100 policemen operating in dozens of patrol vehicles across a 10 square kilometer radius.

3 ways in which Drones can help manage lockdowns

While the need for social distancing and self-quarantining has already been enforced by most of the local and national government bodies in the form of curfews or lockdowns, there lies a constant necessity to monitor public spaces, in order to make sure that people are at all times following the state-mandated orders.

Equipped with thermal sensors, HD zoom lenses, loudspeakers, beacons, and disinfectant spray jets, drones are playing a crucial role in arresting the spread of the deadly virus.

1. Remote Aerial Patrolling

Remote Aerial Patrolling

As a response to the current public health crisis, drones powered with FlytNow can send ultra-low latency (<1 second) live-video feed over 4G/5G/LTE network to a cloud-based remotely operated COVID-19 command control center. The captured video streams can be further shared with stakeholders and decision-makers located anywhere across the world, to help monitor the overall social situation and take measures to control the crowd and maintain public safety.

Police authorities can autonomously capture data for a predefined/geofenced area of interest, or send the drone to specific GPS coordinates – on-demand during emergency situations. They can also combine and manage a fleet of drones with a variety of payloads, battery endurance, and capabilities. To operate 24×7, thermal camera scans can be integrated for night-time surveillance to detect a breach of lockdown protocols.

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Drones equipped with high-definition cameras for a wide field of view, can monitor a large area including narrow roads and by-lanes and take appropriate action to curb overcrowding at several locations.

Taking advantage of the FlytDock precision-landing module, with centimeter-level accuracy, drones can be safely landed on any designated spot or even a moving vehicle, significantly reducing the risk of emergency personnel being infected by the pathogen.

Why use FlytNow:

  • Live HD video-feed at the remote station over 4G/LTE
  • Cover large area or city with fleet of drones
  • Remote gimbal control to pan/tilt drone camera to look around
  • Sharing live video feed with across police stations
  • Thermal camera integration for night surveillance
  • Automated patrol on regular intervals

2. Remote Crowd Management

Crowd Management using Drones

Public authorities using FlytNow can use drones to monitor a large area for unauthorized human gathering, since human contact is the primary way in which the coronavirus is spreading.

Built-in features like geofencing, autonomous flight, and automatic movement detection, can help authorities to catch offenders during a routine autonomous FlytNow patrol with minimum human involvement. This will allow for easy control and management of a large area with a small number of drone operators.

Fitted with loudspeakers, drones can be deployed to issue advisories, share key information, warn the public against breaching restrictions or broadcast lockdown rules and regulations, to effectively monitor and calm a panic-stricken crowd.

Drone can be the first responders in the event of an emergency like a riot, and can de-escalate the situation using onboard attachments like a siren or remotely controlled non-lethal weapon. Both the drone and its attachment can be controlled from the FlytNow dashboard. Since FlytNow supports most major drone hardware platforms, authorities can use different kinds of drones based on the situation; for example, a combination of both heavy and light drones can be used.

Why use FlytNow:

  • Live video feed from drones at the operation center for remote monitoring.
  • Automatic movement detection
  • People and vehicle counting using AI.
  • Integration with loudspeakers or sirens to monitor the crowd.

3. Remote Public Announcements

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In a lockdown situation where the communication channels also have been shut down, drones can be used to make important announcements in an area.

Using FlytNow, authorities can dispatch a fleet of drones, which will follow a predefined path, carrying a public address system. With a message played on a loop, a fleet of drones can cover a large area compared to traditional vehicles.

Why use FlytNow:

  • Broadcast audio message to a fleet of drones equipped with a loudspeaker
  • Automated flights on a regular interval
  • Remotely transmit a message to lockdown offenders
  • Cover large area with a fleet of drones

Drones in Action Around the World for COVID-19

Drones are already in action and law enforcement officials, across the world, are already using it. In Bengaluru, India, police are using drones to catch offenders who are disobeying the lockdown.

France has also deployed drones to enforce their lockdown. Police are running aerial patrols in the streets of Nice and warning the residents not to venture out of their homes.

China has gone a step further; they have deployed heavy drones equipped with special attachments to disinfect large swathes of lands by spraying chemicals in the air.

Conclusion

Drones are already at the forefront of the worldwide battle against COVID-19. At FlytNow, we want to support public health and safety stakeholders in every corner of this world, which is why we are providing the FlytNow Pro solution free of cost to people during the coming weeks.

FlytNow Pro takes care of the complexities of managing a large number of drones, so that health workers, police, firefighters, and other public safety personnel can focus on getting the job done.

Get free access to the FlytNow Pro, sign up at https://app.flytnow.com

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0*e1rDvoNlq7WFR8nx.jpgCOVID-19 i.e. the coronavirus disease has been aptly called the Black Swan of 2020 — a global contagion that will disrupt public health and the global economy. With social distancing turning out to be insufficient, governments across the world are moving to comprehensive lockdowns, likely for weeks if not months, in order to ‘flatten the curve’ and get this pandemic under control.

Get started with FlytNow Pro for free, to help your employees, customers, partners and the general public tackle COVID-19 safely. Learn more at http://flytnow.com/COVID-19


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In these trying times, each company is striving to do its part in helping their employees, partners and customers cope. FlytBase, for our part, is making FlytNow Pro available for free (until at-least May 31, 2020) for customers who seek to deploy drones as an aid to help control the virus.

Safety via Autonomy

The most powerful weapon in the battle against COVID-19 is avoiding human-to-human contact. Drones can thus serve us well — when used remotely and autonomously. Whether monitoring public spaces via live video feeds, delivering medicines to the last mile, or aiding public safety personnel during incident response, autonomous drones can help minimize human interactions while ensuring that food, medicines and help reach people on time.



Monitoring of Public Spaces

Across the world, national and local governments have rapidly started closing public spaces — train & bus terminals, schools, colleges, airports, parks, malls — and soon even commercial offices and retail shops. Unfortunately, there remains a need to monitor and enforce such shutdowns, since not all members of the public are diligently adhering to social distancing and self-quarantines.

Drones, equipped with payloads such as beacons, loudspeakers, and sirens, can thus serve as a public safety aid — sending live video feeds to COVID-19 control centers, warning people of the need to stay indoors, and perhaps even spraying disinfectants! Thermal cameras mounted on drones, and controlled remotely via FlytNow, can automatically identify crowds, which can then be quickly dispersed to minimize human-to-human transmission of the virus. Such low-latency video streams can be shared with stakeholders across geographies to help monitor the overall social situation and make informed decisions about shutdowns, crowd control and public safety.

Food & Medicine Delivery

With health workers directly exposed to the virus, drone service providers can use FlytNow to deliver medicines, first aid kits and other emergency supplies — to homes as well as hospitals. Via 4G connectivity, drones and their payloads can be remotely controlled — such missions can be planned and launched from cloud-based dashboards, accessible to multiple stakeholders. Live video streams in the FlytNow dashboard can help confirm medical deliveries, and the recipients can participate in flight planning and monitoring, in a remote yet secure manner.


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At a time when supply chains are getting disrupted, remote and/or rural populations need to be proactively assisted with daily supplies. Drones are an ideal solution for this urgent need — via EVLOS and BVLOS operations that can be remotely planned, controlled and monitored using FlytNow. Even in urban areas, public health officials are strongly encouraging e-commerce and delivery of daily provisions, instead of people visiting supermarkets, restaurants and pharmacies.

Emergency Response

First responders, whether police, firefighters or health workers, now need to be themselves protected against the virus during incident response. Sending drones before people must become an integral part of such operations — powered by FlytNow capabilities such as fleet management, precision landing, autonomous charging, video recording, dual-camera feeds and airspace compliance.


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With the pandemic expected to last a while, public safety officials will have to plan for emergency response (with minimal involvement of humans) during floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.


FlytBase, Inc. salutes and wishes well, all those involved in this mammoth exercise — our doctors, nurses, aid workers, public servants, first responders, and many other selfless and brave volunteers. We are keen to do our part by leveraging autonomous drone technology to mitigate the adverse effects of the novel coronavirus.

Get started with FlytNow Pro for free, to help your employees, customers, partners and the general public tackle COVID-19 safely. Learn more at http://flytnow.com/COVID-19


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FlytNow Guest Link Sharing offers the capability to share live drone video feed and telemetry with teammates and clients.
Scroll down for the step-by-step tutorial.

Remote Private Access to Drone Fleet, Live Video Feed & Telemetry

Enterprises worldwide are scaling their drone operations, as cost-effective drones become available off-the-shelf, and cloud-based SaaS solutions drive intelligent automation. One of the key drivers of drone fleet adoption is the ability for a variety of stakeholders to participate in drone missions. For example, an inspection of a wind turbine may involve on-site visual observers, remote subject-matter experts, safety managers from regional offices, R&D teams from corporate offices, technology partners — and even UAV regulators who seek insights into such missions before granting waivers for unmanned flights.

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Live, remote drone operations thus require not only low-latency, high-quality video feeds, but also the ability to seamlessly share such video streams across people, geographies, devices and networks. In fact, enterprise drone programs tend to involve a variety of drone hardware — including off-the-shelf drones like DJI Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Enterprise, Matrice 210/210RTK, M600 Pro, etc., for day-to-day operations and custom drones built using DJI A3, Pixhawk or Cube based autopilots with high-end sensors for rare but critical use-cases.

User-level Access to Drone Missions

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Given that privacy and security remain amongst the top concerns in the global drone ecosystem, enterprises have to carefully manage access to drone telemetry, live video streams, navigation, and payloads. With multiple, remote participants in each mission, fine-grained access — based on the roles and responsibilities of each participant — becomes central to successful drone operations.

Guest Link Sharing

It can be argued that many drone operations would be significantly more productive if secure, mission-wise remote viewing can be made available, over the Internet, via a user-friendly interface. Whether it’s a drone service provider monitoring construction sites or whether it’s the in-house drone operations manager supporting his/her colleagues for inspection of infrastructure assets, the access to live video streams — securely & remotely — can create immediate business value by enabling subject-matter experts to make better-informed decisions.

In fact, not only can remote viewers be empowered to access live video feeds in real-time, but remote operators can be given control of the drone, camera gimbal and payloads, with the on-site team serving as safety pilots and visual observers. Automating such live, remote drone operations then becomes the logical next step in the evolution and maturing of enterprise drone programs.

Drone Videos on Mobile Phones

Given the pervasiveness of mobile phones and tablets across businesses in all sectors, it is but natural for drone mission participants to expect these devices to be an integral part of the overall system. This is now easily possible via enterprise-grade mobile apps that can be easily customized, white-labeled and configured — making drone telemetry & videos extremely portable, especially in areas with robust 4G/LTE/5G networks.

Share Live Map Views, Drone Fleet Location, and other Mission-critical Data

Remote access for ‘guest’ participants in drone missions need not be limited to video — since live map views can also be seamlessly shared over the cloud, showing guest viewers the waypoints, flight paths, obstacles, etc. for each mission. Third-party maps can be integrated to overlay drone missions on satellite imagery, specific drones/payloads can provide IR/thermal camera views to remote stakeholders, and missions such as parcel delivery can be remotely monitored not only over the last-mile but all the way to the ‘doorstep’.

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Aerial video streaming is thus becoming the core of drone operations for operators, service providers, system integrators and large enterprises — with secure, user-level access for remote participants the ‘killer app’ of this technology.


Tutorial: How to share live drone video feed and map view using FlytNow

Step 1: Log in to your FlytNow account and connect your drone to the application. Follow the FlytNow getting started guide if you are a first time user.

Step 2: Click on the “Share” icon on the video box or button in the Cockpit view

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Step 3: Click on “Create new link” to generate a link

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Step 4: Enter your teammate’s or client’s valid email address with whom you wish to share video & map view and click “Send”
Note:

  • Choose appropriate options for view and drone access.
  • You may enter multiple email addresses
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Step 5: Teammate or Client receives an email with a link and Secure PIN

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Step 6: Click on the “View Operation” and enter the Secure Pin. Your teammate or client can now securely access live drone feed and telemetry.

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For any questions, you may write to us on info@flytbase.com or visit http://forums.flytbase.com/c/flytnow


How do I Deploy Commercial Drones Easily & Quickly?

FlytBase offers a 28-day free trial for users to explore the FlytNow Pro edition. Customers can add their drone fleets, fly them autonomously, create flight plans & coordinate missions, set geo-fence and checklists, view and store live video footage and integrate drone operations into an existing system.

Start Now and fly your drone(s) via a free trial in 5 Easy Steps.

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