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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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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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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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