Inside Unmanned Systems

FEB-MAR 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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41 unmanned systems inside February/March 2017 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. sence," Pivtoraiko said. "If you dispatch a se- curity guard somewhere, and their response time is seven minutes, nobody may be there, and you don't know if an intruder has gone out or gone in. Our drones can be there in seconds or minutes." Aptonomy's drones can f ly relatively low, Pivtoraiko noted. "Customers want to be able to look at what is happening at eye level so you can get the perfect mugshot if necessary, and the closer you get to what is going on, the better the resolution is," he said. "The ability to fly low and f ly fast are what differentiate us from our competition." When activated, Aptonomy's drones will automatically patrol their set areas. Secu- rit y companies and proper t y ow ners can use Aptonomy's mobile app to see what the drone is currently seeing, review past drone video footage, and suggest where they want the drone to go by tapping a spot on an overhead map of the property. "Operators don't have to worry about manning a joystick," Pivtoraiko said. The drone's software helps it avoid colli- sions, land on its charging pad, and stay at the right altitude during f light, he added. Aptonomy's drones are currently designed to recharge from a pad that can fit on any f lat roof. They are also programmed to f ly back to their charging station when their batteries are running low. "They operate just like a Roomba vacuum cleaner," Pivtoraiko said. "They can fly for about 20 minutes, and each take about 40 minutes to charge. Predominantly, one drone is suffi- cient—you usually don't need to visit an area more than once an hour. However, if you really always want one drone on patrol, we recom- mend a team of three drones, with one always ready to go while the other two are charging." "We're now also working on incorporating ex- citing technology that will allow hot-swapping of batteries," Pivtoraiko said. "You can send a drone back to its charging dock where it can get a new fully-charged battery." Pivtoraiko stressed that Aptonomy's drones do not carry weapons. "We'll let the police do their work," he said. Pivtoraiko noted that drones are not meant to replace conventional surveillance cameras, but to work alongside them. "There's no one tech- nology to rule them all," Pivtoraiko said. "While cameras look at one spot all the time of a pretty limited size, drones can cover a wider swath of area periodically." Aptonomy's drones are also meant to com- plement human security guards. "Drones can't fully replace human intelligence," Piv- toraiko said. Still, "if a situation is unfolding, drones can get there faster, safer, and get better-quality surveillance, because they are recording what they see. And it can get boring and a little scary for a security guard if you are out on a lot at 3 a.m. all alone, and maybe it's cold out—a drone can be an interesting companion." Pivtoraiko said "it's possible to deliver a drone with a guard for just about half or less of the cost to hire a second guard. Our technology is not cheap yet, but it's still less expensive than hiring another guard." " OUR TECHNOLOGY IS NOT CHEAP YET, BUT IT'S STILL LESS EXPENSIVE THAN HIRING ANOTHER GUARD." Mihail Pivtoraiko, co-founder, president and CEO, Aptonomy Aptonomy offers its security drones on a subscription basis. This helps the company "fix things before they break, to keep the drones in tiptop shape," Pivtoraiko said. "We also ship brand new units to customers so they have one ready to go in case their current drone is near- ing the end of its life." One concern regarding watchdog drones is privacy. To protect neighbors from unwanted surveillance, "you simply block out part of the image where you should not look," Pivtoraiko said.

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