The autonomous drone, also called “automated drone” or “drone-in-a-box”, is revolutionizing the safety and security market. Antoine Lecestre, Innovation Director at Azur Drones, presents the specificities of this fast-growing technology.
An automated drone can operate without any human intervention, with no operator. Our first thoughts are of the actual flying as there is no one at the controls, but the difference goes far beyond that aspect. The entire life cycle of an autonomous drone should be considered. As soon as human intervention is removed, there are many operations that the drone must do by itself such as changing the battery, charging itself, checking it is good to fly and is operating correctly – all of which a person would normally do.
An automated drone is therefore generally associated with a ground station which acts as an automated hangar, a shelter and a service station where it can charge and be ready for take-off 24/7.
No human interaction also means that the drone needs to analyse itself, as no one is there to run the checklist. It therefore needs to have specific electronics, sensors and onboard intelligence to assess if all its systems are normal, ready to fly. It must also be much safer because, as soon as there are no more humans to check what it is doing, it must be extremely reliable. We are therefore compelled to embed a certain number of redundancies onboard. Basically, it’s as if the automated drone had 3 systems in 1 to ensure redundancy.
All these particularities represent technical challenges in the design of a completely automated drone. This means developing the mechanics, electronics and software from the ground up, to really rethink the drone and make it autonomous.
Azur Drones has risen to all these technical challenges with the Skeyetech drone that is operational and on the market now.