Is it really possible to build a UAV company around autonomy with current regulations?
Today’s guest on the Drone Radio Show believes it is. Dor Abuahsira is the CEO and co-founder of Percepto, a technology company that brings together real-time machine vision and advanced AI capabilities to create fully autonomous and dynamic drones. The drones are capable of handling multiple missions, reacting to pre-set triggers, and optimizing operations all while reducing operational costs. Dor is an industry expert with over 10 years of experience and is committed to creating connected autonomous drones that are fully operational without human involvement. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Dor talks Percepto and its autonomous technology and how the company works with regulatory bodies to deliver autonomous solutions.
In This Episode
- About Percepto. Percepto is a leading provider a “drone-in-a-box” solution, which is basically an enclosed base station with a drone inside to provide autonomous, 24 by 7 operability. The drone is of industrial grade quality and designed to stay on site for several months in extreme weather conditions, and even in a very harsh environment (like mining operations or a owerplant). The system is designed to support real time computer vision.
- Example: Security. Dor uses security as an example how the Percepto drone functions. He explains that there are two types of security missions – patrol or responding to alerts. In patrol missions, the drone is able to view a designated area and can recognize changes in the landscape. It can even detect human or vehicles, all in real time. Dor feels drones can optimize safety routines and detect leaks or perform inspections. The 24 / 7 operation means a single drone can be used to perform dozens of applications.
- Regulatory Environment. The main restriction is flying beyond visual line of sight, and Dor believes that companies have to develop a path based on what’s working now with the current regulations. Flying beyond visual line of sight can be permitted via waivers, and Percepto works with clients and the FAA to develop a workable plan using the waiver process. In Dor’s opinion, any company trying to be cutting edge, they first have to try to figure out a new way to move forward, but at the same time, they also have to find a way to deliver value within the current regulations. The current regulatory framework constrains how fast a company can scale, it’s more constrained on a massive scale than it is a constraint on building the foundation of a business. The key is working directly with the FAA when developing the plans and the waiver.
- World View. Dor sheds some light on what happening in other parts of the world in regard to regulations. The drone industry is more regulated in the West and Europe, than in some areas of Asia and South America. And because the industry is still new, regulators are learning what works and what doesn’t along with the drone operators. He observes that it’s easier to get and running in U.S., but it may take more time and effort to do autonomous flights. Whereas in Europe, it can take longer to get approval to start, but a bit easier to get approvals for beyond visual line of sight at later stages. Most countries are taking a measured approach to evolving drone regulations. The companies having the greatest success at autonomous operations are those that work directly with regulators in crafting the solutions.
- Future Growth In Autonomy. To really push forward with autonomy, Dor believes that we have to find a way for drones to work by themselves, beyond visual line of sight even without an operator. We have to figure out how to integrate them into or over populated areas and inside cities. And we have to find the right frameworks that deliver value and safety. It’s a process of figuring out the frameworks (like Part 107) to allow than scale autonomous solutions.
- Personal Perspective. Like all start ups, the experience of creating a drone based company has been a roller coaster, but incredibly rewarding. Dor is turning his hobby for drones into a business that he hopes will really make a difference serving the needs of customers. For him, it’s been an amazing transition to see in a very short bit of time it. His advice to other entrepreneurs is stay focused on your vision and don’t give up, because the drone industry is a large growing market and companies just have to figure out how to place themselves to catch this emerging wave.
- Closing. With Percepto, Dor hopes to take the drones-as-a-service model to an anonymous model.
- Percepto (www.percepto.co)