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Mapping Volcanos to Protect Lives

Drone Harmony
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“The environment around the Sakurajima  volcano is not very amenable for drone flights. For various reasons, it’s not accessible by foot. There’s always ash in the air, and it’s an active volcano. The entire area is around 75 square kilometers and all of that requires mapping.”

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This Week’s Key Question

“Can a drone prevent the loss of life from volcanos?”

This Week’s Guests

David Adjiashvili is Founder and Vice President of Products at Drone Harmony.  Drone Harmony is a software as a service company that automates mission planning in the most challenging vertical inspection scenarios.  Their software enables cost-effective deployment of drone technology in industries where existing technologies are unable to deliver. And it enables pilots with minimal training to collect high quality, reproducible data. 

David received his Bachelors degree in computer science from the Tel Aviv University and his Master’s in applied mathematics from the Weizmann Institute of Science. He completed his Ph.D. in mathematics at the ETH Zurich in 2012 specializing on algorithm design for planning and optimization problems. He has since been employed in the Mathematics Department at ETH and worked on various research and industrial projects in the field of optimization  In addition to being one of those founders and Chief Scientist, he is also senior scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. His field of expertise is Algorithm Design and Mathematical Optimization, and he has been responsible for algorithmic development of the Drone Harmony Mission Planner.

What We Learn

In 2021 Drone Harmony assisted DERYL Group KK and the Kyoto University in generating an up-to-date high-resolution 3D model of Japan’s Sakurajima volcano.  Sakurajima is one of the world’s most active volcanoes.  It is located in the south of Japan, with approximately 600,000 people living within 4 kilometers. Scientists are predicting a major eruption within the next 30 years. 

The project team used Drone Harmony to develop the 3-D model and run various simulations for disaster prevention and response, with the goal of developing evacuation and mitigation plans for all potential disaster scenarios. Mapping a terrain is typically a straightforward process, but the Project Team quickly learned that a large geographic area, much of which is inaccessible, hostile and changing poses several challenges.

In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, David talks about Drone Harmony, the company’s 3-D mapping services and how that technology can be used to accurately map  and model large vertical geographic areas.

Mentioned Links

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Show Notes
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  • 06:10   Introduction to David Adjiashvili, Founder and Vice President of Products at Drone Harmony.  David talks about the software-as-a-services that are delivered by Drone Harmony.
  • 07:27   There are a number of companies that provide similar services, but what makes Drone Harmony different is that they focus primarily on vertical environments. 
  • 10:42   In 2021, Drone Harmony partnered with DERYL Group KK on a effort to study the Sakurajima  volcano in the south of Japan.  David describes the project, why it was undertaken and Drone Harmony’s role. 
  • 13:50   David discusses the challenges of mapping an active volcano of this size.  The environment is always changing and much of the area is inaccessible.  It requires a great deal of pre-planning.
  • 18:36   Current status of the project – the mapping has been completed and the project team is working on the analytics to be used in developing the evacuation plans.
  • 20:00  Interestingly, the initial plan was to use custom built drones, but it soon became clear that the ash, heat and harsh conditions of the volcano would be hard on the drones.  So the Project Team opted for DJI Drones which could be replaced easily and at a low cost.
  • 20:50  David discusses the value of the project in building a model that will display nearly every volcano eruption scenario so that planners can develop the contingency plans in advance. 
  • 25:34  For the project, Drone Harmony provided a great deal of support in developing the mission plans used in collecting the data.  David discusses what this entailed.
  • 27:25   David  shares lessons learned from the project to date, which include:  Important to choose the right architecture within the software for large-scale operations.  The software also needs to be able to manage hundreds of small mission plans, which are part of a larger overall mission plan. 
  • 31:23   David discusses the next steps in the volcano prevention project and potential future projects by Drone Harmony.
  • 34:20  The size of the map area and the shape of the object being mapped play a huge factor in the overall mission planning that goes into large scale mapping projects.  Especially complex shapes within the environment.
  • 36:21   Closing – David’s message on the future of the drone industry.
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    Mapping Volcanos to Protect Lives Drone Radio Show

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