“We can create this autonomous flight plan that no longer requires a two-person operation, because now we are controlling the drone’s flight pattern, as well as the gimbal, the camera, the recording, all of it,” Guinn says. “Now, the drone operator, all he, or she, has to do is set the drone down, hit the button, and let that flying robot fly around.”
Autoflight Logic's built-in flight controller allows Hangar to send virtual stick commands to a drone, not waypoints, which makes for more accurate data gathering.
While many commercial drone pilots might have conflicted feelings about this level of autonomy, Guinn says that this actually opens up the opportunity for operators to conduct more flights, resulting in more income.
“It really is better for the operators and it’s better for the clients that are wanting the data,” he says.
Desire for data
When working at both DJI and 3D Robotics, Guinn would demonstrate drones and their data gathering potential to large companies. And he always got the same response.
“’That’s amazing. I love that data. Is there someone that can just give me that data?’ They just don’t want to buy their own drones,” he says.
Guinn admits that it makes sense for some large companies, like BNSF Railroad, to invest in a drone department if they’re planning to use UAS frequently. However, for many other, smaller companies, it likely makes more sense to outsource.
Hangar, which is still in beta and very much in stealth mode as Guinn puts it, has completed more than 1,000 missions in the Austin area over the last six to eight weeks.
“The big technical challenges for us are finding ways to do more types of jobs that can be done fully autonomously, end-to-end, with commodity hardware,” he says.
Check out our 5 Questions with Guinn, where he tells us his best moment involving a drone.