By Jacob Davisson, Head of Engineering
Over the last five blog posts, I have discussed the various technologies that Digital Aerolus has invented, designed, patented, and employed across the entire Aertos™ product family. The forthcoming blog posts, beginning with this one, will cover the benefits that these technologies bring to you and your team when deploying an Aertos™ in the field.
Our first-principles design approach has allowed us to design a product that does things that no other can hope to aspire to do. The Aertos™ can fly stably indoors, in confined spaces, under bridges, and anywhere you can imagine deploying one — all without the use of external references. By external reference, we mean a sensor that measures some quantity external to the drone itself — examples being magnetometers, GPS, LIDAR, and other similar sensors. All of the sensed quantities that the Aertos™ product line has traditionally used are state quantities of the Aertos™ itself — acceleration, angular velocity, etc. By applying our patented Folded Geometry Framework™, we have been able to design the Aertos™ to have intrinsic stability without the use of external references. We are not against the use of external references, but our approach does not require them. Such references help add to our intrinsic stability, but are not required to achieve it. Positional awareness and mapping are examples where we use this externally referenced data.
Many UAV companies seek to fly stably by ingesting as much sensor data as they can get their hands on — particularly sensors relying on external references. This approach works fine, where those external references are available to the sensors. However, the issue with this approach is that there are many environments in which the external references, like GPS, LIDAR, visual information, and more, are not dependable or even available. When such products move from an area where some (or all) of these external references are available to one in which some (or all) of them are undependable or unavailable, the drone can lose its understanding of self, and flight can become erratic, unreliable, or impossible.
Some UAV products rely on a pre-screening, or mapping, of the environment they will be flying in. Still others require beacons to be placed ahead of the flight, which essentially act as an “External Positioning System” (EPS). These approaches also work fine for locations that can somehow have beacons placed or be mapped ahead of time. Many of our customers would find that these solutions are, at best, impractical — and many times impossible. If it were possible to get a vehicle into a space or place beacons ahead of time, it would likely be possible to gather the requisite data at that time instead. The patented Folded Geometry Framework™ and Empathy Filtering™️ technologies allow the Aertos™ to fly in these challenging places without a priori knowledge of the structure inside which it is flying. This means that you can minimize the amount of pre-flight preparation required before deploying a UAV to gather data — inside the most demanding and challenging environments — by flying an Aertos™.
Due to the intrinsic stability of the Aertos™, you’ll be able to minimize the pre-flight preparations that you need to make — no more pre-scanning, moving around slowly to scan, or beacon placements. By deploying an Aertos™ you’ll be eliminating the need to send people into these dangerous places to gather inspection data. The Aertos™ represents a tremendous cost and time savings potential. It also allows for a greatly reduced risk of harm to people who may have otherwise had to find some way to perform up-close, manual, visual inspection. As always, we are excited to see you deploy the Aertos™ in challenging environments and new and interesting inspections.