While our cities get denser and high rise buildings rise higher, those big, tall buildings are going to cause major issues for the drone industry. Those massive buildings are creating local wind flow patterns that are controlled more by urban canyons than climate. As drones move from being interesting hobbies to supporting mainstream businesses (pizza delivery, UPS, and Amazon), operators are learning they need data about the hyper local weather.
Drone operators need the Cloud
Police helicopter pilots have long experienced urban canyons. But their aircraft are large and have plenty of power to spare. Drones delivering packages are neither large nor do they have vast reserves of power or battery life. If they are forced to fight their way through strong headwinds, efficiencies will drop. In extreme cases, strong wind gusts could crash the drones.
To be able to handle the problem, operators need to know the ‘ground’ situation. Will we then see micro weather stations fitted to building tops and sides – every few hundred yards along our inner cities? All of these weather stations pouring their data into a cloud-based application that figures out the winds and charts an efficient path that takes advantage of prevailing winds rather than how to fight them.
Will delivery boys learn Big Data?
Can this kind of hyper-local weather information find other applications too? Too soon to really say, but better data has always resulted in new applications. Someone is sure to think of more ways of using hyper-local weather data.
Drone-based delivery also runs into the line of sight issues. Any serious application has to work around these problems. The solution probably lies in better programming tools and completely autonomous flight.
Just as delivery boys began to worry about the loss of jobs to drone-based delivery, new jobs are being created: weather forecasters, mapping technicians, big data analysts, and flight path managers. Our delivery boys may need to go back to school and pick up some new skills.
Learning from Harry Potter
Hedwig (Harry Potter’s owl) didn’t need fancy electronics to deliver mail and parcels. We are still a long way away from being able to emulate an owl’s internal navigation and flight control system to handle urban canyons with these small drones! For package delivery in the major cities to be successful, drones will need to get much smarter.
David King Chief Technical Officer
Serving as the Chief Technology Officer, David is responsible for the discovery and implementation of new technologies that yield competitive advantages while working closely with Executive Management to develop strategies to increase revenue and performs cost-benefit and return-on-investment analysis.
In October 2005, David joined AEgis Technologies as Director of the Simulation Development Group. During that time, David helped formulate the direction of AEgis’ software development efforts to ensure maximum reusability, thereby speeding ongoing development while reducing costs. His focus is technology transfer to commercial products and product development. Under his leadership, the Simulation Development Group developed and fielded over 8000 UAS training systems across the DOD. David has held the title of Vice President, Simulation Development and most recently, Executive Vice President, Technology Solutions Division.
With more than 25 years in the Modeling, Simulation, and Training industry – and having served in product design and development, technology advancement, project management, and leadership positions. David is a recognized leader and innovator in the MS&T industry, having co-founded, matured and sold a two-man start-up company into a highly-successful small business (CG2, Inc.) in just seven years with no outside venture capital or investments. In addition to being recognized locally as an “Outstanding Small Business” for three consecutive years by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
Before co-founding CG2, David spent eight years in the US Army in missile-related fields. He worked for Electronic Associates Inc. and later AMTEC Corporation at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, AL, on a broad range of projects including the Sensor Vision III Real-Time IR Scene Generator, JAVELIN, STINGER, CHAPARRAL BAT, AIT, and THAAD HWIL simulations.
Specialties: Modeling, Simulation and Training. Hardware in the Loop, real-time simulations.