Iris Automation is a Y Combinator startup who recently raised $1.5 million in seed funding to bring sense and avoid technology to drones used for industry. Buzz words like computer vision, deep learning, and artificial intelligence only begin to scratch the surface in describing what the company is building.
To sense issues and avoid them, powerful onboard drone hardware allows Iris Automation's software to track birds and other aircraft, predict their trajectories, reconstruct the scene in 3D at hundreds of meters of range, and then notify the drone operator of issues in real-time—or even take evasive action autonomously.
Alex Harmsen is CEO and co-founder of Iris Automation and joins Ian to discuss why sense and avoid technology is a requirement for building trust in industrial drones—and ultimately, how it should make them boring.
This is the story behind GoPro's harrowing entry into the global drone market. Just 6 days after GoPro released Karma, their first flagship drone, units began to inexplicably fall out of the sky, triggering a global recall of the product. There were many events that led up to this point but were previously unknown to the public. Forbes Staff Writer Ryan Mac joins Ian and tells the tale of how GoPro's Karma drone came to be, how it was rushed for release, and the ensuing aftermath of the global recall once these drones came crashing down. This story is based on Ryan Mac's Forbes article titled, "The Sky Is Falling For GoPro."
Ian reunites with past drone industry colleague, Gretchen West, who is Senior Advisor for Innovation & Technology at Hogan Lovells and Co-Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance. Gretchen has been in the drone industry for 13 years. She brings her refreshingly pragmatic views to the podcast to give a lesson on how power is balanced between President Trump's administration and the FAA. Gretchen also reveals that Section 333 "closed set" exemptions were quietly revoked by the FAA and reviews the challenges of their waiver process, which is available to commercial drone operators. Gretchen and Ian close with some realistic advice to those who are interested in starting a company in the drone industry and suggestions on where the greatest opportunities exist.