DroneUp, the drone delivery company that uses Walmart, has announced a major move to make drone flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) safer. DroneUp has teamed up with Iris Automation, a developer of AI-based vision technology for manned and unmanned aircraft to prevent mid-air collisions. Together, these companies will install hardware nodes that will act as a mobile tower-like service that will give DroneUp visibility in its airspace.
At the heart of this collaboration is Iris Automation’s ground-based Casia G solution, which features an optical, full 360-degree field for aircraft detection, classification and warning system. DroneUp says it will use this AI and computer vision technology, among other sensors, to ensure safety as it expands its drone delivery footprint in the US.
More specifically, DroneUp will use numerous Casia G nodes to form a network that covers large areas. These nodes will be placed at the drone company’s launch and recovery points as well as distributed throughout the delivery areas. As such, Casia G will act as a mobile tower-type service, giving DroneUp visibility in its airspace.
If an object flies into DroneUp’s work area, an alert is triggered. Relevant data is then sent to the flight team so they can maneuver the delivery drone into a safe zone and avoid a potential collision.
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As John Vernon, CTO of DroneUp, explains:
The technology behind Casia G for BVLOS has the potential to be a game-changer by showing that delivery in more populated areas can be as easy and safe as it is currently in rural settings. Through this collaboration, DroneUp can scale up operations dramatically, without limitations.
Through a partnership with DroneUp, Walmart today offers drone delivery in Florida, along with five other states. Drones can deliver more than 15,000 eligible Walmart items up to 10 pounds, including fragile items like eggs, in just 30 minutes.
Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation, says, “Using Casia G allows DroneUp to remove visual observers – opening a path to more economically scaling their operations while improving safety.”
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