We had the opportunity for a virtual visit with Romeo Durscher this week. He’s the vice-president of public safety at Auterion and truly a pioneer when it comes to the use of drones in the public safety sector. He’s super-knowledgeable and has an outstanding big-picture view of where the drone industry is heading.
If you’ve been around this industry for a bit, you’ll know his name. Romeo was previously with DJI, where his role simply cannot be overstated. Romeo was instrumental in identifying use-case scenarios for first responders and became something of a global evangelist for the cause. He also played significant roles in product and feature development on the enterprise side of things.
Plus, he’s an outstanding communicator and educator. So we were really pleased to have an opportunity to speak with him.
Auterion and open source
It’s tricky to explain the myriad of things that Auterion does in a single paragraph or two. But essentially, it allows you to run the same platform on multiple different drones – and much more. There are clear advantages here for enterprise operations running drones (and there are many) using the PX4 Flight Controller/Mission controller. Here’s how Auterion sums up just one of its products, Auterion Enterprise PX4:
Auterion Enterprise PX4 is a complete on-board software platform for advanced drone operations. It consists of a flight controller based on PX4 as well as an operating system running on the mission computer for advanced on-board functionality. The platform contains an autonomy engine, payload control, video encoder and LTE connectivity. Furthermore it allows you to deploy your own code and install your apps to leverage the mission computer for your own purposes.
And that’s just a tiny snapshot of the features in the platform. (If you’re interested in more comprehensive details, check out this page.)
The simple version
As you’ll see in the video (and we’ll get to it shortly), Romeo has a really simple way of explaining the Auterion platform (which runs on some pretty serious drones):
We’re creating a true ecosystem. It’s not just one drone manufacturer, now it’s multiple drone manufacturers that run on this system – which means we can now standardize it. Auterion is the Android of the drone industry. We have a common OS that works on various different platforms, just like if you have an Android phone or tablet. It’s not just one manufacturer, you can choose from different manufacturers. But no matter which manufacturer, the behavior is the same: The layout, the user experience is the same. And that’s our goal, and what we are achieving with Auterion.
As you’ll see in the video, Romeo has much more to say on the topic.
VTOL and public safety
There’s no question that drones are now playing a tremendous role with First Responders. Situational awareness, assessing areas hit by disaster, Search & Rescue – the list goes on. But with DJI’s dominance and variety of products in the enterprise world, multi-rotors in the form of advanced quad-copters have come to dominate this area.
Romeo was recently in Switzerland with an Auterion team, testing and tweaking code during high-altitude flights with the Quantum-Systems Vector:
You’ll hear much more from Romeo on this topic in the video. Clearly, there’s a ton of potential here.
Let’s get to it!
This is a longer video and an in-depth conversation. But Romeo is such a great communicator that he’s capable of synthesizing even complex topics very succinctly. This video will be of particular interest to first responders and enterprise users, but there’s a lot here for anyone interested in a smart take on Auterion and the rapid evolution of the drone sector:
We appreciate Romeo’s time and thoughts here, and look forward to catching up down the road.
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