How a bike accident gave birth to drone 3D modeling platform SkyeBrowse


SkyeBrowse, a reality capture platform that can convert your DJI or Autel drone video into a 3D model at the speed of coffee, was launched only in 2020, but it has already saved law enforcement departments in the US over 50,000 hours of manpower and $5 million in accident reconstruction. As the startup celebrates its recent $2.3 million seed round with a spate of hirings, let’s retrace its backstory to see how “the fastest and easiest drone reality capture platform in the world” came into being.

The year was 2016 and Bobby Ouyang was a junior at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He had just begun research on what he called “The Drone Project” with Dr. Peter Jin, a tenured professor at the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation.

That project stopped being a side gig when Bobby found himself in a motorcycle accident a few months later. Hours after the accident, he saw first responders were still performing accident reconstruction, which also caused additional traffic on the scene. At that point, Bobby realized the inefficiencies of traditional accident reconstruction and decided to build SkyeBrowse full-time as cofounder and CEO.

The platform, whose customers today include LA Port Police, Utah State Fire Marshal’s Office, Houston Forensics Science Center, and New Zealand Police Department, uses a patented process called videogrammetry. This technology layers thousands of high-resolution video frames to create a clearer, more accurate reconstruction of the scene than traditional photogrammetry which uses only still images.

Since SkyeBrowse’s innovative video capture technique doesn’t force a drone to slow down (as it would while taking photos), the data capture time is reduced dramatically – think 50 acres in just 5 minutes! In addition, SkyeBrowse models take only 10 minutes to process, compared to hours of processing via traditional photogrammetry. These 3D models are accurate to the centimeter and essentially reduce the time spent on paperwork by over 99%.

SkyeBrowse’s recent $2.3 million seed round has allowed the company to expand its team to 24 people. But as Bobby puts it:

Just 2 years ago, up until recently, SkyeBrowse was just four people. With our team of four engineers (myself included), we managed to build core technologies that no competitor could replicate: one-tap 3D modeling with the world’s fastest processing time, the best nighttime 3D modeling AI, and real-time thermal reality capture. Our laser focus on listening to customers and building the best tech in the industry has allowed us to grow SkyeBrowse across 200 agencies.

The seed money will be further used to build technologies that simplify the pain points of first responders and the US Armed Forces.

Read more: VEON to make drone intelligence tech public after Russia pilot success

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