Red Cat Holdings subsidiary Skypersonic says it has successfully completed the world’s first transcontinental drone inspection relying only on an internet connection from a normal mobile phone. A fully operational utility plant in Turin was inspected using an indoor drone controlled from Orlando, some 4,800 miles away.
Skypersonic says drone pilot Drew Camden had no idea what the Italian plant looked like. He had never visited the unit, nor seen any drawings or photos of the floor plan or the layout of the many staircases, stacks, ducts, conduit, joists, and other obstacles he was expected to tackle. All Camden knew was that he would be flying Skycopter, an indoor drone that can be piloted without the aid of GPS.
Another thing working in Camden’s favor was Skypersonic’s technology which minimizes signal lag across oceanic distances. While he only had access to the video feed from the drone, the pilot was able to see and react to the building’s interior in near-real time, with a reception lag, or “latency,” of only 68 milliseconds, i.e., less than a tenth of a second. Take a look:
Giuseppe Santangelo, CEO of Skypersonic, says the remote-piloting technology’s invention had become necessary following the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID pandemic. Here’s Santangelo:
The necessities imposed by COVID have created a new world of opportunities and fundamentally transformed our business model. Now, a customer needs just a radio controller connected to the internet and our remote piloting software. And then when the customer receives their drone, our pilots located in our Detroit or Turin offices can show them how to fly it by taking over control of the drone from thousands of miles away.
The possibilities, of course, are enormous for this advanced yet easy-to-use and extremely portable remote-piloting technology. While many enterprises turn to drones to save time and money, these benefits can become exponentially greater when the drone pilot – always the most expensive component of using drones – never has to leave his office to inspect any building virtually anywhere in the world.
As Santangelo puts it:
Travel expenses are eliminated completely and, because no travel is involved, the pilot’s time commitment drops from days to hours, which also means that a pilot can conduct several inspections on the same day with drones operating thousands of miles away while remaining in the same place.