Drones are here, and they're not going anywhere anytime soon thanks to the continued growth of consumer drones, professional racing drones, and commercial drones. The commercial and enterprise drone market has the potential to grow even bigger and more effective in day-to-day life.
Leading that effort with its latest software updates is Cape Aerial Telepresence (Cape). The team at Cape is providing the quality tools needed to make commercial drones effective and efficient for the pilots.
SEE: Quick glossary: Drones (Tech Pro Research)
What is Cape?
Cape is a software platform, which allows drone pilots to control their drones offsite over the web. The use for such a service could vary from a construction site inspection to short-range payload deliveries. Ideally, flying a drone requires that the operator has an in-hand transmitter and is physically within the drone's range to transit the controls. With Cape, a drone pilot can control the drone over the web via a cloud-connected service. Cape calls its service Cape Cloud.
Having these capabilities could be quite useful for large construction site inspections, mapping large landscapes or general surveying such as agricultural management (Ag-Tech).
Having remote access and control of your aircraft is one thing, but what features really change the game? Some key features in the Cape software update include:
- Smart Flight Timer to pre-plan your aircraft's flight time and optimize your battery usage.
- Custom no-fly zones for additional safety of your aircraft.
- Multi-cast live stream for viewing on up to 50 authorized web browsers
- Dual gimbal support for aircraft with two imaging gimbals
- Dual thermal sensor support to view thermal and visual light spectrum data
From an enterprise standpoint, these are some fascinating features. For example, inspecting large structures is difficult. Drones made this a bit easier over time, but some large structures brought challenges due to frequency interference between the transmitter and the aircraft. Being able to confidently control your aircraft remotely via web software can be advantageous—as long as latency is next to mil. Seeing the flight path in real time is critical when flying in line-of-sight positioning, let alone remotely. Cape claims it "establishes an ultra-low latency, encrypted peer-to-peer connection" over the internet and with its Cape app installed.
I previously discussed the initiatives from DJI to help make jobs for drone pilots much easier by offering simple hooks into its SDK. It's an added bonus that Cape updated it's UI to integrate seamlessly with aircraft such as the DJI Matrice line as they can easily fly with dual gimbals and thermal sensors such as a FLIR camera. Getting the data on the fly and backing it up to the cloud could be key to an efficient inspection and analysis of large structures such as electrical towers or wind power generators.
I find the simultaneous live stream option interesting. I don't know if 50 screens are needed, but the idea of a small team simultaneously inspecting a large critical structure fascinates me. Especially now that it's hurricane season here in the US, powerful storms pose a threat to critical structures. The support team of these structures will want to act fast and methodically to ensure that the structure is safe.
I truly enjoy drone technology from both the hobbyist and professional standpoint. The devices can be used in many, useful ways beyond providing cinematic video or photo. It's great that companies enhancing the drone industry so that it can add value to the day-to-day work life.
CES is in a few months, and I'm now curious to hear what other product offerings will be available for the world of drone technology.
The full details of the updated product offerings from Cape can be found on its website.
- DJI ups the drone ante with new Mavic 2 Series (TechRepublic)
- DJI's new SDK and sensor help developers customize drones for their business needs (TechRepublic)
- Gallery: 10 ways drones make business easier (TechRepublic)
- Architects behind Apple's 'spaceship' unveil new building for drone giant DJI (ZDNet)
- Own a drone in the UK? It will soon be time to pass your safety test (ZDNet)
- Using a 4K drone to diagnose roof damage (ZDNet)
- This mini DJI Mavic lookalike is fun to fly and a fraction of the price (CNET)
Ant Pruitt is an IT Support Professional with a passion for showing the non-geek how great technology can be. He writes for a variety of tech publications and hosts his own podcast. Ant is also an avid photographer and weight lifter.