5:37 AM, Neodesha, Kansas, United States
Bret Chilcott rubs his eyes and quickly lifts himself from bed. For him, rising before the sun is par for the course — he’s been around farms for a good chunk of his life. The early bird gets the worm, he recites to himself as he sips a steaming hot cup of black coffee.
Bret is the founder of AgEagle, a drone manufacturer that specializes in creating tractor tough drones for agriculture. The company started as a spin-off from a Kansas State University research project.
The afternoon before, Bret received a hurried, long-distance call from Manu Sharma
“Bret, I need a favor,” Manu asked. “I need you to fly early tomorrow morning. Preferably taking off at around 7:30. We’ll stream your flight in Germany during our presentation at Intergeo to show off real-time mapping over the cloud.” Intergeo is a GIS conference — one of the largest in the world. “The drone we brought to Germany for our flight demo is grounded… we need a hand.”
Manu, manager of partnerships at DroneDeploy, is an aerospace engineer by trade. Bret and Manu know each other quite well — in fact, a little piece of hardware that Manu designed at DroneDeploy is embedded in nearly every single AgEagle in existence.
That little piece of DroneDeploy hardware is called CoPilot, and it’s quite special
Contained within is the heart of CoPilot; a 4G LTE modem. Its pulse enables the AgEagle to be connected to the internet while in-flight. Each time the AgEagle captures an image, this wonderful, smart little box shoots it straight into the DroneDeploy Map Engine via the information superhighway.
DroneDeploy then stitches the images together in real-time, viewable on any web browser, right in front of the operator’s eyes — or in this case, streamed live, 7,909 kilometers away in Germany, on display for the thousands of Intergeo attendees to see.
Fortunately, Bret’s a great sport
Through an overcast and rainy morning in Neodesha came crystal clear, real-time flight monitoring and mapping to a brightly lit auditorium in Stuttgart, 7,909 kilometers away in the afternoon.
Below is a brief, sped-up clip of the drone flight that was broadcast live over the internet from Kansas to Germany:
Approximately 60% into the flight, the map started to appear, gradually spreading across the entire flight zone as DroneDeploy’s servers stitched the images together in the cloud.
Click below to explore the final result:
Harnessing the power of the cloud
For DroneDeploy, using 4G LTE networks to leverage the power of the cloud is nothing new— we’ve been at it for more than 2 years now and pioneered true, real-time mapping.
Next year, as our industry grows, we’ll see other drone companies attempt to enter this space. And well we should.
It’s the logical next step for the drone industry — with over 70% of the United States blanketed in 4G LTE coverage and powerhouses like Google and Facebook vowing to spread the internet across the entire planet, the cloud is more accessible now than ever.
By all accounts, we are purely a software company
We love to focus on doing one thing and doing that thing very well. We’re incredibly excited for the next generation of cloud-connected drones which will expand these real-time mapping capabilities to even more people.
All you’ll need is 7,909 kilometers. Let us handle the rest.