Skysense is Leading The Charge for Autonomous Drones for the Mobile Economy
By Bradley Berman — Lead Editor
Transportation used to be about one thing: getting physically from Point A to Point B. But now, with a few taps and swipes of a smartphone, we can hail a ride, order a shipment, or deploy a drone. That’s the new world of connected, networked mobility, in which cars and other vehicles serve as assets in the Mobile Economy. This is not a distant dream, but an immediate reality that’s here now, as we saw in June when Skysense — the drone charging infrastructure provider — put one of its ultra-fast drone-charging pads on the DAV Foundation’s network.
“DAV created a platform where anybody can book the charging of a drone, which autonomously finds an available charging pad, gets approval to land, pays for the charging and lands to recharge, all through their blockchain-based platform,” said Andrea Puiatti, founder and chief executive of Skysense. “The DAV platform helps us achieve the greater vision of an autonomous charging network available to everyone. Now our charging stations can be deployed at scale.”
Skysense, founded in 2014, was initially funded by Qualcomm Ventures, Techstars, and angel investors. The company was featured on MarketWatch, Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, and other major media. This renown has taken years.
When the company started, drones manufactured mostly for the hobby market were only beginning to see use for tasks such as inspections, security, logistics, agriculture, and construction projects. These endeavors required too much human assistance so commercial adoption was slow. “I saw how automating the charging and battery management process could make drone operations economically scalable and truly autonomous,” said Puiatti. “Skysense was born, and we started building the first drone infrastructure.”
Skysense is one of over 20 DAV Alliance members that are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the Mobile Economy. When Skysense moved its drone charging stations to the DAV platform, it represented the culmination of years of development and growth.
For each step along the way, Skysense listened to its customers to guide the company’s next steps. Skysense started with a prototype that wasn’t weatherproof. When customers said that they needed a charging pad that worked even when wet, the company delivered an outdoor version. “Then, the Skyport solution came along when we encountered the need for an installation in remote areas where the drones need to be stored and protected from the environment,” said Puiatti. Skysense’s software also evolved to provide scalable infrastructure management, intelligent battery features and control of the entire charging process.. “Later on, our customers asked us to provide faster charging, which is what keeps us busy these days,” said Puiatti.
The journey continues for Skysense as it eyes the big goal of enabling any drone in any market to fly beyond the visual line of sight and to autonomously recharge — if that’s what is required for it complete its mission. To realize that vision, Skysense’s leadership is now working to help establish standards and protocols with other entrepreneurs, technologists, and strategists. That’s what makes The DAV Alliance so powerful. “The DAV blockchain-based network will allow ongoing decentralized operation of any future transportation method,” said Puaiatti. “That’s why the DAV network will play an important role in our future.”