What’s in the future for you, me and Drone Employee?

In this series of blog posts we wanted to share our vision for Drone Employee, explain what are our goals and how our activity evolved over time. Let me start by telling you a story of where we started.

Born in the lab

Drone Employee was born in the university laboratory where Airalab research team was (and still is!) working on creating the mechanisms for direct economic relations between robots and humans without a central intermediary. The team noticed that commercial drone market has reached the point where flying robots, commonly called drones, have enough autonomy to perform complex tasks like delivering a package on their own. But even though drones acted autonomously, they were not fully autonomous.

What does drone autonomy mean?

See, we anticipate a future where people will be able to hire a drone employee the same way they hire a human employee now. Meaning that they will explain the deliverables of the task, set the compensation and create a legally binding contract directly with the machine.

There are two parts that are required to make drones fully autonomous:

  • The drone should fly without a human pilot.
  • The drone should have economic autonomy. (And that’s where we shine!)

The start of Drone Employee

Seeing an opportunity, the team decided to make the first commercial application of their research. In December 2015 Sergei Lonshakov announced Drone Employee — a project that would allow to “hire a drone for the job”.

The idea was that even though drone manufacturers constantly add new features to their hardware there was no mechanism for companies to “hire” and manage many drones — the fleet. Drones were and still are just tools that people use for certain activities and have to set up or even operate them manually, but they are not employees that work independently.

Drone Employee team presented a video from the simulator that showed the process of hiring a drone.

“The drone receives coordinates in order to calculate the flight’s distance and cost. As soon as they become known, the user sends the payment, and the robot flies away to do the job.”

Read other posts in the series:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5