SECURE OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE TO POWER COMMERCIAL DRONES

Auterion is a software platform designed to power the drone industry. At the heart of its operating system is PX4, the most widely distributed open source flight software. But it also offers all the supporting services such as cloud analytics, predictive maintenance and unmanned traffic management, as well having the ability to run custom-made third party apps like obstacle avoidance and data streaming.
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LORENZ MEIER

In 2008, I created and released PX4 as open source software, an autopilot for autonomous drone control. In fact, we claim that it is the android for autonomy, of which drones are our first vertical.

Drones are an emerging market which various reports have put at worth USD130 billion over the next two years. It will really take off when we see cargo drones, which I think will be deployed anywhere where the whole country jumped straight from no communications to mobile phones – as happened in Africa and Asia.

Achieving that volume at affordable costs requires a process similar to Henry Ford’s creation of mass production which standardised components of cars previously made very expensively by thousands of individual manufacturers. Over the last 10-20 years, using open source became the method of creating standardisation, and I built an app and then a whole autopilot system which began to be adopted by drone manufacturers in 2014.

The last step in that journey is the creation of Auterion – not to cash out, but to combine software so that more functions could be added to the software platform. The problem with adding more functions is that layering them is a linear process, but layering many creates exponential complexity. What Auterion does is add products to an operating system, making it enterprise-ready by dealing with the complexity.

We can create commercial products, consumer products, action-camera drones, huge 500 kilogram drones, vertical take-off and landing drones – anything. The open-source ecosystem has a lot of traction, but companies struggle to successfully adopt it. That is why they need Auterion, and Kevin will explain how it helps.

Drones are an emerging market which various reports have put at worth USD130 billion over the next two years

KEVIN SARTORI

There are three important players in the drone sector today: suppliers who build microprocessors and sensors that are used to build drones; manufacturers which combine the parts into products that they sell for particular users; and services and apps for specific uses like creating 3D maps. Auterion brings the different players together to create network effects.

Our product is a complete software platform which integrates apps and services into the operating system. In the fragmented commercial drone ecosystem, every single little part needs to be integrated. If an app company had to make its product compatible with hundreds of operating systems, it would just not work. So we enable scale.

We also enabled a new range of analytics because drones are some of the biggest data-capturing machines out there. We have preventative maintenance which can spot the mistakes before they happen, and we help companies be compliant with the regulations of the country where the drone is flying. On the cloud side, because we bring drones online, we have the ability to see what’s happening inside them in real time.