A word (or two) from InDro Robotics
Welcome to the first in a new series of monthly newsletters from the InDro Robotics team!
These newsletters will cover the latest news from InDro Robotics – including the inside story from our R&D facilities (at least the stuff we can tell you about!).
First up? The big news: We have officially released the new InDro “Commander” – a module that vastly simplifies the challenges of building and customizing a teleoperated UGV. Commander is about the size of a small toaster oven. It bolts onto any platform and simply connects with two wires for power.
But don’t let that simplicity fool you: This is one mighty box, containing not only an NVIDIA processor for Edge computing, but high-speed USB ports for sensor management. Just as importantly, it contains the Robot Operating System (ROS) libraries required to make everything work together.
You might have seen our news release announcing the product. If not, here’s a teaser:
(You can find the entire release, which includes links to images, a video and a complete story on the product, right here.)
“The product also leads the way with a unique feature for developers: It is a platform agnostic solution – meaning that it can work with any platform that developers need,” explains Anthony Guolla, a robotics engineer specializing in Client Sales and Support.
“Whether your platform of choice is AgileX Robotics or any other major provider, The InDro Commander has your hardware, computer, and integration covered. InDro and our partners have already taken large strides in deploying real-world solutions accelerated by Commander and we are excited to share it with the rest of the world in 2022!”
Commander and Sentinel
If you’ve had a chance to read the release, you’ll know Commander evolved organically from our own work designing robots for clients and for R&D. Every time we went to integrate sensors and make the robot operational, we were running into common but time-consuming steps: Finding power for the sensors, installing Robot Operating System (ROS) software, and generally making the whole package work. (Trust us, there are a *lot* of steps involved.)
Commander has been designed to eliminate the painstaking stuff, allowing you to quickly add the sensors of your choice and operate the robot using our web-based console.
It has also allowed us to rapidly iterate new machines, and we’re particularly proud of a Commander-powered robot we call “Sentinel.”
Sentinel is a purpose-built inspection and surveillance robot, ideally suited to applications like electrical substations. These are the places where the high-voltage power carried by transmission lines is stepped-down for delivery from the substation to homes and other customers. Such facilities are often located in remote areas, difficult to reach for regular inspections by human beings.
“Right now, highly trained technicians make lengthy journeys between sites and frequently arrive without the proper resources to solve the problem on-hand,” explains InDro Account Executive Luke Corbeth.
“Seldom are these inspections, which include meter reading, temperature control and checking equipment conditions, done as frequently as they could be. Without sufficient maintenance, equipment will fail and result in an outage, which is financially detrimental to business and inconvenient for consumers.”
With Sentinel, regular inspections can be carried out remotely by a human operator who is hundreds, even thousands of kilometres away via the internet. Using Sentinel’s Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera (with 20x optical zoom and thermal sensor), the operator can check out even the tiniest detail from afar.
Check out this image, taken from the web-based Sentinel Console:
Potential clients who have been given a sneak preview are impressed.
“We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response from partners and utility companies for this solution. As a result, we’re making it a priority to deploy more of this technology across North America in 2022,” says Corbeth.
Sentinel can be deployed on a number of platforms, depending on the terrain and user requirements. Our first Sentinel is based on the AgileX Bunker platform. We selected Bunker because it’s rugged and nearly impervious to inclement weather. The track-based locomotion system handles well in snow, mud and other challenging conditions and terrain. But Sentinel is also offered with wheels, and even quadripedal or other form factors.
If you’re interested in learning more about Sentinel’s capabilities, hit us up here.
InDro Robotics has long been a champion of quality instruction when it comes to drones. We believe in ensuring that prospective pilots have access to the very highest quality learning materials and methods, with Subject Matter Experts leading the way. We also believe in community, where those following a learning path can learn from, inspire, and support one another.
That’s why we’re particularly excited about an initiative we’re launching led by Kate Klassen. Kate, as you might already know, is a seasoned veteran of both crewed aviation and UAVs. She was a driving force behind the excellent educational work carried out by Coastal Drones – and is a member of the Canadian Drone Advisory Committee, also known as CanaDAC.
If you’re interested in obtaining your Remotely Piloted Aircraft Certificate, you can sign up here. (And, trust us on this, there’s much more to come!)
“I am so excited to be back in the instructor seat with new, up-to-date training to share with the industry,” says Klassen.
“Already this year we’ve launched ground school for basic pilots, updated our advanced ground school, have the first in a series of ‘Flyy Guides’ published and are creating a community space for more casual learning and sharing with others in the industry. And this is just us getting started!”
From the top
Finally, a word from CEO Philip Reece.
“This is going to be a very exciting year at InDro Robotics. Commander is a hugely innovative solution to the hard work of building robots – and end-users have already seen tremendous efficiencies. Sentinel takes full advantage of the Commander module, meaning clients now have access to a proven teleoperated inspection solution that can be quickly modified with additional sensors and capabilities down the road. I’m immensely proud of the work InDro’s engineers have put into these solutions.
Wait, there’s more!
“InDro is also pleased about Kate’s forthcoming community platform, which will complement our learning portal. She is a total professional, and the hard work she has been putting in reflects this. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say we look forward to formally unveiling the full platform shortly.”
Give us a shout
Questions? Comments? We’re always happy to answer queries and read feedback. Hit us up here.
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