2022 InDro Highlights

2022 InDro Highlights

Wow. Another year has passed.

And for InDro Robotics, it was a year marked by new products, new deployments, and multiple milestones.

We did a deep dive on the year with our Year in Review story, which you can find here. But we realise some people might prefer a condensed version. So here we go, starting with the image above.

That’s Sentinel, our rugged teleoperated robot for remote inspections. We launched that product at the very beginning of 2022. It’s been designed for remote inspections, carried out over 4G and 5G networks. We customise Sentinel’s sensors based on client needs, but the standard model comes with a 30x optical Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera, thermal sensor, and a high-res wide-angle camera that gives the operator a clear view of surroundings.

Operations are a snap, using an Xbox controller plugged into a laptop with a comprehensive dashboard. Even dense data can be streamed and downloaded in real-time over 5G. In fact, we’ve proven Sentinel’s minimal-latency capabilities from more than 4,000 kilometres away. (That took place from Bellevue, Washington State, where we were invited to demo our system by T-Mobile.)

It didn’t take long for word to get around. A couple of months after Sentinel’s launch, we were invited to put it through its paces at the Electric Power Research Institute, or EPRI. Check out this next image – it’s a frame grab from the Sentinel dashboard, and was captured during a mission at an EPRI testbed electrical substation in Lenox, Massachussetts.

InDro Robotics

There’s a lot we could tell you about Sentinel but we’re trying to keep this tight. If you’d like more in-depth details you can read this story, or reach out to superstar Account Executive Luke Corbeth here

InDro Commander


A significant part of what gives Sentinel its various superpowers is an innovation we call InDro Commander. It’s a bolt-on box that contains a camera, EDGE computer, a 4G- and 5G-compatible modem and the ROS1 and ROS2 software libraries. That means it’s a snap for clients to add any additional sensors they’d like without the hassle of coding. 

You can operate any InDro Commander-enabled platform using an Xbox controller over a highly intuitive dashboard on your desktop or laptop. FYI, that box you see just above the InDro Logo (and just below the camera) in the image below? That’s InDro Commander.


Though InDro has a stellar reputation for ground robotics, the company was founded on the Unmanned Aerial System side of things. So we’ve been busy in that arena, as well.

The most significant development of the year is a software and hardware package we call InDro Pilot. In a nutshell, it’s a bolt-on module that’s similar to Commander. It enables remote BVLOS operations over 4G or 5G, dense data throughput, simplified sensor integration – plus the ability to broadcast to nearby traditional crewed aircraft that drone operations are taking place in the vicinity. 

That hexagonal box in the image is Version 1.0 of the hardware side. We’ve since created a much smaller and lighter version, capable of transforming any Enterprise drone using the Pixhawk flight controller into a low-latency, BVLOS super-RPAS.

InDro Pilot


In 2022, InDro teamed up with London Drugs to test out ground deliveries via our ROLL-E robot. 

There were two separate trials. The first, in Victoria, involved ROLL-E taking goods ordered online to a parking lot for touchless, curbside delivery. The second, in Surrey BC, involved the second generation of ROLL-E delivering goods from a London Drugs outlet to a consumer’s home. ROLL-E features 4G and 5G teleoperation, and is equipped with a total of six cameras (including two depth-perception cameras), giving the operator tremendous spatial awareness.

That’s ROLL-E 2.0, in the image below. Its secure cargo bay – which unlocks when the robot reaches its destination – can carry up to 50 kilograms.

Delivery Robot


Also in 2022, InDro Robotics became a North American distributor for the Unitree line of quadruped robots. These rugged, agile robots are well-suited to a variety of tasks, including remote inspection. In the video below, Luke Corbeth puts the entry-level GO 1 through its paces.

InDro backpack

Remember InDro Commander, the box that enables remote teleoperations and easy sensor integration? We figured a module like that could really expand the capabilities of the Unitree quadrupeds. 

And so – you guessed it – we built it. We call this device InDro Backpack, and you can see it on the robot below.

InDro Backpack

meet limo

InDro Robotics is also a North American distributor of the excellent AgileX robot line. This past year saw the introduction of a very cool machine for education and R&D called LIMO. It comes with an impressive number of features straight out of the box, including:

  • An NVIDIA Jetson Nano, capable of remote teleoperation over 4G
  • An EAI X2L LiDAR unit
  • Stereo camera
  • Four steering modes (tracked, Ackerman, four-wheel differential, and omni-directional)

It’s a powerful, SLAM-capable machine. Best of all? It’s really affordable.


montreal marathon

Three InDro employees took part in the Montreal Marathon – but they were largely standing still.

In fact, they were operating sub-250 gram drones as part of a medical research pilot project. The drones – two were constantly in the air throughout the run – were positioned at a point near the end of the course where runners sometimes encounter medical distress. Live feeds from the drones were monitored in a tent by researchers for two reasons: To see if the aerial view could help them quickly identify someone needing help, and to help pinpoint their location so assistance could be rapidly dispatched.

The results? The drone feeds helped quickly identify and locate two runners in need of help

“The view from above when monitoring moving crowds is just incomparable,” says Dr. Valérie Homier, an Emergency Physician at McGill University Health Centre and the lead researcher on the project. 

Below: InDro pilots Kaiwen Xu, Ella Hayashi and Liam Dwyer.

Montreal Marathon


One of the highlights of the year was the TCXpo event at Area X.O in Ottawa. Sponsored by Transport Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, it was a full day of demonstrations from Canadian leaders in the world of Smart Mobility. 

InDro was there, of course, displaying our InDro Pilot-enabled Wayfinder drone, as well a *lot* of ground robots. CEO Philip Reece moderated a panel – and was also in charge of airspace for multiple drone demonstrations. That’s Philip, below, talking about aerial and ground robotics to attendees.

InDro Robotics
Drone Training


Speaking of drones, we also launched drone training and resource portal FLYY. Online lessons are carried out by our own Kate Klassen, widely recognised as one of the best (and most qualified) drone instructors in North America. Whether you’re looking to obtain your Basic or Advanced RPAS certificate, or want to further expand your skills, Kate’s got the goods.

If you’re looking for training for multiple people, Kate offers discounts for companies and educational institutes. You can reach her here.

it's a secret...

The other big thing happening in 2022 (and continuing in 2023) was InDro’s work with major global clients. We can’t disclose that work due to non-disclosure agreements, but we can tell you we’re busy with multiple, exciting, ongoing projects!

Finally, we closed out 2022 with another successful InDro Hack-a-Thon. Employees were given a day and a half to work on a project or process that could benefit InDro down the road. Once again, Team InDro delivered, with some amazing projects completed within the deadline. You can read all about it here

a final word...

As you can see, it’s been quite a year – and CEO Philip Reece couldn’t be happier.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work InDro accomplished in 2022,” he says. “Our engineering and sales staff consistently punch above their weight, with multiple significant milestones – including excellent revenue growth – achieved in the past year. Just as gratifying is the fact our employees love what they do.”

Very true. Now stay tuned for an even more amazing 2023.

And if you’d like to reach InDro, just give that little orange button a click. Though we’ve got plenty of robots, we’ll make sure a real human being gets back to you shortly.

InDro’s ROLL-E 2.0 robot delivers to London Drugs customers in Surrey, BC

InDro’s ROLL-E 2.0 robot delivers to London Drugs customers in Surrey, BC

There’s a new robot in town.

That robot is InDro’s ROLL-E 2.0, and the town (well, city) is Surrey BC.

In the latest phase of an ongoing pilot project with London Drugs, the new version of InDro’s delivery robot was on the job September 9, delivering curbside orders to customers for touchless and convenient delivery. ROLL-E even delivered from the store to a customer’s home.

Let’s take a look at this robot, which features a number of innovations its predecessor, the original ROLL-E, did not have.

Delivery Robot

A leap from ROLL-E 1.0


You might recall that Indro Robotics carried out a longer-term pilot project at a location of London Drugs in Victoria, BC. The robot carried out regular curbside deliveries for customers who ordered online and wanted a touchless pickup experience.

The original ROLL-E worked great, but we learned some lessons that have resulted in an even more user-friendly robot. As a result, ROLL-E 2.0 features a host of new features, including:

  • A total of six cameras, including two sets of depth perception cameras at the front and rear for greater situational awareness for the operator
  • LED running lights, signal lights, brake lights
  • Large cargo bay (50kg capacity) that can be opened and closed remotely
  • Greater all-weather protection and a touchscreen interface for customers

Here’s a quick look at ROLL-E 2.0 on the job:



ROLL-E 2.0 is a tele-operated robot, with an operator controlling it over the 4G or 5G cellular networks. That means the ‘driver’ could be in the local London Drugs outlet, or even hundreds of kilometres away. The person operating sees the view from all cameras, GPS location, ROLL-E health – and more – over a computer console. ROLL-E 2.0 is not yet a fully autonomous machine, but does have the capability to eventually be thinking on its own.

The first deployment – for curbside pickups in Victoria – was popular with customers and London Drugs staff. Pushing the envelope with home deliveries was the next logical step.

“Customers were pleased with both the convenience and experience of having goods delivered to their car by robot,” says InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece. “This took things further, both literally and figuratively. Delivery robots will one day become commonplace, so London Drugs and the City of Surrey are really ahead of the game.”

London Drugs, meanwhile, is interested in continuing to assess the efficiency and customer acceptance of robot deliveries as part of the future of e-commerce.

“Following a successful pilot debut for ROLL-E earlier this year, we are thrilled to be further exploring its capabilities as we test home delivery in conjunction with Indro Robotics and the City of Surrey,” says Nick Curalli, London Drugs vice president of technology solutions. “This is an important step for our company as we look for innovative ways to serve our customers in the safest and most convenient way.”

By the way, that’s InDro’s Kate Klassen on the left in the photo below. She was ROLL-E’s operator for this project. 


Delivery Robot

The Surrey connection


Surrey was an ideal test bed. The city welcomes projects like this as part of its Urban Technology Test Lab, which accelerates innovative projects toward commercialisation.

“Responding to the need for technology testing areas, the Urban Technology Test Lab Pilot provides technology firms with access to safe, local test zones,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “Without the opportunity to field test in a real-world setting, many of the products could not proceed to final development and commercialisation. I am thrilled to see ‘ROLL-E 2.0’ hit Surrey streets for testing, and I am excited to see this initiative launch. The future truly does live here in the City of Surrey.”

ROLL-E 2.0 Surrey

InDro’s take


As an R&D company, InDro has always taken a “Crawl, walk, run” approach when it comes to testing new technology. The initial deployment in Victoria with ROLL-E 1.0 was the crawl phase, putting the product through its paces in a real-world setting. ROLL-E 2.0’s development and testing in Surrey was the our first chance to walk; we’ll soon be ready to run.

For InDro Robotics, this is about more than a business case. The eventual widespread adoption of robots like these will end countless short trips by automobile to nearby stores for small orders.

“Because ROLL-E 2.0 is electric, these deliveries will eliminate carbon emissions that would have otherwise been created by people driving to the store and back,” says InDro CEO Philip Reece. “This project involves a single robot, but deploying these at scale in the future will have a measurable impact on C02.”

We’ll check in again when ROLL-E 2.0 starts running.

InDro Robotics, London Drugs, pilot Roll-E robot

InDro Robotics, London Drugs, pilot Roll-E robot

By Scott Simmie, InDro Robotics


Meet Roll-E.

It’s a cargo-carrying Uncrewed Ground Vehicle (UGV), or robot, developed by InDro Robotics. It can be remotely teleoperated from around the corner or across the country. And it’s being put into service in a new partnership with London Drugs, helping with contactless curbside deliveries in Victoria.

We’ll explore all the relevant deets in a moment, but first – let’s take a look at this nifty and smart machine.

Delivery Robots

You’ve got to admit, that’s a pretty good-looking robot. But Roll-E is much more than that.

Built on the AgileX Scout Mini platform, Roll-E has been constructed to operate over the 5G and 4G networks. The remotely operated robot has a temperature-controlled cargo bay, GPS tracking, wireless charging – and turns on a dime. It also has front and rear cameras so that the operator can avoid any obstacles.

But what’s it doing at London Drugs? Glad you asked. Here’s the headline, from the London Drugs news release:

London Drugs Delivery

As we inexorably head into the Internet of Things universe, connected devices like Roll-E will play an ever-greater role in daily life. In this case, InDro Robotics has teamed up for an innovative pilot project at the London Drugs Harris Green Village location in Victoria, BC.

The global pandemic has changed, perhaps permanently, business and consumer practices. Online ordering and curbside pickups have grown tremendously. So we’re excited about using Roll-E to deliver secure, contactless pickup to drivers collecting goods.

And so is London Drugs:

“With the ubiquity of curbside pickup services now available, we’re constantly looking at new ways to invest and adopt cutting-edge solutions that will serve our customers in the safest, easiest and most user-friendly ways possible,” says Clint Mahlman, London Drugs president and COO. “We’re excited to pilot ROLL-E at our Harris Green Village store and further explore the full range of applications that this technology can add to our services in Victoria and at other locations throughout Western Canada.”

The UGV advantage

Though there’s a lot of potential for drone delivery (and more on this in a moment), current regulations make flying drones – particularly operating drones beyond the visual line of sight of the pilot in urban centres – difficult. The rules exist for very good reasons, including the protection of people, property and airspace.

Uncrewed Ground Vehicles are different. They operate on sidewalks or paths, not in airspace. The remote operator has a clear view of surroundings at all times, and pedestrians are given the right-of-way. InDro’s UGVs are all electrically powered, meaning zero emissions. InDro also received permission from Victoria’s municipal authorities, who are onboard with this pilot project.

This isn’t InDro’s first collaboration with London Drugs. In an earlier trial carried out in conjunction with Canada Post and Salt Spring Island’s Country Grocer, InDro demonstrated the ability to quickly and securely deliver prescription drugs to remote locations far faster than it would be possible to deliver via ground vehicles or by boat. Such aerial deliveries, especially in medical emergencies, could be life-saving. In that pilot project, drones were the appropriate tool because the locations were remote and did not involve congested urban airspace.

We’re still quite proud of that project, and you’ll see why here:



Roll-E’s a smart machine


Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge robotic capabilities from the exterior. Roll-E contains the same brains as our proprietary InDro Commander module. This gives Roll-E the capability to eventually carry out fully autonomous missions, including mapping unfamiliar environments as it travels. Even machine learning and machine vision – where, for example, Roll-E is able to detect and act on the signals at a crosswalk – are all possible within this framework.

For now, though, Roll-E will be operated by a careful and conscientious human being working behind-the-scenes. Roll-E will be loaded inside the store for curbside delivery, then make its way to the appointed pick-up spot. It has a range of about nine kilometres on a single wireless charge, but Roll-E won’t be going far from home during this pilot project.

London Drugs has pulled together a great little Q&A, which you can find it here. If you’d like to see the entire news release, it’s here. (And if you’re really into this, you can check out CTV News coverage of the project.)


InDro’s Take

As an R&D company, we take considerable pride in the products we conceive, design and manufacture. It’s no different with Roll-E, which will help London Drugs customers at this particular Victoria location save time on pick-up. We also value our corporate partnerships – so we’re pleased to be taking part in this pilot project. We have a sense that for Roll-E, this is just the beginning.

“London Drugs has a track record of innovation, embracing new technologies that could help with efficiency and customer experience,” says Philip Reece, CEO of InDro Robotics. “We’ve enjoyed great success working with London Drugs and others on our drone trials delivering prescription medications to remote communities. I anticipate that someday in the future, deliveries using robots – whether by air or ground – will be routine.”

If your company might benefit from the use or robots or drones for delivery, inspection, security or data acquisition, don’t be shy. You can reach us here. (And no matter how advanced our technology gets, we’ll always ensure that a real person gets back to you.)



When it comes to Last Mile, InDro’s ROLL-E delivers

When it comes to Last Mile, InDro’s ROLL-E delivers

By Scott Simmie, InDro Robotics


Picture this: You’re expecting an important delivery at home.

But instead of peeking out the window to spot a cargo truck or van, you’re awaiting a text. One minute before delivery, your phone pings with a notification and a QR code.

You look outside and see it approaching: A small robot. It pulls up directly in front of your steps (possibly even climbs the steps). You head outside and present your QR code to a reader on the robot. Once it has scanned to confirm, the lid protecting the cargo bay unlocks and slides open. You remove your package and go back inside. Before you’ve even closed the door, the robot has already moved on.

The transaction was rapid and contactless. The robot did not emit any CO2.

A decade ago, such a scenario would have sounded a bit like sci-fi. Not anymore. Such deliveries are coming – and not solely for the purpose of convenience.

Some context


On any given day, on any given street in North America, a large truck or cargo van is likely to come down the road. Inside? Groceries, clothing, electronics, books and more – on their way to people’s homes and businesses.

Even prescription medications are delivered by many pharmacies – which can be particularly helpful for those who may have mobility issues or lack access to transportation. Deliveries are now so ubiquitous that these vehicles have become part of the urban landscape.

But while deliveries have grown exponentially over the past couple of decades, so too have concerns about the efficiency – or inefficiency – of this approach. And that conversation now focuses on something known as the Last Mile.

That, and the potential for robots to become part of a cleaner and more cost-effective solution.


The Last Mile


The Last Mile phrase refers to the final, critical but inefficient phase of any delivery: Getting the product down that last path to its ultimate destination. That destination is most often the home of a consumer. But it might be to a client, waiting for just-in-time parts. Ultimately, it could be anything, to anyone, anywhere. And with the global pandemic, demand for delivery of everything from soup to nuts to meals has skyrocketed.

Currently, nearly all these deliveries are carried out by vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. It’s one thing to load up a truck with parcels headed from a warehouse in a suburb to, say, Toronto. That part of the voyage can be fairly efficient, because there’s a large volume of goods all initially headed in the same general direction. But things become far less efficient once that truck starts heading down scores of residential streets. Things slow down, more fuel is burned, and costs add up.

Here’s how Business Insider describes the problem:

“In a product’s journey from warehouse shelf, to the back of a truck, to a customer doorstep, the “last mile” of delivery is the final step of the process — the point at which the package finally arrives at the buyer’s door. In addition to being a key to customer satisfaction, last mile delivery is both the most expensive and time-consuming part of the shipping process…

That “last mile” is more costly than you might realize.

“As a share of the total cost of shipping, last mile delivery costs are substantial — comprising 53% overall. And with the growing ubiquitousness of “free shipping,” customers are less willing to foot a delivery fee, forcing retailers and logistics partners to shoulder the cost. As such, it’s become the first place they’re looking to implement new technologies and drive process improvements.”


Delivery by drone

Drone Delivery

The image above is from trials InDro Robotics carried out with London Drugs, Canada Post, and Country Grocer on Salt Spring Island. We demonstrated how delivering medications can save time – and potentially lives – by getting prescriptions quickly to people in remote communities. In some of these deliveries, the consumer would have had to travel by hours and take ferries to pick up medications that were delivered in minutes. In the case of products like an Epipen, or Narcan (used to save lives during opioid overdoses), minutes and even seconds can count.

In fact, InDro was a Canadian leader in delivering COVID-19 tests by drone, allowing health care providers on an island-based First Nations community to remain at their clinic – rather than travelling a full day to deliver and pick up test kits. (You’ll find our story on this here.)

But while drones can receive regulatory permission for these kinds of remote flights, we’re still some ways off from routine aerial deliveries to consumers in urban areas. The world of Advanced Air Mobility is certainly coming (see our deep dive into the topic here), but the regulatory landscape will take time to ensure that crewed and uncrewed aircraft can routinely (and safely) share the same airspace when it comes to cities. 

We’ve all seen the exciting vision of drones flying packages right to your doorstep, but in many cases it’s not the best solution,” explains InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece.

“Ground robots can bring many of the same solutions with no impact on airspace – and due to their compact size they can utilize existing infrastructure. I’m confident in the future we’ll see drones and ground robots enabling delivery by working in unison, but that will take some time.”

And that brings us to UGVs, or Uncrewed Ground Vehicles. Specifically, an InDro-developed delivery product we call    ROLL-E.


ROLL-E delivers


ROLL-E has been designed by InDro’s engineering team to be part of the Last Mile solution. And there are very specific reasons why the company has chosen to develop this product.

First of all, UGVs are not subject to the same regulatory framework as aerial vehicles, so UGVs can be deployed in urban centres now. In fact, a company called Tiny Mile is already delivering meals in Toronto with its “Geoffrey” platform – and was just featured in this McLean’s magazine article. Though Geoffrey gets a lot of attention from curious pedestrians, this kind of delivery will become commonplace in the years to come. Plus, as noted earlier, we’re in an era of unprecedented global demand for deliveries – coupled with mounting concern over the environment and greenhouse gas emissions. The time is right for a green and efficient solution.

And that’s where ROLL-E fits in.

Last Mile Delivery Robot

ROLL-E is built on the AgileX Scout 2.0 platform. But that’s only the beginning. While platforms like the rugged and reliable Scout are great, they require software and hardware – and generally a lot of tweaking – to transform them into fully-functioning robots.

We did that by integrating another InDro innovation that we call ROS-IN-A-BOX, or RIAB. You can read all about RIAB here, but the key point is that it’s a hardware/software solution that relieves the end user of the tedious task of integrating the Robot Operating System software, plus any other hardware or sensors (such as cameras), and getting them all to work properly together.

With RIAB built in to ROLL-E, the customer has a solution onboard that will allow them to begin running remote deliveries via cellular connection. They simply drive ROLL-E using a gaming controller while watching its path, in real-time, from a remote location via a browser-based console.

Simple to operate


ROLL-E is a snap to operate – whether you’re across town or across the country. (In fact, during one recent internal company demo, an InDro employee who had zero background with ROLL-E operated a mission at our Area X.O location in Ottawa from her home in Vancouver.)

UGVs have lower barriers to entry than UAVs for deliveries,” explains Luke Corbeth, an InDro Account Executive specializing in UAV and UGV solutions with a specific focus on delivery.

“They can be setup and deployed quickly, don’t require certified operators and have notably less regulations – this means deliveries can happen anytime at a moment’s notice.”

And throughout the delivery, the robot operator can see what ROLL-E sees, in real-time. The screengrab below was taken from the console while running a demo at our Area X.O facility in Ottawa.

Last Mile Delivery Robot

With ROLL-E’s ample and insulated storage, its top compartment can be divided in two, allowing (for example) for the shipment of frozen goods on one side of the center divider, with non-refrigerated goods on the other. Or, in cases with larger objects, the divider can be removed entirely. This is InDro’s second-generation ROLL-E.

Delivery Robot

Accessible, but not autonomous


As noted, ROLL-E requires a human operator with eyes on the road. And while ROS-in-a-BOX platforms are AI capable, this is not an autonomous vehicle.

“It’s critical that it’s not misconstrued as autonomous in any way,” says Engineering Manager Arron Griffiths. “ROS-in-a-BOX is autonomous capable – it has the capacity to put autonomous software on it. But the real core advantage here is the ability to carry teleoperation over 4G and 5G networks.”

In other words, as long as there’s a cellular network at each end, ROLL-E can be operated remotely from anywhere.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that InDro won’t make a fully autonomous product using a LiDAR sensor, SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) and obstacle avoidance down the road. It simply means that for this road,    ROLL-E is ready to go.

And – seriously – you could learn how to operate it in an hour. (It also features wireless charging, so no plugging in or battery removal required.)


Delivery Robot

Building simple solutions


That concept, of doing the heavy technical lifting so that end-users can deploy a simple and pain-free solution, is at the core of InDro’s R&D philosophy: Build innovative things that work reliably and are easy for the end-user to operate.

“We develop specialized robotic solutions for our customers so they can do what they do best and then simply add our solution on to their existing transportation options,” says Philip Reece.

“InDro looks to make using ground robots easy. Working together we can make the end customer experience easier, more convenient and even fun. Who wouldn’t want their groceries delivered right to their door by a friendly robot?”

Or anything else, for that matter.


InDro’s view


Robots are already beginning to play a role in the Last Mile solution. This is particularly true in China, where robotic vehicles making deliveries are becoming commonplace in cities like Shenzhen. And they’re already making inroads in North America, with even Amazon running trials.

Like ROLL-E, the Amazon robot has been designed to make Last Mile deliveries more efficient, while using current infrastructure (sidewalks, crosswalks, even paths through parks) without being obtrusive.

Products like ROLL-E will play a significant role in the future both by delivering securely and safely – and helping to ease the burden of that last, critical mile.

If you’re interested in what ROLL-E might do for your company, you can get more information (and possibly even drive it remotely!) by contacting Luke Corbeth here.