#071 – Security Drones with Jack Wu, CEO of Nightingale Security



join attendees from Shell Exxon Mobil Chevron Duke Energy and 800 more energy UAV leaders at the second annual energy drone coalition summit in Houston Texas on June 19th to the 21st visit Energy drone coalition dot-com to learn more and get your ticket welcome to commercial drones fm the podcast that explores the commercial drone industry the people who power it and the concepts that drive it I'm your host Ian Smith Ian Smith comin at you from San Francisco California and today I'm here with Jack Wu the CEO and co-founder of nightingale security a robotic aerial security startup so welcome to the show Jack it's a pleasure to have you thank you yeah thanks for being here first of all I want to draw attention to the the way that I introduce you so the the tagline was a robotic aerial security startup and so we did chat about this just briefly before we hit the record button but can you tell us a little bit about you know this is a commercial drones FM it's a drone podcast but you made a very nice distinction about the way you refer to yourselves as and maybe you could share that with us to kick us off yeah sure so we call ourselves robotic aerial securities because we use robotic technology and we apply that to an aerial platform and we focus the application on security ok so it's not just drones those what you're saying like it's just gonna be robots in the future you know yeah I think how we refer to computers these days as machines instead of write a computing machine just like how computer technologies and doesn't consider just hardware there's also software right in their selves through the UI so there's multiple components and I think robotics is the same thing so we're just using it for security cool and so what is nightingale security then I mean what is this company I know I've met a couple of your colleagues previously it must have been at least like a year and a half ago or so in an event here in SF but yeah tell us a little bit about the company and what it does ok so we operate in the physical security space we have about 17 people our product is rasz robotic aerial security it consists of a drone and a base station that enables autonomous operations autonomous takeoff landings at pre-planned missions and the software that does the fleet management it includes machine learning directly on the base so these space stations are actually edge base parallel computing network as well gotcha so it is kind of so I refer to these the you know listeners will know as drones in a box kind of for lack of a better term basically this is one of the scenarios where there's essentially like a home base station like you said and the drone lives inside of it quote-unquote and that's just kind of like its base of operations that's right it lands in it and then it takes off from it yeah I mean you can see it as like Burke and its nest yeah okay there we go is that are those the product now that's actually internal phrases we call it Birds we call our drones Birds and our basis nests and so Nightingale is the type of birds nesting zenite very poignant oh that sings at night so that's what the nightingale is okay I don't think I have any of those around me pacific center over here it was also a nurse in World War one that helped healed a lot of Allied soldiers Florence bingo okay there we go okay so it's coming together yeah great great inspiration for the name there and tell us a little bit more about the company then like you know how many employees roughly roughly and like where you guys pre-revenue post revenue yeah so we're 17 about to be 18 employees we are post revenue nice that's awesome and let's kind of back up a little bit and what about yourself I mean how did you get into drones I got it at drones because as a kid I grew up in Taiwan until I was nine and I lived right next door to an Air Force Base and that happened to be there so a Taiwan is the only place outside the United States to operator the you tube which is the u-2 spy plane and they used to do spy missions over China so living right next to the airbase I see a lot of aircraft coming in now anyway long story short I'm into tactical is our Intelligence Surveillance reconnaissance okay so what does that mean exactly I it just means that you know a lot of time people are spent you know in the security space or in the military watching things so things that you have to be aware of before you can take action and in physical security it's the same thing that's why there are so many cameras so we're just performing some tasks that existing cameras can't do like patrolling Y you know perimeter like a five-mile perimeter but that's it's got challenging terrains so the guards may not be able to get there very quickly or do it efficiently and you know cost-effectively so we come in and we fill that gap yeah yeah and so that gets into the next kind of question that I had like what are these security drones used for I mean you can say security drones but is this like a military security drone is it's like four well a non-military I mean hi what's the deal here it's well it's it's it's like paramilitary I would say that type of mission that it conducts our tactical is our missions over a fixed location so it's perimeter security Rapid Response and the drones they talk to each other via our 2d 2d relay – drone – drone so it's a communication it's a homage to r2d2 okay like our 2d 2d relay – drum – drone okay jeez you guys got all the cool names Nightingale and r2d2 going on yeah that's part of our patent we actually have a patent on the entire system so it you're you're drawing in a box where that drum in a box for security patent okay that's the first one that we've had on this show so yeah you're this so now you'd like the second kind of like quote-unquote drone in a box company to be a guest here so that's really cool because I think that is like the future of drones there just gonna fly themselves and so how are how is this gonna change the security industry though like if you look at the current method of doing security for your types of clients like what is the big efficiency gain or safety gain or like security gain that we're really seeing here and how is that changing the game yeah so going back to what I was mentioning about patrolling a large perimeter there are specific missions that simply cannot be done with human guards humans can only walk we can't fly even if we're in a vehicle there are terrains that we simply can't pass hmm so a drones being terrain insensitive almost if you fly high enough you're able to see more and provide a different vantage point and cover large areas very quickly so we see ourselves as a force multiplier where we come in and we augment the existing you know human guards and give them new capabilities and so they can be a multiple place at once and also don't have to labor with false alarms because the drone is just as enthusiastic on the 1000th false alarm as it is with the first one that's a great point it's like as far as potential clients go are we talking like Elon Musk Bill Gates dr. evil kind of stuff like like what industries are using this and are there any like deployments kind of just like super generalized because obviously what makes you think they're now already my customers any that you can share just like a general like a set up like yeah you know I'm imagining like are there a bunch of these nests kind of located all around a large area like a sensitive piece of infrastructure or could this be at someone's house and you know they have like a compound of a house and they want it to just fly around if they sense something so it's it's funny that you used those two examples because they're like right on because I was not in your I'm you know not in my head when I was listening to you so large industrial and commercial facilities where again it's difficult for humans to cover that large area and or it's too dangerous where you want to make sure you know what's going on you have situational awareness prior to engaging that potential threat so it could be like a power plant or something you know you could have energy exploration extraction and transmission you could have manufacturing you know sometimes you have data centers you have you know essentially the critical infrastructures on the commercial side and on the military side a military basis or forward operating bases fo B's mmm okay and what about what about Bill Gates's house or Elon is Muslim right I mean like could this what about the residential side of the thing like yes well you know we'll be happy to be there right I mean there's no reason not to you know especially if we can use them as a reference but we we are in fact in an Eastern European country an allied of the United States where there is an oligarch that we are there's it's a it's a great compound you know the compound has its own telescope to like you know what are those things where people could look up in the sky like late at night Oh tell us go no no it's like a real observatory oh yeah yeah it was pretty cool yeah I mean it's an ala carte you know it's a helicopter pads the helicopter hangars it's actually really cool I've been there Paris perks of the job yeah so individuals yes but I would say those are exceptions is because he actually has a factory that's right next door so we ended up also patrolling his private residence could you walk us through like the scenario here like look to pretend I'm a criminal and I'm like okay you know I want to you know I'm gonna go I'm gonna find a big bench and I'm gonna break in through the side door because I know maybe no one's home or they're sleeping and I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna steal all the jewels and I'm gonna make off like a bandit and then you know sell it later on like what is happening in maybe like a totally hypothetical security setup that that this the system would with so yeah how would the drums deployed in this scenario so so that so the type of criminal activities or the threat level that our customers are facing are much greater than that because these are you know larger so you're saying I'm unintimidating as a well well I'm just saying that I think Jules is a personal problem whereas if you have a publicly traded company and you have a security breached caused damage just to restart your plant could cost you millions of dollars not not counting the cost of pause the operation so I'll give you an example so if if it was an open pit mining operation we have seen potential threats coming and fully armed you know in other parts of the world where are these big mines these guys would come in and if it's gold they'll still gold if it's platinum they'll still platinum could be done they roll out a piece of carpet they cut open the pressurized pipes they get the slush mix with minerals and you know sometimes people die because the pressurized pipe explodes and it hits the person that's cutting it Wow yeah these are all real and the the company has to make sure that they can patrol the entire area but the but the area is massive it's like five six square miles yeah you know sometimes like a quarter the size of San Francisco so you're you're looking at areas that they just can't do it with people you can't hire enough people and the economics just doesn't work this episode of commercial drones FM is brought to you by FLIR pretty much everyone in the commercial drone world knows about FLIR's thermal imaging technologies and may even have a basic understanding of how their sensors work at commercial drones fm we think this technology is deserving of the spotlight to reveal some of the incredible things thermal imaging drones can accomplish drones equipped with thermal imagers offer a way to see the world from a different perspective which can help identify infrastructure problems locate missing people and increase safety and efficiency across a variety of industries the value of 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devran helping one of the largest vegetable processors in the world by using drone technology so we used everyone to service and support our precision agricultural needs for us it's not easy to have our own iron fly our own drones to gather crop data so Devron is ready and available to work for us when needed we fly thousands of acres and managing those acres it just works very easily with them in our fast-paced growing season they're not just providing data they're helping to solve issues and find solutions well that's very important work but what's your favorite crop to eat my favorite crop to eat a sweet cord I will eat sweet corn 365 days of the year I'm not sure if I've ever eaten sweet corn yet that was monitored by drone to learn more visit Dever on UAS comm slash drones fm and see for yourself how devran is leading collaboration and agriculture with drones that's Devron UAS comm / drones fm ok back to the show and I'm sure these criminals are also attempting this probably not on a sunny you know cloudless day it's probably at night where it's very dark and that brings me to my next question what kind of sensors I mean what do you equip these drones with and so in my really lame scenario that I had played out in my head before this I'm Elon Musk and of course what am I gonna do if I stick a few of my flamethrowers on it and then I'm just gonna make sure that you know oh yeah blast someone with some hot air it'll be awesome to be able to raise money like Elon selling flamethrower yeah that's dope are you guys like I mean is there gonna be like an infrared camera on this is there gonna be maybe like a spotlight on the drone that's gonna like identify the sow and all so when it comes to payload types it really is based on the type of mission we want to you know be able to you know execute and because we are an early-stage company we want to make sure we standardize our product so this way we don't have there a very complicated product to support with the limited resources we have yeah so it includes thermal camera it includes at daytime RGB and we have other you know sensors on there for our next generation that's coming up that's going to be able to provide since Ted avoid dynamically excellent swell and so you know that like okay so in in this scenario then so the criminals there I mean right now like is this fully automated obviously this depends on regulation heavily and so one of my next questions was going to try to cover the okay what if the drone is flying at night and it's beyond visual line of sight of course because I think the true efficiency gains in my opinion here are when this is a fully automated system maybe it patrols like constantly you're a randomly at random intervals or it's triggered by something else that it integrates with like maybe a security camera and then the drone will take off and investigate an area so maybe you can talk about the potential ways of like integrating with systems there and then then we'll talk about yeah regulatory sure sure of course we all have to deal with that so on the integration side we integrate with two two classes of Technology one is sensors so like perimeter sensors it to be optical it could be kinetic you know interesting yeah like it could be something that gets tripped yeah these are yeah or translated Joan or Catherine zeta-jones she gives me the lasers radar right there's a ground-based radar that could help you detect you know people I'm not interested in yeah I wouldn't really do that kind of cool it is really cool I mean that's why I really enjoy you know working on this so when the perimeter sensor goes off we go into a rapid reaction mode so we rapidly respond to the incident bird gets ready boom takes off goes there and they provide situational awareness with the live video to the entire team yeah I so you could just like pull out like I don't know we like a some type of mobile device that you have on you if you're part of the security team and then get that live view maybe that's right for red wow okay that that's right so we have mobile and we also have PC and in areas where it's network challenged we use 2lt okay so so the system could work solely with LTE and do you guys do any larger events like like big events like Olympics or things like this at this time I mean you know there's huge you know televised big things happening oh no no we don't have any plans on dealing with events we're more of a fixed location type of operation so areas where we can be deployed and established therefore for a long time that's that that's one market okay and and right now so going back to the the regulatory component of course you know as I mentioned you know most of these criminals I'm sure operating at night or unless they're really sneaky they don't you know they they think that you're gonna be expecting them at night so they go in during the day but I still have this you know if this is an automated drone system yeah this is a fully automated system we you know I'm sure it is or will be where it whenever allowed there's beyond visual line of sight regulations to worry about this and there's no human operating the drone so can you just talk to us a little bit about the I'm sure this is a big challenge for you guys you know what are you seeing right now as far as this goes and how much human interaction is there versus like automated currently yeah I'm sure you asked the question of regarding beef loss on every single podcast come upon my three quarters they're going to be yes we've beaten into death so so you know obviously a fully autonomous operation was the intent of the system but as a business we operate within a specific regulated market and that regulated market have rules that tells us that we can't yet operate completely beyond visual line of sight so we have created CONOPS a concept of operation with our customers and we practice those CONOPS as part of our operational training on how to comply with the within visual line of sight and still be able to achieve the the tactical objective of you know getting it there quickly be able to provide live video and you know a lot of our customers are ex-military guys you know they just end up with security and they're very familiar with drone technology and actually more familiar I would say than average civilians and they've seen the benefits of drones firsthand so to them the value it doesn't need to be proven it's more about the products capabilities yeah yeah and I think I will say this like you know if I'm putting myself in the boots of one of those you know security professionals that's tasked with you know making sure an area is secure you know a normal drone if you just think about the normal drones that we think of like I don't know just like grabbing a DJI drone or something the fact that most likely it's not just sitting there ready ready to go at a moment's notice like even if there is that human element of control like they're able to just okay we need ok dispatch the drone immediately press the button boom it's up and it's flying because it's sitting in his nest and then it goes out and then it finds whatever they need to do now all of a sudden all these people are aware of you know more situational awareness yeah they have that capability but it won't be a DJI in the security space because they're a bunch of Chinese security camera manufacturers one is called hikvision MHI ke and it's publicly known that there's a back door there's no specific evidence that points to actual data being taken or transferred overseas but the back door that that part is the interest thing so you know most of our customers there being in the security business you know they wouldn't want to you know compromise or get put themselves in a situation of using that product they actually call a hack vision instead of hikvision so the industry slang yeah so Chinese drones I would say that in the physical security space it's it's going to be challenging yeah you know I can make a crazy product oh yeah oh yeah that's this hands down but okay so then all the hardware that you guys are like basically owning like pretty much the full stack for the hardware the software just doing as much as you can in house the best yeah I mean we have partners we have a partner that's a strategic investor they do a few billion dollars in contract manufacturing and they're out of Taiwan and we do all the research here we do the development here and we work with them on getting a built so they do what they do best and we do what we do best they're on our cap table so you know obviously our interest is aligned that we want to develop this market and and they're seeing for his hand just you know how many unit that's sold so as an investor they have the ultimate metric that's where are you guys seeing the most traction right now as far as like I don't know maybe if you broke it down by either industry or country or like I don't know what kind of idea can you give us right now yeah it's going it's kind of hard to do cross by industry because security as an application is cross industry yeah because you're an industry yeah yeah exactly right it's like customer service you know you could be a manufacturer or you could be a software company you all you both have customer service so security is one of those in terms of geography as an American company we're going to focus in North America just because think is a great market first of all and also logistically it is just a lot more efficient for us and culturally we know our customers really well and our you know customer you know have our respect so the way we work with them is we work together on developing the concept of operations because we don't know everything I mean they're the industry professionals we are the solutions provider that will bring the technology to the table and what's the pricing model for this cuz for the other drones in a box drone in a box kind of solutions I've seen it kind of it's like um not really a rental I don't want to call it but it's just like a ongoing kind of fee or it's like I guess for a specific amount of time you know that it's like a lease or something for the app and yeah how does that work with you guys do you have different options it's you know we call it wrasse robot as a service there are other companies out there with some similar model it's it's it's it's very akin to SAS the idea is we provide a technology the customer pay a monthly fee and with that fee we include you know the product the service but also the maintenance repair and upgrade there we go great yeah yeah looking for cuz technology advances so that's going to be obsolete in a couple years right do you really want to invest it's like tens and thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars because you know a lot of the technology once it goes bad it's that thing's worthless no one's gonna want to buy it for you know half the price they're gonna buy it for I mean it's junk yeah so in our customers they don't really want to maintain it it's it's it's an additional expense they'd much rather not have the headache and pay less because if they maintain it themselves they're going to have to have a technician that's qualified to do that mmm-hmm so so we take care of it for them that's awesome that's cool and so what do you see it for the future of the aerial robot or a robotic aerial security space and for nightingale security what are you guys heading towards in the next couple years what can you give us on that front well we think drones are going become more intelligent just because more data is going to be collected and the environmental data that that's going to enable us to be more familiar with a specific location will also help us identify anomalies so we're going to start seeing some application specific AIS that's going to start to develop within the physical security space and not not just for drones but just you know robots in general there's already monitoring software out there and we're very partner friendly as a company you know we're we're not trying to do things that we are not good at yeah and we know we can't be good at everything so we focus on developing a great platform that's able to perform the mission as promised through our customers and then applications on top of that we're happy to partner so with video analytics we're currently looking for a video analytics partner when it comes to you know 3d volumetric measurements we have customers since we're already there our customers can ask us for stuff like that we're looking for partners to be able to do that because we want it's tough enough honestly for a company of 18 people ok to like you know take on the challenges you know I'm not going to overestimate our capabilities and uh failing right so exactly a G and a good vision and and yeah I really appreciate it jack whoo that's jack woo the CEO and co-founder of nightingale security if you are a prospective partner potentially baby you got some video analytics or anything like that you guys can wear if you're just curious you can check out the nightingale security website at wwlp.com so thanks again jack for joining us really appreciate your time and it was a pleasure learning about your company nightingale security thank you for the opportunity all right thanks everybody we're cutting off the mics Cheers

Nightingale Security is a robotic aerial security company – not a traditional drone company. But they do make robotic aerial security platforms (drones) and fleet management software that their clients deploy to help protect their assets and integrate with their existing security teams. Jack Wu is the co-founder and CEO of Nightingale Security.

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