#080 – senseFly's Newest Drones – eBee X and ANAFI Work



yo and thanks for tuning into commercial drones FM this is your last reminder to check out the commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas Nevada and just a couple of weeks from now it's from October 1st to the 3rd so I'll be there excited as usual to learn all about the latest updates in the industry here from the great speakers chat with the exhibitors and just kind of be walking around floating going to be hosting also a little poolside Cabana with some drinks one of the nights after the show so be sure to stop by that at the Westgate I'm gonna have a microphone and I'll be asking for your thoughts so hopefully you can you know get your voice and your thoughts onto the podcast after you've had a few so again it's October 1st to the 3rd in Las Vegas Nevada snag your ticket now at Expo UAV com see you there welcome to commercial drones that 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 hey everybody and welcome to commercial drones FM I'm sitting down in San Francisco with Jean Tomas Alette he is the chief strategy and product officer for parrot business solutions whom you may know a little company called cents fly is a part of so welcome to the show welcome to commercial drones FM's John Toma thank you for having me in my pleasure and so we're gonna just make this easier we're gonna call you JT so Johnny laws now JT so that's what we'll refer to you as during the podcast so thank you so much again for coming and for having me here at the parrot office in San Francisco now can you just kick this off can you tell us a little bit about yourself how you got into drones and what it is that you do at parrot and and how it's relevant for the commercial drone industry so yeah currently I'm responsible at the parrot group for the strategy of our b2b business as well as the the product management and customer experience of our b2b drone products so especially the parrot products in b2b and the sense fly products in b2b so how did I come to there that's actually it's actually a long story but I think always I've really enjoyed technology since since growing up and I've really had the the mindset of technology is there to make our lives easier and to make work and things like that more efficient that was really the driving force that's why I went to get a master's in computer science and if I recall one of my professors he actually said back then you know technology is there to basically give us paradise like conditions on earth that let me say yeah and so right after that I I moved a little bit away from the technology space and and joined one of the top for strategy consulting companies worked a lot with either technology companies across Europe on the most strategic agenda or did a lot of business transformation digital transformation for non tech companies so that's really my background in that for over 10 years and then metrology stuff was the founder Jean Christophe Jeffrey who is the founder of sense fly and that's how I got to sense fly a bit more more than three years ago and then evolved into a group into a group kind of role in the parrot group awesome until you are you a software engineer like they are you yeah yeah it's it's been a long time since I coded but it's handy to have it's like you know you feel like a hybrid role so I'm sure it helps with the product side of things something does it does it helps to communicate with engineers to really understand you know what are the difficulties and things like that absolutely and so for the audience so a lot of people might not be aware of this but can you give us can you tell us what is the relationship between sense fly and parrot so since fly I mean since when I was founded in 2010 right and and back then really revolutionized I think the a the commercial drone industry but mapping in specifics and and changed the way people approach mapping from really like doing point-to-point measurements to really going to aerial mapping and photogrammetry and all that so I think that was really the driving force that's that sends fly kind of the weight sense right the way things were being done also together with with the sister company picks for D and that interested or sparked the interest of of parrot who was back then already in the drone space so there they are AR Drone out and the AR to drone out and and then they invested into sense fly in 2012 a little bit later they invested in pics 4d and then now both companies are almost a hundred percent owned by the parent group so majority ownership in the parrot umbrella exactly exactly well that's really interesting yeah and so we were talking earlier and I learned something new and I don't know if I heard about this and I just forgot that I was just I don't know what the right adjective is but I was like not shocked but just impressed they was just I open again to learn that and correct me if I'm wrong but parrot is going kind of full blown into drones and like making that like the big like Northstar product line that they're going to be tackling and so can you just keep like give us a little background there cuz parrot I knew from living in France you guys made like consumer electronics like there was like a smart watering thing like IOT device these these bluetooth headphones called the parrot Zeek that I used to see you know all these businessmen wearing on the way on the metro and Toulouse on the way to work you know in France and and elsewhere in Europe and so yeah give us a little bit about the the idea behind that and is this a full-blown like parrot is now straight-up like a drone company so absolutely parrot we really look at parrot SD end-to-end drone group out there yeah that does everything from the drones obviously to the sensors to the software for the processing and we and we even have subsidiaries that to kind of service with drones now so we really end-to-end we're doing the the entire spectrum of activities that you find in the drone space so parrot I mean it was founded in the 90s and and really always had the DNA of a tech company as you said I mean we had and and free kids for cars we had we had a lot of different technologies as you said them and we said now really the growth industry that we're looking at is the drone industry and I think we all agree on that and and that's why we said let's focus 100% of this and really do it right awesome and so you guys obviously you saw recreational products you mentioned the AR Drone that was like one of the first really successful drones like kind of indoor bass that was sold and like Best Buy of sold in all the different electronic stores around the world but now of course there's a big commercial focus and that's what you're focused on is the b2b side so can you tell us a little bit about I mean obviously we've got senseful I they make a number of products there's a multi-rotor there's a fixed-wing can you can you kind of describe a little bit of the businesses and the customers who are using these products and and how they're using them and maybe you have some I don't know case study or story or something that you can tell just that illustrates that a little bit absolutely so since that has always as you say has always been a b2b drone company so we've always focused at cents fly on on working with professional customers and that really ranges across across a broad range of industries mainly in the mapping area and also in the inspection area so especially for customers using mapping you have like industries like mining you have industries like construction you have land mapping you have converse conservation you have agriculture and then you have the whole inspections base which really applies again to construction like in Heavy Industries as well as like energy telco and in these different industries so this is where our customers come from and to name a couple I mean Auto to talk a little bit about the the interesting case studies we've had I mean one you've probably heard of is we've mapped the entire island of Zanzibar with with one of our customers didn't know that I remember the matterhorn mapping the matterhorn that sense fly eb video from like 2013 that thing was amazing exactly and maybe that was an in partnership with like pits picks for d2 or something but it's always I mean most of what we do is in partnership with a lot of what we do is in partnership with fix for D because it sense fly does the image acquisition and then you need photogrammetry software that that basically converts the images into 3d models for most of the use cases that we have especially when you're talking about mapping and that's where pix 4d comes in and picks 40 is I think the the number one photogrammetry software out there the the Zanzibar project and what was that like that was like like the government's or something like needed the whole island maps or something exactly the maps of Zanzibar had really gotten out of date and we had didn't have a very high resolution and they said well we need to map the island and we're looking at manned aircraft and other solutions and then they realized okay maybe using drones this is gonna be more effective and and actually much more much cheaper and so we did that in in we helped them get started gave them units the World Bank was also heavily involved into that project and but at the end of the day it was really also about educating the local population the students from the University there to get into mapping projects and to basically do the mapping themselves so we helped them get started we provided obviously the units but then the mapping work itself was done by by the locals which i think is a great story that is yeah that's really cool and you know when I think about EB like to me EB is like legendary in the end commercial drone ecosystem and in the history the relatively short history I mean this is one of the products that really kind of pushed out photogrammetry to the masses I think and made it easy to use it was one of the one of the first like hand launched a bull fixed-wing still easy to use of course but like you know you still have the laptop that you had to use with it but like that was just like a stepping stones to get to where we where we are today and I just you know EB has been such a strong product strong brand in the commercial space and so it's really cool to just have seen the evolution of it I mean I remember like there was only one version back in the day then you guys release like an Ag version and you released another version and then you came out with the soda camera which is a specific you know camera dedicated that you created for photogrammetry so you guys keeping in that theme have just launched some new products so can you tell us a little bit about those I mean what are we looking at here we've got we've got a smaller one if we got a bigger one exactly so as parrot business business solutions we've we've launched the nfe work which is basically based on the nfe drone that was relays released in in june this year and it's it's the an effete drone with everything you needed you need to make it really a professional great role now so – – its d– drone that any business can basically use to get started with drones and to really get actionable data and results out of that role so what does it what does it container what does it do it's it's the nfu drone as I said it has a it has an improved packaging you get a nice bag with it you get four batteries with it which gives you a total flight time of one hour and 40 minutes which is pretty cool you can do a lot of you can do a lot of flying with that you do a ton of that yeah and I mean the nfe itself has it's a really good drone because it has it has a very high resolution sensor despite its very very low weight so you're talking 20 megapixels here and at the same time it's 320 grams and that allows you to do really high quality imagery pictures especially but also videos and that's without obstructing without putting anybody in dangerous you can fly over over cities depending on the legislation on the country you're in etc but and you're not you're not putting anybody attain in danger and at the same time the drone is very very quiet which also means that people don't feel harassed by the drone that's a yes that's that's pretty awesome and we also put into it a version of pics for these pics for the model so so pics for the model allows you to do 3d reconstruction and and basically map houses map buildings and these type of things put them into 3d so it's in its it's a it's a drone that's that's very good from its performance perspective in the in terms of resolution etc and at the same time you can you can get started building 3d models doing mapping and and things like that and all of that for 1099 bucks so it's really it's really a very attractive offer and it's it's really there to inspire everybody to get to get going with drones to bring drones in their businesses if they haven't already and 1099 so that includes like a license for the pics 4d model exactly the includes one year of pix fadi model it includes as I said the four batteries a charger the drone itself packaging etc so it's a it's a pretty neat package that is nice yeah and I guess you just need like there's an app for it like on the smartphone well I'm cheating because I'm looking at I'm looking at the drone behind your right shoulder right now and I'm actually so I am you know I'm familiar obviously you got to look at DJI they're the juggernaut the behemoth whatever they're there you know just everywhere this the size of the Navi seems even smaller than the Mavic which is already pretty small so that's excellent that you have an even smaller footprint and so the arms fold in to make it more portable and everything as well the arms fold in it's as I said 320 grams so it's superlight Wow okay excellent great so yes that's the smaller of the two this products that we're talking about so what's the bigger one so the bigger one is you mentioned the eb a couple of minutes ago and basically I think the EB has really revolutionized the mapping industry and the geospatial industry really a couple times over I mean when it started has really made mapping and photogrammetry approachable then we introduced our TK on the EB in in 2014 I think that was with the eb r TK so that allows you to get your accuracy of the GPS basically to three centimetres versus the typical five meters that you get when you when you have a non-article role so that was really a game changer because people didn't need to do ground control points and stuff like that to to get there to get their models calibrated anymore hmm and and now so then we have the e b-plus which we released in 2016 with the flight under 50 59 minutes you mentioned the soda camera that was also one of the big innovations that we had really one sensor that was dedicated to doing photogrammetry work and doing mapping work and and now we're releasing the e vxa which is which is super exciting yeah super exciting okay so what is the EBX like is this like a hybrid version honestly like right now just for the audience I have no idea the x's right now I'm under NDA because we're recording this and a little bit in advance but this is this is exciting it is exciting I mean the EBX is basically it's it's a revolution on all the on all the different aspects of the EBR so take the sensors we've we've talked about the solar sensor now we have we basically have a have dbx that comes with the three sensors three new sensors like swappable and there's more sensors available to all the historic sensors the parrot Sequoia the sword etc so that corridor they are all still you can put them into an EBX but you have three new sensors and these are really exciting so first you have you have soda 3d and that's that's really a game changer because basically take a soda camera and the soda camera basically tilts from left to right so rather than having just not your pictures so pictures that look straight down and you also have pictures looking left and right which means when you do when you do mapping you also capture vertical surfaces Wow okay so you get the vertical surfaces you have 3d models that reconstruct you can fly over a city and basically perfectly reconstruct all the buildings all the skyscrapers that's amazing with textures on the vertical surfaces thank you thank you for doing this this is very meaningful actually like okay I have to stop this and just like going oh it's tiny little rant so I've been in drones for like over five years photogrammetry has been the same almost throughout the last five years like photogrammetry is very high technology very complex thing and for the part in the in the terms and in the view of an end-user who wants to just get you know do photogrammetry to either get an ortho mosaic or a 3d model it has been largely just kind of the same like sure processing times have advanced resolution has gone up reconstruction accuracy has gone up but like there haven't been big changes to the whole process so this sounds incredibly interesting so that wall the wall the wall the drone is flying it's kind of like it's pattern to do its coverage the camera is like going into multiple positions and just kind of like going back and forth as the drone flies like left exactly it's exactly how it works yeah Wow and that basically so it can when it looks to the left or when it looks to the right it will look at the facades of buildings rather than just looking at the tops of buildings and that that changes everything everything as you say geez okay and have you've seen the data from this and it's like oh yeah we have we have a lot of samples I can I can show me those maybe I can put it on like some screenshots or whatever on to the absolutely awesome things yeah cool we have a lot of links actually I wait a bit on pics 4d so you can look into into pics 4d and get it on that cloud and have the the 3d models that were done with soda 3d nice okay awesome two more sensors the sensors to talk about exactly so then we have area X that's basically it's the other evolution of the soda sensor so soda was a one inch 20 megapixel sensor and that was already pretty good to do good photogrammetry work right it was I think it was a little bit of a revolution when it came out so now we've increased the sensor size to an aps-c so what does it mean aps-c that's the type of sensor size you get in a lot of actually most of the DSLR cameras that you buy off-the-shelf today so that means much higher image quality much my much more light that goes onto the sensor which allows you to really do mapping for much longer periods of time you can map in the dawn you can map in the dusk the the way the the data you get back is is much more precise much more much more accurate in the images it reconstructs very very well so even better than the reconstructions that we had with us with a soda camera 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 thermal imaging for commercial drone operations is undeniable so I want to use this podcast as a platform to dive deep into the world of heat and seek out the best practices and the unique use cases that make thermal imaging sensors the most drone ready payload for commercial drone applications right next to RGB cameras so join us over the coming months as we invite FLIR and their customers into our studio to discuss the technical and practical uses of their groundbreaking efforts and aerial thermal imagery this episode of commercial drones FM is brought to you by devran UAS Devron UAS offers enterprise drone services for farmland across North America I recently spoke with bond well one of Devin's largest customers so my name is Jennifer Thompson I work for bond well America's long life we're a vegetable processor bondo is a very large company with 54 plants in the world here in North America we have 11 plants doing frozen and canned vegetables so naturally I wanted to know how is devran helping one of the largest vegetable processors in the world by using drone technology so we used a Burin 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 card I will eat stew be 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 Devron UAS comm / drones FM and see for yourself how devran is leading collaboration in agriculture with drones that's Dever on UAS comm / drones FM ok back to the show so the difference of this and I'm just thinking so the soda 3d then the one that we just talked about previously that moves left to right as the drones flying that one is the mechanical motor that moves it back and forth that's embedded in the camera so you're not going to get that with every single sensor you're not going to get that motion exactly it's it's it's basically a soda camera as you as you know it from the EB Plus that has been there is basically integrated in something bigger a bigger type of camera sets that makes it move left and right gotcha so you're not gonna get that functionality with the area X no no X obviously you're talking a bigger talking a big a camera heavy a camera but it's I think it's it's the first time that we really get such a such a big sense into such a good sensor into into a fixed-wing like the EB yeah yeah those can make just a ton a ton of difference especially with the resolution just the final quality of the result I mean if you're looking for for high quality ortho mosaics now I'm at I'm imagining with the new EB X does that have the option for RT K or as RT K standard on this we basically continue having the option so on the EB plus you could activate our TK exposed okay for basically when you buy it and that remains the same so every EBX you can turn on RT k if you want the high you don't have to purchase it right off the bat you can activate it later on you can activate it later on we give you a discount obviously if you purchase it right yeah bad yeah yeah makes sense okay and then so we've got one more sensor then or sensei which is also a really exciting one it's called the do it T and do it t I mean as the name suggests it's basically an assembly of two senses so we have once again the solar sensor which is with 80 grams basically gives you the the RGB imagery facing down this time so no tilting left and right and and next to that we have a high resolution thermal sensor nice which is hoping the T stand for stood for T stands for thermal exactly okay so with that you can get you can get Auto mosaics you can get 3d models with a very high accuracy and precision that you get with the solar sensor except now they have the thermal information on top of them as well and I'm just thinking of like so what is that so the application for this may be like huge solar farm exactly solar farms you want to fly over industrial zones see where where heat is dissipating you want to fly over residential zones to check if if houses are properly isolated all these type of applications that where you we really want to look at something and both have the RGB imagery and the synchronized thermal imagery or anything where you want to build a 3d model where way on the 3d model except except of except that you see the instead of seeing the RGB imagery you see how warm every surface of the 3d model is jeez okay this is big big stuff and did we even talked about the EBX that we enter in to save the best for last the whole platform carrying all these awesome that can carry one of these awesome sensors at a time just so the audience is clear you have to swap them out but so yeah tell us the the EBX you buy one EBX and you could get all three sensors if you wanted to and swap them out yeah obviously that's what we want customers to get to get multiple sensors yeah well you have one sensor basically for each type of job if you want to very high if you want to have very high results that some of our professional customers wants to want to get but so talking about the EBX that itself so we have the sensor evolution with with all these new application cases that are coming out and the EBX itself also has been completely revamped I might say so we have a big increase in flight time basically now with the endurance activation that's what we call it you have to you have to get it separately from the from the EBX but you get an activation and it allows you to fly up to 90 minutes so we are up 50% from the 59 minutes we increase the coverage from 220 hector's to 500 hector's so given where in the u.s. I think that's 360 acres or something 1000 I'm sorry 135 hectare I went the wrong way and the conversion okay one thousand roughly one thousand acres over one thousand one hundred thirty-five I think is the exact numbers in which is which is which is pretty big announcing acres in a flight Wow over a thousand acres in the flight exactly nice that's awesome okay you have the extended flight time yesterday and launch of all it's still hand launched the bill I mean it launches smoother than ever it has it has also then a huge improvement on the usability on the landing site on a landing side instead we basically reduced the space you need for landing by two-thirds a so it's the approach zone is significantly reduced you can you can land in much smaller areas now and that's because of a new technology we call it steep landing and it basically the the plane comes down at a very steep angle to the ground and then it flares at the very end and then like plops down it yeah it doesn't flare but it it just touches very smoothly at the end the ground yeah this is the the the the neat the the need for big a learning spaces I have a confession to make I've never actually flown an EB oh you should you should I know like what is going on here I'm so familiar with the product I feel like I have I've held it in my hands many times but actually never got to get to launch one but that's really cool I mean you see like the classic version of this is like someone from like you know that might work in like accounting or something at a business can come out you know where their business clothes that they would wear to the office and like just like launch the launch the drone because fixed-wing drones like the whole the whole challenge there is like the accessibility factor that's why the multi rotors are so popular I mean as everybody knows is they're just easy you just press a button and it takes off but with this it involves a little bit more coordination you got to find a takeoff spot a landing zone with the fixed-wing drone and so that's something that I bee always did incredibly well because anyone can do it and now that the the takeoff zone is even you know more small that you have to worry about that just makes it that much more accessible so yeah the takeoff and landing are much easier the product is super easy to use is super versatile at the same time and and it's also a much more durable I mean II bees were durable before I mean we just we just released a blog post on on our Waypoint blog about one of our customers I think in Uruguay who did a thousand flights on his EB so on one unit 1000 flights but it was like a foam fuselage kind of like I don't know what it's not foam it's called EPP there we go yeah I was I don't want to diminish what it actually is but yeah it's slightly soft but also very strong material that we use they're nice and we took that I mean we also took the durability to the next level with the EB XS and now it has inside it has it has a fuselage that basically contains all the important things like the autopilot where the cameras get inserted in the the engine etc and and and so that's that's more more more robust per se but also the the underbody now is also made with the new material so you can land a hundred times over on land on a mine site in in gravel basically and it won't be an issue very important yeah and and the whole concept is much more modular so if you if you're one of those persons that does like a thousand flights there's parts after one hundred hours that you need to replace these are easily replaceable now and so no more yeah it's just basically a couple of of crews and you can for example change a change a pitot tube cool really exciting that's those are some great great improvements now there is another product that you guys sell the al Burris I asked the commercial drones FM audience if they had any questions and there was one specifically about this product and is there potentially or can you share any type of potential roof-like product line refresh or upgrade and the specific concern was that the sensor was maybe a little bit small for these days like now you see that there's these really nice high resolution sensors unlike the Navi is there anything planned or can you share anything about the al Burris line for any upcoming or impending improvements to that so I cannot annika I cannot share obviously the the the future long-term roadmap I mean we've been working really hard on on the EBX for the last year over a year I think where we really made that product the next thing so I can I can I can be bought it's not gonna be a new big multi Road in the next six months as you can imagine but the al Burris I think the office continues to stay a very relevant drone now especially because it combines the thermal imagery the 14 megapixel imagery from the entire GT Gordon it's yeah it's 40 megapixels you can look up it's still used a lot for bridge inspections for example I mean the the Minnesota Department of Transportation they use it for the bridge inspections underneath the bridges right it's it's basically they used to use what you call new coat racks so these are basically trucks that have an arm and the arm basically bends under the bridge wraps underneath it exactly which means you have to you know you have to stop traffic you have to you have to close the bridge for the time of the inspection it's super kind of cumbersome for everybody and now they they're using for example they're one of the big customers that we have in the Orbis and they're doing the the bridge inspection with the our bridge in basically no downtime for the bridge and and I think they saved something like two thirds of the of the cost at the same time so the obvious remains relevant you have the orbits really as as the high-end multi-rotor drone that that we have in the portfolio and the Anna feed now the nfe work that is really the that is really more the I might say entry-level but it's more than entry-level now it's a it's a very good drone already to get everybody started in to have the drone that you can use in every business situation and I even have to say like some of the promo videos I've seen of just like the recreational version with like the zoom that it has also look like really freaking cool so very nice great to see these updates sense why I've been around since 2010 I mean that's an eternity it's almost coming up I'm like a ten-year anniversary and like the next like year and a half or so so very very cool really excited to start hearing about you know the customers in the field using these new updates to the anafi and to the EBX I'll be very interested to see the data so please do share that with me and then we'll post it on the website if you guys that are listening if you want to learn more about parrot and cents fly go to parrot calm and cents fly calm respectively you can also find them on Twitter I'm sure at the exact same handle so JT Zhang Tama it was great to have you on the show thank you so much for joining and we'll be watching and looking forward to what you guys come out with next yeah I thank you you know it was really a pleasure talking with you I really enjoyed it thank you excellent likewise so we are now gonna cut off the mics everyone fly safe Cheers you

In September 2018, Parrot Group’s senseFly released some exciting new professional drones – the eBee X and the ANAFI Work – along with several new camera options. Jean-Thomas Célette, Chief Strategy & Product Officer at Parrot Group, joins Ian to provide an overview of the new drones and camera options from senseFly.

New products include:

eBee X drone
ANAFI Work drone

Aeria X camera
Duet T camera
S.O.D.A. 3D camera

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