DroneLife had a chance to catch up with the CEO and C0-Founder Keith Miao of a new drone start-up named Birdstop.io at the Commercial UAV Expo in London recently. Keith was a member of a several panels that we participated including the ROI of Drones. We caught up at the show.
The Palo Alto, California based drone start-up builds autonomous battery exchange stations for off-the-shelf commercial drones. It is one of a number of offerings that are being built to support the next phase of drone deployment that will support longer flights and heavier payloads. We would put Birdstop in the category of autonomous drone applications that we have previously written about.
Keith explained that the idea behind Birdstop is that “As the commercial drone industry expands, long range and long duration operations will become more commonplace. BVLOS operations are being tested and approved around the world. However, most multi-rotor drones only achieve 20-30 minutes of battery life. This places a large limitation on the efficacy of unmanned aerial operations. Deploying a network of Birdstop stations to automate battery management will allow drones to fly indefinitely with minimal downtime.”
How does it work? “A drone lands on the Birdstop station using computer vision. The used battery is extracted and placed into charging mode inside the station. A fresh battery is inserted into the drone and powered on. The drone takes off and continues on its mission.”
How long has Birdstop been in existence? “2018 has been focused on R&D and customer testing in agriculture. 2019 will be when our technology emerges from stealth mode and we expand use cases.”
What were you doing in London? “We were invited to speak on the panel about drone endurance. The topic was exactly fit to our company’s work so we accepted. We enjoyed the discussion with the other panelists and the audience. I also moderated a panel about increasing ROI of drone use in the enterprise. Overall a very positive experience and gained knowledge of the UAS market in UK and broader Europe.”
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