Many drones require more manpower to operate them than an actual aircraft. In an interview with Geektime at Microsoft’s Think Next conference, ThirdEye introduces an autonomous drone that can protect your house while you sleep
You’re a fire chief and you’ve been summoned to a large blazing residential building. Most of the residents have escaped but you need to scour the building, floor by floor, to make sure no one is left inside. You’re short on manpower and you need everything you’ve got to fight the fire, plus the halls of the building are thick with smoke.
Lior Segal, CEO of Israeli startup ThirdEye Systems, says one possible solution would be autonomous drones. Most drones are pretty dumb, and need a human being to control them remotely, but ThirdEye has developed a system that allows drones to follow autonomous routes, detecting human beings and where they are located.
A fleet of autonomous drones could be sent through the building (each system costs only $500), detecting people or animals much faster than a human firefighter could. Because the drones are autonomous, one person could operate several at the same time.
ThirdEye will go to market in six months, but has already been deployed with several demo customers.
Just in time, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has issued rules permitting autonomous drones as long as the entire system is ultimately controlled by a human.
What can you do with an intelligent drone?
In an interview with Geektime’s Simona Weinglass at Microsoft’s Think Next conference in Tel Aviv, Segal enumerated other potential applications for the technology.
“A company that wants to make a safe delivery and doesn’t want to fly over people or hit them. ThirdEye is a kind of Mobileye for drones that prevents it from hitting obstacles.”
ThirdEye could also be used by security companies that want to replace their patrols and use the drone to scan an area continuously, even when the operators are asleep.
At $500 per system, ThirdEye could even be used by residential users who want to guard their home against burglars.
“Let’s say you hear something suspicious in your garage, you can send the drone over.”
But first, says Segal, the system will be targeted at business and institutional users.
“We have thermal capability as well as a visual capability, so you get a really unique combination.”