Exyn Technologies announced on Tuesday that it considered the highest level of air autonomy reached within the industry. The key to this achievement is that Exyn drones are immune to GPS signal loss, meaning that all spatial and mapping calculations are done onboard, the company said.
Under Exyn’s definitions of autonomy, which are based on a similar standard applied to motor vehicles, the company’s drones have achieved Level 4A autonomy. This means that the drones are capable of detecting a specified 3D region without a remote operator, according to Exyn.
The achievement of Exyn is a major step forward from previous Level 3 of autonomy, requiring a human being present to potentially handle, something that prevents the drone from entering the spaces without a signal.
The Level 3 Aerial Autonomy landscape is also defined by point-to-point navigation, in which an operator gives a sequence of locations for the robot to move around, and the robot does its best to get there. Autonomous aviation startup Xwing’s self-flying utility aircraft will operate at this level by following specific flight paths. However, in real-life use cases, an operator may not have intimate knowledge of the operating environment, and the robot may not be able to learn the current map and inform its movements.
“We’ve developed an autonomous system that can take you into a dark, dirty, dangerous environment,” Exyn’s CTO Jason Dernik told ClearTips. “Put it on the edge of danger and send it to gather the information you need. In terms of communication as well as visual, the information you require is often beyond the line of sight. “
Exyn’s drones are given a capability the company calls “ScoutAnomy”, which includes defining a “bounding box volume” around which a drone can fly. Using LIDAR sensors, the drone can identify the volume between discovered and unexplained locations to self-navigate and create accurate, high-resolution maps of space. Drones, which are hardware-agnostic, can also carry additional sensors that gather further information to be integrated on the map.
“Think about creating a three-dimensional map and then wrapping RGB information from it with a camera, so now you’ve got a photorealistic 3D representation of the space,” Exyn Technologies CEO Nader Elm told ClearTips. “If we’re moving heat and humidity sensors, getting radiological readings, getting gas readings, checking ventilation, etc. It’s a very rich dataset that’s currently not near underground mining . “
Most of Exyn Technologies’ cases are in the mining industry, with clients such as Rupert Resources and Dundee Precious Metals, where anonymous chart capabilities can protect miners and inform better business decisions. The company recently announced a partnership with Swedish mining and construction company Sandvik that would involve integrating Exyn’s mapping software with Sandvik’s mapping analytics capabilities.
Exyn is also working for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as government customers in nuclear power, construction and logistics, according to the company.