50,000 flights later – 5 lessons that we’ve learned

January 24, 2019

By the end of 2018, Drone Harmony’s users have logged over 50,000 autonomous flights. This milestone could be achieved due to our teams’ commitment to both our vision and our customers’ valuable feedback. So what have our users taught us? In this article, we summarize some of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned.

1. When it comes to drone operations, you can never automate enough

Drone Harmony has made it its mission to make drone data acquisition a one-click operation, even in complex industrial use cases. When our customers start using Drone Harmony, they immediately appreciate its added value. But they also realize the potential of automation and begin to envision how additional manual, error-prone aspects of their work can be automated. Drone Harmony is working vigilantly to make this vision a reality, as every new benchmark reached represents a new breakthrough in the potential of drone-based workflow to scale and reach new markets.

2. The value of automation is in the quality of the data

What is the single most valuable aspect of automating mission planning and flight execution to our customers? It turns out that it is not the reduced costs, risks and time on site. While all the latter are important advantages, the true value stems from the fact that autonomous flights guarantee high quality, complete, non-redundant data every single time.

3. Customers want to use their data

Digital data about assets and environments is available in a variety of forms, both on a global scale, and on databases belonging to individual organizations and assets. In most cases, customers are more than willing to use this data to simplify their drone operations. The most common forms of such data include DEMs, CAD, and meshed shape data and aerial imagery. Drone Harmony is working hard on integrating new data formats into the Drone Harmony mission planning framework to enable our customers to make good use of this data.

data types
Customers want to use their data about the asset to enable autonomous drone workflows

4. Simplicity is a requirement, not a feature

Drone mission planning is a complex task, especially in the difficult environment of an industrial asset. It does not mean, however, that an automation tool can afford cutting corners on simplicity and intuitiveness. Needing to do 10 clicks when it is possible to achieve the same with 5, is just an unnecessary source of errors, especially when performed in the filed, under time pressure and unfavorable weather conditions. We have thus learned to always rethink what we consider to be “easy” and “intuitive”.

5. Operators only really believe their eyes

What cannot be visualized convincingly is a source of uncertainty and anxiety for the operator. There is a level of trust that an operator needs to have in a tool that operates her 10k$ drone. The more the tool is able to visualize the planned behavior, as it will play out in the 3d environment, the more confidence will the operator have in the tool, and the more manual control will she be willing to give up and achieve the benefits of automation.

The importance of visual feedback

We are learning new things every day from our community. We are grateful to all the customers that are sharing their opinions and ideas with us. We are listening and doing our best to make your wishes for Drone Harmony come true in 2019.