Smart Poles with Integrated Drone Hubs to Power Modern Cities

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 03/06/2021 | 15:16

FlytBase, a Silicon Valley startup that has built the world’s first Internet of Drones (IoD) platform, announced a new partnership with Omniflow, an internet of things (IoT) company that manufactures smart multifunctional infrastructure powered by hybrid wind and solar energy. Leveraging FlytBase’s powerful drone-automation software, Omniflow has incorporated a drone charging hub with their flagship product, OMNILED, to create scalable and sustainable networks and highways for drone service providers.


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Evolution of the Smart Pole

Automation and IoT have catalyzed global digitization and helped enterprises/services stay connected with always-on devices and cloud-based applications. One of the primary objectives of such modern technology is to optimize resource utilization. However, most public lighting systems today still run on 20-year-old technology that consumes power in a highly inefficient and unsustainable manner. It has been estimated that one streetlight is responsible for around 1.3 tons of annual CO2 emissions. Consequently, excess power consumption owing to outdated technology has long been a problem for its highly damaging effect on the environment, particularly in instances where electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels.

To address these issues, Omniflow developed OMNILED, a multifunctional lighting solution that can turn any regular streetlight into a smart pole with ultra-efficient LEDs, IP cameras, high-quality PA systems, LTE/small-cell connectivity, public Wi-Fi, and off-the-grid operability with battery storage, among several other features, powered almost entirely through renewable energy and carbon-conscious technology. Their vision and business model are centered around realizing an eco-friendly world that digitizes existing infrastructure, avoiding the expensive and resource-intensive process of remanufacturing and deploying products with limited functionalities.

The development of smart poles has increased the accessibility of 5G connectivity and other essential digital services, such as EV charging, for the world. Today, Omniflow has active sales in more than 30 countries around the globe, with thousands of units already installed. Their primary markets comprise the UK, EU, and the US, with the MENA and Southeast Asian regions now receiving considerable traction.


Introducing the Drone Hub

As autonomous drones continued to gain widespread recognition within the automation and robotics industry, engineers at Omniflow began exploring the possibility of retrofitting their smart poles with docking pads that drones could land on for refueling. Because their smart poles are cloud-connected and equipped with edge-computing capabilities, they were able to easily install a smart charging station for such drones that could be leveraged for various use-cases, including security, public safety, delivery, and emergency response.


Integration with FlytNow

To enable drones to perform autonomous functions such as landing, take-off, and executing pre/post-flight checks, Omniflow collaborated with FlytBase to deploy a fully integrated software solution that would enable remote control of both the drone and the hub. FlytBase’s intuitive and modular software solution, FlytNow, can be used to plan and schedule repeatable missions and set failsafe actions that are automatically triggered during emergencies or incidents. One of the key features of the software is its precision-landing module, which uses computer-vision technology and landing algorithms to accurately align, approach, and land the drones on the charging pad every time.

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Mihai-Alexandru Cristea | 27/11/2023 | 17:41
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