A proof-of-concept test conducted by JIW has just concluded the viability of Skydio’s omnidirectional obstacle avoidance capabilities in a public setting using multiple units. The test was the first publicly announced conclusion of the two companies’ development partnership.
The Test Site at Nara
JIW, or Japan Infra Waymark, is a very recently established startup that, as its name suggests, focuses on the development of services for infrastructure development surveillance in Japan.
The Skydio R2 for Japanese Inspection, or J2 for short, is a modified version of Skydio’s flagship quad-rotor drone, optimized with JIW to check on-site elements remotely instead of simply recording aerial footage autonomously.
For the specific test involved, JIW wanted to see if the drones would actually function as intended, and perhaps, if there would be unforeseen issues that would arise from its regulated use. The test’s target area was the Nara Palace Site Historical Park. The objective was to aid in the park’s maintenance, to add more visual data elements to the park’s regular surveillance measures.
With a few nest sites for maintenance and charging, JIW was able to confirm the efficiency of both the autonomous inspection and safety features of the J2. The report also stated that the test team has successfully gathered all maintenance data required for its operation. Thus, it is assumed that not only were they able to navigate around the park’s standing elements, but were also able to see and analyze the movement of people.
The JIW-Skydio Development Partnership
Skydio has been making a buzz in the tech world in the last two years due to its primary concept of combining autonomous guidance and commercial drones.
As such, one of the most promoted features of the product is the reduction of drone control accidents to nearly zero.
This is perhaps why starting January of last year, JIW has successfully formed a business partnership with Skydio, with the express purpose of using its drones for infrastructure development surveillance purposes.
While the concept was solid, data was yet to be gathered on its actual efficiency for such a role, and thus this recent test has become one of the first that definitively proved that the idea is worth developing further.
JIW plans to implement the drones on a larger, more official scale, though more tests and data are still needed in the near future.