UAVs have traditionally been used in the military applications, but there is great potential in commercial applications, as we are exploring at the upcoming Commercial UAV Show Asia, in Singapore this September 1-2. One up-and-coming startup is Overwatch Imaging whose technology not only provides real time data and video for their clients, but also answers. To provide you with a better understanding of this rising disruptor, we spoke to Greg Davis, Founder and Managing Director of Overwatch Imaging to find out more about their journey to success:
What is Overwatch Imaging?
Overwatch Imaging specializes in precision aerial photography and remote sensing from small- and medium-sized long endurance unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Utilizing military-grade technology and cutting-edge industrial electronics, Overwatch provides unique photo-based analysis and precision survey solutions tailored for long-endurance UAS applications over large areas of interest. Overwatch camera systems cover multiple spectral bands and offer scalable resolution options, allowing users to easily collect the intelligence they need, quickly and accurately. Overwatch works with customers through all phases of the process, from business plan consulting and concept of operation development through custom payload design and operational support.
What sparked the establishment of Overwatch Imaging?
Overwatch fills the gap between small quadrotor and hand-launched drones, which have a short flight time and range, and satellite imagery, which is expensive and cannot be dedicated to a specific project.
We wanted to provide solutions to long-endurance UAV makers and to commercial customers, because long-endurance UAS are really impressive and capable aircraft, but they do not have good options for conducting precision surveys, making maps, and using imagery to inspect infrastructure or study the environment. We see more and more interest in commercial UAV applications, but UAV makers need good payload partners to fill the new applications effectively.
We also wanted to build a customer-centric company, that focused entirely on solving customer needs. Our goal is to customize payload solutions to solve our customers’ exact needs, within their size, weight, power, and cost constraints.
How is it going to disrupt the UAV landscape?
For applications that require long endurance over large areas, Overwatch systems allow customers to collect all the data they need, when they need it, at a competitive price point. Examples of these long endurance applications include pipeline, power line, and train rail inspections, all of which can be hundreds or thousands of miles long. Other applications include forest survey, border survey, and fisheries survey, where large areas prevent application of small UAS and cost prevents repeatable satellite coverage.
Overwatch cameras incorporate onboard computer vision and machine learning technology. This allows our systems to collect much more information than traditional systems that send all information to the ground for processing. Collecting additional information allows us to detect more things, which leads to more value for our customers, delivered more quickly.
So much attention in the drone market goes to small short-endurance quadrotors, which are really fun and great for many close-range tasks. But Overwatch believes that disrupting the commercial inspection and surveying market will require drones with long endurance, capable of covering very large areas without much human involvement. We are making the sensors to enable this disruption.
We deliver something much more valuable than video – we deliver answers.
What do you enjoy most about running your Overwatch Imaging?
I love how we are entirely focused on our customers. A lot of companies fall in love with a particular technology, and try to apply that technology to every situation. And other companies need to return a big profit to their shareholders. At Overwatch, we are committed to helping our UAV maker customers provide unmatched value in commercial survey and inspection applications.
It’s also really fun to be so efficient. We don’t have any corporate overhead or extra meetings – we just focus on solving customer problems by applying the latest and greatest imaging and computer vision technology.
Are there any cool projects that you are currently working on that you can share with us?
We’re really excited about a train rail inspection camera system we are working on. This system takes super-high resolution images of train rail for many hours at a time, to look for obstructions and monitor rail health. Train operators will use this to reduce inspection time and improve safety.
Also, our color and thermal mapping payloads are cool because users haven’t had the option to use long-endurance UAS for precision mapping before. It’s fun to work with users who previously couldn’t collect the data they wanted, and then help them realize that now they can!
What to find out about the technologies and projects that Greg and his team are working on?
The Commercial UAV Show Asia will be held this September 1st and 2nd 2016 at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, Singapore. Together with the successful IoT Show Asia , it will form the Emerging Technology Show, featuring the latest innovations and case studies in the region.
Are you an upcoming-and-coming IoT / UAV start-up ready to disrupt the world with your innovation? Here’s a great opportunity for you to showcase what you’ve got: Find out more!