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Stephen Wise Blog

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Those Incredible AI Flying Machines

About 120 years ago in Manhattan, Nikola Tesla demonstrated a boat he piloted from the edge of a pond. Apparently, the audience took it as more of a magic show then a technology demonstration.

Today start-ups are promoting flying vehicles that do not require a human pilot. These innovative companies are applying their products to improve productivity and profitability. The business case is easier to understand then the technologies involved – an AI enabled flying vehicle could work longer, faster, and more reliably on certain repeatable tasks then a drone with a human pilot.

A drone without AI is a device with sensors collecting data - a human pilot is still needed. A drone with hard-coded responses to given conditions (such as maintaining height given changing terrain) is fun but not equipped for demanding tasks.

AI enabled capabilities allow human-like performance in reasoning, problem-solving, and planning for specific tasks without ongoing human intervention. No one wants to look at thousands of images 24 X 7 in order to pick up anomalies. The ability to give the drone a general mission and specific tasks to be completed in a safe and reliable way opens the door for commercial applications.

Farmers could continually scout their fields to test for issues related to disease, irrigation, or infestation. For example, follow the crop furrows and identify sectors that require additional spraying. Energy companies could monitor their transmission lines and pipelines for early signs of damage. For example, do a high-speed pass monitoring for signs of encroachment or corrosion and a repeat detailed pass when certain warning signs are found. These are not new practises – but in the future, decisions can be made based on acquiring more complete data faster, and less expensively.

Tesla received a patent[1] for controlling his boat but did not achieve commercial success on that one. New high value enterprise applications for AI enabled flying machines are imminent. What is your company doing in order to participate?

Stephen D Wise

Integration Professionals

Dramatically Improve Traction


[1] Method of And Apparatus For Controlling Mechanism Of Moving Vessels Or Vehicles. Nikola Tesla of New York, N.Y Patent No. 613,809 (1898)

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