Publish 29 June 2023
From surprising insights into the versatility of drone technology to unexpected moments during flight tests, the AutonoSky team shares their love for their work and the opportunities it brings.
1. How do you stay updated on the latest trends and developments in the drone industry?
Inyeni: It is well known that drone technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace with new developments in artificial intelligence, sensor technology, battery technology, manufacturing techniques, and many other areas. The world is currently seeing a proliferation of drone applications across several industries, and the trend is likely to continue in the future. My background is in Robotics Engineering, so I try to keep up with drone technology from a robotics perspective. After all, a drone can also be referred to as an aerial robot. I am a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering, and the bulk of my research has been around drone swarming and related mobile robot navigation strategies (algorithms). I keep up with emerging drone technologies by regularly reading and studying relevant research from peer-reviewed journals by MDPI, IEEE, Elsevier, Nature, and many others. I find the information obtained from these sources to be authentic and scientifically proven.
I also subscribe to a few YouTube channels that usually provide updates on trending technologies, products, and conferences about artificial intelligence, robotics, and drone technology. Furthermore, friends and colleagues also play a major role. Almost every day at AutonoSky, I end up learning a lot from simple conversations with colleagues, and this helps me stay up to date. I am fascinated by how much there is to learn about current drone technology, and I am looking forward to where this journey takes me to. Hopefully, to more exciting experiences.
2. What does your day typically look like and what excites you most about your work?
Juno: There is never a dull moment working with the Autonosky team; each day has its laughs, challenges, and rewards from doing what we love to do. From rapidly designing and prototyping payloads and drones to research and development, there is always something new to explore and implement. Our 3D printing prototyping is one of my responsibilities that never sleeps; the machines run 24/7, and the components printed need to be durable and lightweight enough for our airborne applications. Typical days consist of R&D, 3D printing, 3D CAD designing, prototyping, and acquisitions. The most exciting aspect of daily work is the freedom to pioneer ideas and prototype with all the tools at my fingertips.
3. How does AutonoSky foster a learning environment for the team?
Daniel: AutonoSky promotes a healthy learning environment by encouraging weekly meetings for each member of the team to discuss their current projects and what they're struggling with, so that others can try to assist and promote collective learning. Besides the meetings, AutonoSky allows me to be in the same space as those who work in different sectors of the drone industry. By spending some free time with them and taking an interest in their work, I have learned a lot and gained significantly more value.
4. What's the most surprising thing you've learned about drones and drone technology during your time here?
Jordan: I think the most surprising thing I have learned is how drones can be used in so many aspects of our lives. Working here has enabled me to learn about the multiple aspects of drone technology and how versatile it truly is. While the aircraft itself may remain relatively unchanged over the years, it is the versatility and potential of the payloads that can be attached to it that truly amaze me, opening up a wide range of limitless use-case scenarios. Working on those payloads has made me use skills that I never thought I would use to take a drone in the air.
5. Can you share a funny or unexpected moment you've experienced during your internship?
Adam: At the beginning of my employment, I successfully configured the flight controller to operate a servo using a toggle switch. This was a significant accomplishment for our team, as it allowed us to use the drone to extinguish fire by releasing a fire retardant ball. Now, onto the funny part: during a flight test, while the drone was taking off and the pilot was testing the copter's capabilities during hover at an altitude of about 1.5m, one of the propellers suddenly came off due to some braking input from the pilot. Fortunately, the pilot safely landed the drone, and we had to venture into the bush to search for the missing propeller. Each of us went in different directions to find it, and eventually, we located it. We continued the flight test without any further incidents.
6. What do you enjoy most about working at AutonoSky?
Imami: One thing I love about working at AutonoSky is the strong emphasis on research and development (R&D). It allows us to be creative and continuously challenge our knowledge while developing new products. At AutonoSky, we're not limited to one engineering field. Our projects expose us to diverse disciplines, enabling us to gain knowledge in various areas. This multidisciplinary approach fosters learning, creativity, and groundbreaking advancements. Additionally, the collaborative nature of our work promotes cross-functional teamwork and a rich exchange of ideas. AutonoSky's focus on R&D and exposure to diverse engineering fields create a stimulating work environment I truly enjoy.
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