“Drones will only have a future with scalable operations. Autonomous drone, fleet and cloud-based operation light the path to get there.”
– Oren Elkayam
Learn more on: www.skyhopper.biz
Meet Oren Elkayam – CEO and Co-Founder of Mobilicom
Tell us something about your current position and your professional background.
Oren Elkayam, CEO and Co-Founder of Mobilicom Ltd., has made it his mission to ensure UAV communication is effective and best serves the needs of given UAV applications. He has worked both as CEO and VP Business Development for leading companies in the wireless communications arena. He has been a voting member on both the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and WiMAX international committees, served as an officer in the Israeli Air Force in an elite research and development unit and worked for the Israeli equivalent of NASA. Mr. Elkayam holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and an MBA (magna cum laude), both from Ben-Gurion University in Israel.
What do you see as the biggest challenges in the Commercial UAV industry today?
I see two primary challenges in the Commercial UAV industry. The first is the issue of security, as UAVs move toward mass use in civilian applications. UAVs have historically been used for government & military operations, where security issues were comprehensively managed outside of the public eye. Today, they are becoming ubiquitous on both the commercial and consumer levels. If security measures are not properly taken into consideration, sensitive information of enterprises can be accessed, or drones can even be hacked into and controlled by uninvited parties. Professional Commercial UAVs cannot run the risk of a breach of their data as it can lead to the loss of public trust with costly implications, or even lead to the collapse of critical infrastructures and the occurrence of national disasters. Security measures need to be put into place on several levels – government regulations, users’ education and in releasing credible platforms. The absence of secure UAV systems can lead the public to have a shift of opinion from something that was “cool and exciting” to “invasive and dangerous”. This public opinion can ultimately influence the mainstream acceptance of drone technology.
The second challenge is on achieving UAV scalability. In order for drones to be best utilized, and ultimately for the UAV industry to grow and fulfil its vision, commercial drones need to reach scalability. This can’t be achieved with a single human operator flying a single drone. Fleet management, swarm operations, autonomous drones and cloud-based operations are necessary in order to best leverage commercial drones and grow the market.
How does drone communication impact these challenges?
It all has to do with selecting the right communication. From a UAV security standpoint, using a private network that is highly secured is preferred to using an alternative such as a Wi-Fi radio. For DIY or consumer drones, Wi-Fi may suffice, but when you are dealing with professional commercial drones that transmit sensitive information and need to maintain control, a Wi-Fi radio may jeopardize the security of the drone, as Wi-Fi is of widespread use and incredibly susceptible to hacking. Wi-Fi crackers are even widely available. Communication with built-in redundancy is very important, such as using two receivers and two transmitters, among other things. This redundancy can help to overcome failures, improve coverage for operation, as well as allow for continuous monitoring by aviation agencies while maintaining security for sensitive information and drone operations.
With respect to scalability, employing a communication system that is very reliable, robust and secure is most important, especially for autonomous drone operations, where humans are removed from the equation and the liability sits solely on the machine. Communication features such as enabling simultaneous control of multiple drones, drone-to-drone communication and seamless handover of a drone between control stations aid in swarm and fleet management operations, where the ultimate goal is to leverage drones by the masses to execute a mission. Finally, for effective cloud-based operation, it’s important for a UAV communication system to have full IP support, transparent to the cloud, enabling broadcast, multicast and unicast transmission modes as well as VPN operation.
Mobilicom develops and delivers 4G Mobile MESH private network technology without the need for any infrastructure. With versatile network topologies and a large product portfolio, Mobilicom caters to mission critical communication of Enterprises and Government applications with the highest flexibility and mobility.
SkyHopper PRO is Mobilicom’s flagship product specifically designed for Commercial and Industrial Drones & Robotics. It is a secure bi-directional data link that employs leading wireless technologies, delivering long-range and Non-Line of Sight (N-LOS) communication that supports control, telemetry & payload in a single RF channel.
SkyHopper PRO addresses mining & process industry, infrastructure inspection, security and surveillance, and delivery drone applications. SkyHopper PRO also offers the unique advantage of its ability to deliver technology on the cutting edge that enables autonomous UAV, fleet management, swarm and cloud-based UAV operations.
As Commercial Drones are an emerging industry with constantly adjusting requirements, Mobilicom’s full ownership and in-house development down to the bit enables optimization and customization to the needs of each application.