Wingtra 2.7 update brings first-ever Smart RTH and more
Wingtra regularly updates the capabilities of its premier WingtraOne platform. This is evident in frequent and free software updates. But there is something revolutionary about 2.7 that we really want to share with you. We caught up with Julian Surber, Product Manager at Wingtra, to discuss why software update 2.7 is such a breakthrough in security, ease of use, and reliability.
Q: What are the major updates with 2.7 that current and potential users should be aware of?
A: A more accurate geofence configuration based on a polygon instead of a circular area; new return-to-home (RTH) logic that makes the system even more autonomous and is completely new to the industry; Remote ID, more efficient battery swapping and recovery, and more features.
With all of these updates, plus simplified min and max height logic, the system provides peace of mind that you are still in a defined airspace. All of this while keeping it super easy to set up and ride.
Q: Why did Wingtra choose these particular updates?
A: We see that companies really need aerial data now. And more than anything else, they need a drone that’s reliable, safe, easy to use, and delivers it worry-free on every flight. This update therefore absolutely guarantees that we cover all the features that meet these needs.
Q: Because drone technology is constantly evolving, customers have the difficult task of sorting out features and updates when deciding what to buy. What about the latest software update 2.7, in general, which helps make WingtraOne a leading commercial drone in the market?
A: Our constant goal is to offer customers a product that inspires confidence and lowers their overhead from the first moment they unbox it. We do this by staying in touch with customers and approaching R&D with their core needs in mind: data quality, efficiency and ease of use.
Version 2.7 of the software is based on exactly this approach. With it, we ensure that customers can focus on whatever mapping job they are undertaking while WingtraOne takes care of the data capture and security.
Q: Everyone is concerned about efficiency, so the old approach of a direct line home seems like a clearly efficient way of RTH – why revisit it? What problems does it solve?
A: Don’t forget that Wingtra is headquartered in Switzerland, where the terrain is the most complex imaginable. Our engineers spend all their free time looking at it, and it informs the decisions we make about what our drone needs to consider to operate as efficiently and safely as possible.
That said, imagine that your flight involves large altitude changes on the plane. The drone’s flight lines follow the terrain, so if it’s lower than it started, do you want to risk that your straight line RTH flight height might be too low for a forgotten peak between the end of the mission and starting point? People did, and it cost them dearly. We don’t want people to go through that.
Anyone who has it before would agree that a slightly different return route, decided by a drone that takes into account and calculates everything that has worked in the mission up to that point, would be a great feature!
In fact, what we’ve seen in extensive testing of this feature is that the effectiveness of RTH is identical for the majority of flights. Only for a small fraction of flights is it reduced. And in the worst case, it is only a few minutes. It’s a small sacrifice for complete peace of mind that your drone lands without any unfortunate incidents.
Q: What are the key factors the drone weighs when “deciding” the best return path?
A: After entering a flight plan and before taking off, WingtraOne uses the terrain information and the flight plan itself to calculate a number of return home options. Once it is in the air, it decides which is most effective based on its exact location at that time, wind direction, wind magnitude, and several other factors.
Q: You said this RTH feature is an industry first, have you seen anything like this in other drones?
A: No. We are pushing the industry further with this software update. The goal is complete autonomy. In fact, a drone is an aerial robot that will know best what it needs to do to fly safely.
Q: How does the polygonal geofence eliminate the challenges and update the experience with WingtraOne for mapping missions?
A: Say you’re flying near Native American lands, national parks, FAA-administered airfields – do you want to risk overlapping some of these areas with a mission? The circular geofence risks this if your mapping area is complex. So, this new feature allows you to create a snug zone around your mapping area that prevents intrusion even during Smart RTH.
Q: You mentioned an improvement in efficiency due to improved battery swapping and recovery. Can you explain what has changed?
A: People usually recognize WingtraOne for its wide coverage capability at this point, but they might not know how that extends beyond a single flight. In fact, customers can design massive flight plans over several miles and simply swap batteries on landing and return the drone within two minutes. You can fly all day with our exchange and trade-in feature, which is anything but effortless!
The only thing we wanted to strengthen about this continuous mapping capability is the recovery in case of long areas. Before, the drone restarted the last scan, including data capture. If the scan was long, it meant unnecessary data capture, which slowed down field workflows and processing. Now when you resume, WingtraOne jumps right back to where it captured the last data points and continues.
Q: Why is Remote ID important?Where is Wingtra to develop this according to the regulations?
A: This industry started 10 years ago and was a bit of a Wild West in terms of rules. But just like with cars, regulations are multiplying and becoming more specific so that they can become widespread and be as safe and efficient as possible.
As we create a need for a leading drone platform that allows customers to push the boundaries of surveying and mapping, it is truly our responsibility to ensure that customers can use it without any interruption. It is also up to us to reassure businesses and governments of our commitment to ensuring the safety of airspace.
Q: Is there any other important information customers should know at this time?
A: I would simply like to say that we pay very close attention to our current customers and to the needs of the market. We go into the field with them. We have a feedback community. So we see their challenges first hand. That said, not only do we work to keep our solution ahead, but we also develop products such as extended services, which help protect customers against unforeseen expenses and bring our drone into long-term budgets.
And we are constantly researching and working with drone processing software and fleet management software companies to ensure smooth compatibility as this data becomes a reality across industries.
Without happy customers, we know we wouldn’t have gotten this far and we plan to go even further based on that.
Version 2.7 of the Wingtra software is available for download now.
For more information on how WingtraOne will impact your business, visit our website at: wingtra.com.