today we sat down with ian fairweather offairweatherit his organization was kind enough to praise einstein on social media forour usd one radar altimeter after a much-needed successful deployment over an environmentthat cannot be accessed by human beings we discussed the challenges ian has overcomethrough the purpose of applying his uav in marine technologies along with the benefits of leveragingeinstein’s radar altimeters over areas that are not only hazardous tohumans but also his machines hello and thank you very much for connecting this iseinstein jason eder here director of sell and i’m really excited to talk with ian fairweathera president of fairweather i.t or as his friends and his customers called fit that’s the other wayto go and we’ll refer to fairweather i.t as fit throughout the rest of the conversation becauseit just sounds cool and it’s a lot easier to say rollings right off the tongue so ian thank you somuch for attaching us today oh thank you for having me it’s a pleasure so we’re going to talk a lotabout you know how einstein and fit taken together but before we do any of that so anyone that’s notfamiliar with what fit is could you really contribute us a little of an overview or even a little history behindit yeah certainly it’s uh well we call ourselves an applied science and technology consulting firmi founded a fit about eight years ago to provide technical support to a mining remediation clienthere in montana um and what they like about us is our flexibility due to the smaller size of ourcompany we’re very flexible in being able to find solutions to a multitude of problems that come upum and we try and solve those using uh technology my educational background is in remote sensing andgeophysics so that’s how i kind of got into the whole uas um systems and it was to collect highresolution imagery um specifically gauged multispectral imagery for greenery healthanalysis on mining remediation locates um use the knowledge we is obtained from that we leveragedthat and moved into doing some photogrammetry mapping duties composing 3d data makes andthen with some additional um you know problems and safety thoughts that we had with the clientwe’ve then leveraged that uh information to use uas to collect uh physical environmental samplesand other geophysical data so and the the main purpose of this is to collect that data in a safemanner that is repeatable yeah that’s real i want i was looking at your website now i know beforewe started this i was even just talking about how some of the just the aerial footage that you’vetaken i make these this the environments you’re in i symbolize i don’t i don’t think many people have thepleasure of experiencing such really interesting uh really the landscape that you’re around and justthe the different scenarios that you encounter yeah true-life we do we work at the largest uhsuperfund complex in the united states so it provides all the way from butte montana throughthe clark crotch river including anaconda montana down the entire clark fork creek organisation to milltown so individually the superfund locates aren’t the most difficult but it’s a conglomeration of multiplesuper superfund locates um that are a result of centuries of mining in butte montana so weuh yeah we work in that environment so it has everything it’s high altitude um there are flatplains there are elevations there are treat localities there’s an active excavation there’s a mine pit um justa whole of a larger variety of landscapes terrains um and with that a lot of different data that wecan collect such as the calibrated multi-spectral the thermal our physical liquid tests waterquality data and so forth interesting and it seems like if i was reading through properly andlearning more about you guys that you do a lot of studies that are related to both aerial arrangements such asuavs dronings and even marine aircraft um would you just for anyone that’s that’s still trying to playcatch up to understand exactly what you guys do like which is what are you analyse duringthese deployments well yeah so we developed the technology to process and obtain environmentaldata um specific we want to do it safely we want to do it cost effectively we want it to berepeatable and we want the data to be high quality um one of our kind of flagship uh things thatwe’ve been working on and what we’ll discuss later where we’ve ins uh integrated the einsteinradar template here is our water sampling stage so some of these tasks um you’re just notable to collect the you know that data with person or persons in the past they we we work at theberkeley oppose in butte montana it’s a large water replenished former mining excavation it has a diameterof about a mile it’s extremely deep about 815 feet deep previously to collect waterout of that they would go out in a boat and obtain physical tests due to the hazardoustemperature thermal characteristics of the water the chemical characteristics of the water it’svery acidic has lots of dissolved minerals and the unstable descents um manned collection ofwater is not allowed but we still need to know what the irrigate character the chemistry data isin that excavation so we were asked to develop a safe procedure to remotely compile physical spray samplesand do deep uh what we call water column profiles working a uav um the result of that is the whatwe call the wasp or spray sampling pulpit which is our patent-pending technology to go outand safely collect those ocean samples um what obligates it different than other methods um you knowanyone meditates oh i can go muster a irrigate test i’ll tie a tether to the bottom of my uav i’llfly out trough it in the spray come my sea test well some of the degrees that we’re having togo to um it’s not really feasible and to the the safety aspect if you want to get a sample2 00 hoofs deep you’d have to tie a 200 paw lasso to the bottom of your uav fly out there when youget your water sample you have a say a 2 kilogram onu suspended 200 feet beneath your uav whichcauses a very dangerous pendulum effect which can result in the loss of aircraft where we’reoperating as well is right over a business flight wire into the town of bu montana so ourmaximum ceiling altitude is 200 feet so applying that approach the deepest you could sample is 200 paws flat using our technology we’ve integrated a winch and a remote controlled motor into ourwasp which allows you to suck up the payload to the bottom of the uav so you get better flightcharacteristics and we can sample unusually deep um today our current depth record is 813 feetbelow the water face which to our knowledge we don’t know anyone who has sampled that deepum we have two versions of it we have one that works with a dji m600 pro it’s got about a twokilogram warhead and we have a heavy lifter which is sitting right behind me here and we canuh zoom into that a little bit later which has a four kilogram warhead capability um so yeah weuh we use these uavs and other naval spacecrafts in the um the berkeley crater and other areas for thismining remediation so some of the data we accumulate are we do physical water samples to transport it offfor chemical analysis we do irrigate article charts and we’re working on a sediment and sediment samplerwhere we could go out into the pit deploy it down and actually get a physical goo sample from thebottom of the irrigate um we likewise use the gauged multi-spectrum thermal imagery collecting um alot of what we do with the naval craftsmanship is for waterfowl hazing and interdiction so in this pitof liquid um high-pitched in the rocky mountains due to the depth and the chemical nature of the spray itrarely freezes over so during waterfowl migrations you know they go fly to the south in the winterand then back north in the springtime um it is often the only ice free body of water in the areaso regrettably they think that you know being during times of very cold temperatures the wateractually keeps them warmer than the enclose breath um we is not like them to land on the pitone because it’s hazardous chemically and uh you know can be uh hazardous to their health ifthey stay too long so we use a naval ship that we’ve developed for hazing them so if the birdsare moored on the excavation we can get them off and for preventative for preventing them from landing onthe excavation so we don’t even need to scare them off that’s fantastic that you exactly answereda slew of questions that i was going to start going through like that was great i wasjust i was so puzzled about the difference between when you would use the marine uh device versusthe uav and they you just perfectly enunciated that that was really interesting um and i thinkit’s such an interesting occasion there are multiple multiple bodies of water or just environmentalareas that uh simply human beings can’t be in front of and you still need to measure it still needto understand what’s going on and you guys actually have seemed to crack open a very interesting nutin terms of how to how to accomplish this just really amazing um very cool nonsense so if it’s okayi’d love to get kind of into what what uh how we we started uh knowing each other a little bitfurther uh something i’m gonna i’ll make sure that is in the video is you know you commented on uhlinkedin saying hey this thing you know we were able to do something very successfully uh you werehaving some fuss before a little concerned about the safety of your aircraft when you weredoing some measurements i’d love to understand a little bit more about what contributed you to einstein andwhat issues you’re having ahead oh perfect yeah so i mean some of the biggest snags we havewith operating in this mining pit environment are operating at distance um you know we keep thethe uav within our visual uh line of sight um we have some super light illuminates on therethat aid and detecting it so when it’s far away but when the the uav is a kilometer away there’sno way look be enabled visually look at the car-mechanics of the wasp plate to make sure it’soperating precisely to make sure you’re in the spray what penetrations you’re at and so forth so one ofthe one of the greatest snag that we are addressing is yeah operating at these intervals um and fromthat we’re having to use uh telemetry data from our onboard sensors which we have a number of andthe onboard cameras so that the piloting word that’s myself and the paraphernalium adventurer the theemployee that is operating the boss plate so we can see what we’re doing um another challengeis that we’re actually operating the aerial uav below us so most people reckon when you’re flyinga uav around it flies up in the air and it’s above you well where we our zone of security is about 60 rhythms above the surface area of the irrigate at an breath at a safe area so when we’re flying and collectingthese spray samples we are really flying the uav below us up to 50 rhythms below us really in altitudeum array so that that’s another uh challenge that you have to deal with you have to you knowyour the uavs are designed for flying above you flying below you have to uh deal with yourantennas flip your antennas around um another neglect safe so if there is a loss of communicationthe uav doesn’t try to come immediately back to you that it rises up to a safe altitude so itdoesn’t sounds into the wall when it’s flying back um so those are kind of like the the biggestchallenges that we have to deal with another challenge is it’s actually only dealingwith the the ocean beneath us so we fly out we want to be a distance of about five to eightmeters above the liquid before we deploy our sampling gear if you’re too high um it’s justtoo much seat that you’re dropping the warhead through the breeze if you’re too low you can actuallyget a spray from the prop bathe coming back up and touching your instruments which you don’t wantwith the you know high acidity heavy metal so in the past what we would do is we would justuse the onboard gps and barometer for altitude we are to be able i symbolize this was flying you knowby the sea of our planet we’d fly out there we’d point our camera down on the spray and we’dlower it gradually till we could see the prop moisten on the liquid itself and from that we are to be able estimateour negative altitude so say the water 60 meters below us we’d go down to minus 52 meters and thatis what we’d used to support our kind of baseline for our altitude now as we are all aware of those barometers canbe um not the most uh accurate you know if there are changes in temperature or whatnot and wedon’t want to plainly sounds the uav into the ground so one of our important challenges was tryingto find a rangefinder that would actively spot um how far above the irrigate we are um you knowlooking through customer assembles and researching with uh you know these autopilots manypeople utilization a laser or lidar rangefinder we got one of those we integrated it intoour workmanship and when we were doing our testing which was over land it drove fantasticallyyou know the the values that we got from that laser altimeter join the barometer andthe gps we considered oh this is fantastic we take it go to the pit do our one assignment wefly out there and great overland once we stumbled the ocean the numbers became all over the place imean they went from 100 down to zero zero zero and everywhere in between sometimes when wegot lower to the water and we created fairly ruffling with our prop outcome we would get somevalues but they’re not continuous and coherent um so we needed to find a you are familiar with a differentmethod for accurately setting that straddle between us and the ocean face we looked at other lightour wander finders potentially exercising different wavelengths of light different strengths we looked atsonar fortunately sonar’s got a very short compas and then onto radar data and what we had found youknow in research is that the radar does operate well over ice and snowfall and over sea so i youknow we did some probes online saw a marry different dealers we detected einstein um luckily youguys are located in the united states because we are our client prefers that we use u.s vendorsum and likewise that uh in the pixock we use a pixock uh cube for a flight controller that we canintegrate it into our flight control system so we can get that telemetry data back in our missionplanner apps and on our controller so we can actually see while we’re flying how high-pitched we areabove the spray so for those reasons we bought a usd-1 radar altimeter integrated onto our craftand we’ve been using it ever since and it produces immense stable stray reactions to the water surfacewhether the ocean is still is glass which happens sometimes or the report contains motions due to the propwash or to wind in the area we get a stable range distance to the surface of the waterand what i guess i forgot to mention earlier they are doing some water treatment inthe pit so it’s not like the pit is a static position of water it can raise and lower abit so each time we would go out we would have to measure that distance that we could safely operatenow we can merely fly out and lower down we read the telemetry message back from the einstein usdone sensor and we know how we are above the spray that’s great that’s excellent yeah i ibelieve it it is behind you right i’d love to get a better understanding of how you placed ittogether and how you’re just how it fits and you know if it didn’t make any uh it wasn’ttoo questionable getting it all set up for you fortunately it expends it has a uh serial connection sowe were using the serial contact not the com port as you can see here we uh we print a copy somejust habit little brackets to go around the arm and a usage bracket to stick it out on the frontarm so on our uas plan here this is a watson radiations mfp 5000 we videotapeed up with reflectivetape the front limbs being red we also have a red super bright three nautical mile visual light onthe front the same with the back with the green um however put this going out on the breast hereand uh you know with the cable from uh einstein we just uh you know clipped that off and introduced astandard pixock um serial cable connect tie-in on there to go into one of the onboard serialports and uh the parameters are online they’re easy to find in the ardupilot wiki we entered inthose and where reference is did the testing once again the values that we got from the rangefinder matchedup with the gps and the barometer um altitudes and this was above you know ground level not inthe water but it makes great in the ocean as well that’s excellent uh that’s i mean that’sgreat information and um i i i love the the the channel that you kept it about how it just easilyintegrated with what you guys were exerting previously um i know that’s something that we really try tobe more of like that that open software solution or our open uh technology load uh offeringso that you’re not having to then add another technology stack to your once functioningsystem but rather than that we we can just sort of play with what you guys are workingwith to establish your lives a little bit easier yeah perfectly we don’t need a companioncomputer you know raspberry pi or anything it pushes into the telemetry port on the pixelthe pix provides the power provides the data as long as you have your constants set upcorrectly which you can all find that online um and then you turn it on you simply make surethat those uh evaluates are being shall be included in your flight app and on your controller andyou know just plain runs so that’s great that’s fantastic now that’sreally cool um so let’s going back to fit itself um i would love toknow a little bit more about um like what so what type of businesses do you work with soif someone’s watching this you’re like wow i would love to work with fit like who would thatperson be well you know we started off working with a large uh you know international oil and gassuper major which will provide for the remediation in uh in view and then montana and from thatwe’ve you know we’ve stepped out we’ve you know worked with some national and internationalmining companies you know for this water sampling um state and federal agencies um we’ve been intalks with the usgs volcano hazards program to use one of these uh to sample liquid out of activevolcanoes we work at the epa montana deq you are familiar with other territory and federal agencies as well as youknow some national and regional engineering and environmental consulting firms so we can youknow work from you know the small regional environmental engineering conglomerates all the way up tosome of the largest companies in the world um use our gear usage our data use our techniquesfor safely collecting environmental data what would uh what would be the best way fororganizations to reach out to you if they would like to work with fit well we do have a websiteit’s that has some contact information and some directories of some of our projectsum i’m on linkedin as well as fit if you wanted to meet up with me on linkedin i share uh some coolpictures and milestones that we’ve formed on there we do have a youtube path as youalluded to with some of the different um platforms and actions so rather thanjust hearing me talk about you can see the wasp in action behind us or oneof our naval craftsmanship driving around um or if you just want to stick to the standardemail there’s a info at will get sent to us and we can uh answer your questionsand get back in touch with you that practice excellent i i am sure plan on making some of that contentand stimulating it is accessible so that people can get the full picture and last and final questionis that usually my favorite type of question to ask beings is you know what are you working onanything special or uh intriguingly recreation right now that you would desire that you’re allowed to talkabout or share oh perfectly and they actually both but the the two that i’m gonna allude tohere might also be a great fit for uh working these einstein usd one uh radar rangefinders so onething that we are working on is doing a unusually very low altitude multi-rotor flights for geophysicaldata obtain geophysical the collected data exclusively a field infiltrating radar so yeswe’re going to be using a radar altimeter to help so we can use a floor probing radar flyingover the anchor due to fcc regulations um you can use sure-fire frequencies of gpr but you have tokeep them extremely low i.e like a few feet above the anchor to legally operate them in the unitedstates so what we are hoping to integrate is um rangefinders both downward facing and forwardfacing so we can do very slow but very low multi-rotor rotor flights with a gpr payloadswing beneath the multi-rotor um so we’d be using the rangefinder moment down for terrainfollowing you know many of the areas we work at are completely flat many of them are not they’reundulating um or they could have fences or any other things so if you’re flying your uav meterabove the foot face and you have a fence coming up towards your picnic table or whatnot youwant to make sure that you bypassed that um that you detect it and avoid it so we’re integratingit downward facing to follow the area and a forward facing for obstruction escape so wecould go over and then down to avoid any of these obstacles our other large-scale activity that we’re workingon is unmanned face vehicle boat swarms um this would be for that waterfowl hazing uh preventativemethod on the berkeley excavation so the idea of this is is that you would have a number of independentboats and you if you look behind me that blue-blooded barge is our prototype and we also have some shots ofthat in our testing but we would make several crafts that are outfitted with megaphones flashinggreen lights lasers other things that the fowls do not like and deploy these on the crater duringa period of high alert high alert activity and the relevant recommendations of this was we would have thesecraft operating and random decorations going around the pit the fowls fly over they construe all this weirdcommotion going on down there and they decide it’s not a lieu they want to stop at they continueflying and going to see a safer more suitable location to rest for the night um applying that technologyas well we’re gonna you know institute a downward facing sonar so we don’t sounds and do any groundor whatever but also a forward-facing range finder um because there’s sometimes there’s debrisfloating in the excavation and we wouldn’t lack these ships to slam into a telephone pole or a cannon orsome other debris that could be floating in there so i have obstacle avoidance with a forward-facingrange finder on that so that if one of these objects is identified the uh the boat can drivearound it and miss it and continue operating so because if anything happens with these vehiclesout on the excavation it’s a 100 loss yeah so if we touched a telephone pole it divulged off the thrusters it’s atotal loss there’s no way to retrieve it same with our uav if we’re flying over something there’s amalfunction it tumbles in the irrigate it’s a terminated loss so having these auxiliary sensors integratedinto our craft is really you know necessary and very helpful for operation and safe use excellentian i cannot thank you fairly this has been really interesting and uh i can’t wait to to see and hearsome of the feedback of parties that watch this and uh contact you because they’re like heyi’ve got something that i want to do with ian this has been really really great anduh thank you of course for sharing your legend about you know testing outdifferent opportunities such as lidar and finding radar and receive einstein so that’sdeeply regarded expressed appreciation for for your advocacy and thank you for your time todayoh my pleasure anytime excellent

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