Tech Tuesday: Avy Aera’s software powered by Auterion

Our blog series continues with a guest piece from our software partner Auterion who highlight their contribution to the development of our new Aera.

New Avy Aera long range drone

Meet our software partner Auterion

They say that behind every great UAV there is a great autopilot. So naturally the autopilot behind Avy's UAVs is based on Auterion's autopilot. This edition of our Tech Tuesday puts Auterion, our software partner in the spotlight! They’re responsible for developing the operating system our drones run on. Additionally, Avy works together with Auterion to release modified versions of Auterion releases in order to deliver bespoke software for our new Aera.

We got talking to Martina Rivizzigno, the engineering manager for VTOL products at Auterion and software engineer Roman Bapst, who is Avy’s technical account manager. They shed light on the role the Auterion software has in the new Aera and highlight the importance of their software features that ensure reliable and safe UAV operations.

What was Auterion responsible for in the development of the new Aera?

Auterion develops an operating system for drones based on open source technology and open standards. The Auterion operating system enables many software features of the new Aera such as flight control, camera integration and network connectivity. Part of the operating system is also Auterion Mission Control, the ground control software which is used to plan and execute missions with Aera. And last but not least the Auterion Suite in the cloud which collects and analyzes data of the Avy Aera in near real-time.

Auterion also provides the hardware components that run the operating system on board Aera, namely an advanced avionics module called Skynode™.

Auterion Skynode engineers at work
Auterion software engineers developing code for Auterion OS which is running on the new Area

Can you tell us more about the Skynode and its integration in the new Aera?

Skynode™ has helped Avy to move much faster with the development and engineering of the new Aera. Evaluating the right electronic components as well as physically integrating them into the limited space of a drone is very time consuming. Installing drivers and applying the right configurations adds even more effort on top. Skynode™ comes readily integrated and in a small and light-weight design and undergoes a series of tests on a test stand as well as on test vehicles. This allowed Avy to save a lot of time and resources while developing the new Aera.

Auterion Skynode on test stand
Auterion Skynode™ during functional testing on the test stand before being shipped

What is the role of the flight controller and the suite?

While the flight controller is the core of the onboard operating system, Auterion Suite is its cloud component.

The flight controller - often also referred to as the autopilot - is the component which keeps the Avy Aera in the air. It constantly collects data using different sensors on the drone and uses this data to control the motors such that the drone automatically flies the required manoeuvres in a safe way.

The Suite is accessed with a web browser and has two main roles: On the one hand it supports Avy’s developers by automatically collecting, analysing and presenting all of Avy Aera’s flight log data. On the other hand the Suite also provides functionalities around drone fleet and operations management. Those enable Avy as well as their end users to increase efficiency and speed with features like sharable live video feeds or remote operations dashboards.

How does Auterion software enable the connectivity for our drone network?

Auterion brings drones directly into the cloud - just like your smartphone. The communication stack of Auterion OS combined with the 4G module of Skynode™ enables real-time data delivery from the drone to the cloud making drones visible and accessible for Avy’s drone network.

Auterion Suite with flight log of Avy Aera
Auterion Suite showing the flight log of an Avy Aera

What's the advantage of Auterion software for our customers (and end users) compared to other software suppliers?

At this time, the Auterion approach is unique and cannot be directly compared with other software suppliers. The combination of onboard and cloud components allow a deep integration for data analysis and automation based on the insights of the analysis. The software platform is built on top of open source software and open standards, enabling an ecosystem of drones, payloads and software which can be leveraged to build a huge variety of drone solutions all based on a common user experience.

We build an operating system that customers and partners can build upon. This way all the software that we ship and the reference designs that we provide can have a much wider impact than any other vertically integrated solution.
Martina Rivizzigno, Engineering Manager VTOL products, Auterion

Thanks to Auterion for their insights and continuous support - what a ride it’s been!

Don’t miss out on our next and final edition of the Tech Tuesday series about our Drone Response Network. We’ll be talking to our head of Tech and the engineers who have played a key role in the development of the Avy Dock, our drone station and all the software that goes with it to ensure we have remote and constant access to the station. They will dive into the advantages of having a station for autonomous drone operations and the factors that make our drone network solution so unique.

Want to know more about our new Aera?

If you're looking to start implementing drones into your operations, reach out through our contact form and let's get in touch!