Birdstop

Infrastructure for Cloud Observation

This consisted of building out the main product of our service which was the mobile app.

Introduction

This project is a UX/UI mobile development with the purpose of creating an app that allows an on-demand network in the palm of the hand. With this app you will be able to:

  • Collect data about the infrastructure
  • Monitor your sites from the palm of your hand
  • Launch and land your missions
  • Gain insights to maximize your efforts

This project lasted over the course of three months involved research and development assistance from the CEO and our Software developer. For reasearch, I also visited the site and figured out how our launching and landing worked.

Project Goals

  • Create an automated data transfer and management system with API access and integrations
  • Design a mobile app that could deploy and land the drones safely in the nodes
  • Managers would be able to access the data all through the cloud
  • No personnel would be needed on site to fly the drones to collect data

Project Statement

Birdstop builds technology that allows drones to collect data without an operator present. Drones perpetually stay docked in the field and deploy on demand or on schedule. Birdstop stations mediate human operators, who can now be monitoring and retrieving data from thousands of miles away. Birdstop enables data to be collected with high frequency, low cost, and low risk to human lives. 

We built our technology from day one to be drone agnostic. We leave the drone-building to the very competent drone companies already out there. Instead, we empower the drones used today and that will be used tomorrow with the ability to be pilotless.

While we currently deploy one system per site, we plan to expand toward mesh network configurations, supporting larger areas of inspection and monitoring.

Scope of Project

Phase 1: Project Initiation & Research

Phase 2: Execution

Phase 3: Design

The Team

Hers is some of our team members, including me!

Research

Background

Fleet tracking
To ensure drone safety, fleet managers need to know exactly where individual drones are at any given time. Fleet managers often rely on GPS technology and other GPS tracking systems to know where their drones are and increase visibility into their fleet operations and drone safety. This is to have improved efficiency, reduced overall speed and fleet optimization.

Drone Tracking
The first part of drone assignment is where managers can select a drone or navigate a route. That drone would fall under an entire fleet that the manager can monitor remotely. They can track the status of the drones as either: All, Scheduled, En Route, Completed.

There would also be categories such as: Drone Assigned, Route Name, Scheduled Start (date and time), Route Timelines: Visual Graphic with Green and Red.

There are also maintenance alerts. This could include the following, getting notified to schedule maintenance, mileage, service intervals, or a Drone Inspection Report. Drone Inspection Reports involve the drone, battery, engine hours, odometer, faults that either confirm inspection or require a signature. Finally, maintenance could include drone health. In addition, there is drone monitoring. This is where managers can be alerted via email or SMS. There is also dispatch updates(date and time), or responses from a manager (date and time). For drone monitoring, there is also a geofence alert with a fleet fence line that alerts when the drone is outside or inside the geofence.

There are also sections that can help with drone tracking. This include: name, location/address, speed (mph), odometer, history, trips, and routes. Another concept for drone tracking involves the Point A-Point B concept. This includes: status (in progress, starting, finished), duration (min/sec), address, date, time (min/sec), miles (mi), weather impact. The final concept is Real-time ETA where clients can access a live view of route where they can check on delivery progress. This also allows the pilot to "Stop" and "Resume" routes.

Asset Tracking
This involves a logbook to unlock diagnostics. The logbook allows you to track time on site with a summation of drone(s) on site. The ability to manage assets allows you to select asset categories to keep track of separate infrastructure. You can also state how many assets you have. It is also important to have information on your assets such as: name, type, status, contact (name, phone number and email address), and address: assigned to what drone, and activity.

Data Collection
Reports of data charts and graphs

Navbar
Assets, Fleet Reports, and Support

Suggestions
Feedback or support

Mission Planning
Plan a UAV mission on your own

Persona: The Manager

Tom, 33

Occupation: A manager of drone pilots on a strawberry field

Personality Traits: Loyal, Organized, Diligent

Tom has a field that needs to collect data in their field of strawberries. They don’t want to send out personnel to go and collect the data for hours in the sun. Instead, they need an app to deploy their drones from inside their office. From their office, they would be able to track the flights of the drones, and see the data that the drone is collecting about the strawberries and the health of the land. With that data, they are able to make decisions about their next flights, and send the current data to whoever makes the decisions on what to do with the data next.

Goals: To find a safe way to collect data on their field of strawberries without sending personnel out into the field

​Frustrations: Weary about sending out crew to collect data on their field because it could be unsafe.

“It would be really helpful to be able to accurately collect data on our strawberry fields without having to have personnel out on the field for long hours in the sun."

Our resources relied heavily on our internal team and their knowledge in the industry. We had a team with degrees in engineering for aviation, along with a contractor from Robotic Skies who was in charge of workflow implementation, training and ongoing technical support. In addition, Birdstop was able to be granted access to a contract that allowed us to conduct BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) which allows operations for drone flight to be automated or tele-operated, without a pilot in the field.

Our limitations included having a small team and not having a front-end engineer to build out our website for marketing to clients. Another limitation is limited knowledge in the drone industry. Since Birdstop was creating a product that is a pioneer in the field, there are a lot of unknowns and technical limitations that our developer and field engineer had to work through. These limitations impact the design choices I made for the user who would be deploying the drones.

App Functions

The app's main functions are the ability to control all of your systems remotely and collecting field data for various infrastructures.

All functions can be done remotely within an office.

Data collectors no longer have to be in the field or placed in unsafe environments to collect data on infrastructures. They have full control of the drones from the mobile app.

Collect all the field data that you need within the mobile app.

The drones that are deployed by a field engineer can collect all the data needed for inspection. This includes photos and 3D models within the app.

Competitive Landscape

The only competitor that Birdstop currently has is a field service platform called Zinier.

Visual Landscape

This is the visual language of Zinier.

Brainstorming

Here is where I brainstormed the basic features for our product, and how they would all connect.

Information Architecture

The mobile app's information architecture was developed in Axure.

Interaction Frameworks

These are my sketches for my interaction frameworks. I pulled inspiration from my site visit for our client, taking notes from conversations with my CEO, software developer and field engineer.

Wireframes

Moodboard

Color, Designs, and Icons

Typography

Usability Analysis Tests

The purpose of this usability analysis tests was to see how effectively the user is able to navigate through the mobile app's interface and complete the given tasks.

Task List

Usability Analysis Test 1

Name: Kara

General Comments:

Usability Analysis Test 2

Name: Johnny

General Comments:

Usability Analysis Test 3

Name: Ryan

General Comments:

Usability Test Results

All of the participants were not able to successfully complete all 4 tasks. Some of the design needed to be updated with an easier user flow in order for the user to complete the tasks easier. UI changes included: text styling and coloring. This helped lead the user on the right path.

Final Design

Pictures

Here are some pictures of the mobile app and the drone!

Final Prototype

Back to top