In a private airport hangar in San Rafael, California, Auto Modality builds a “drone with a mission!” What does that mean? It means their unique inspection drone literally flies a mission using its own intelligence and problem solving rather than being guided by a person on the ground. They are, by their own definition, “putting the unmanned back in unmanned robotic systems.” ™ It’s remarkable.
Auto Modality’s unique combination of custom-engineered physical and software components coupled with a mixture of off-the-shelf and made-to-order components presented a series of production challenges as their product matured. After some research and assessment, they chose OpenBOM as a solution.
“There was a lot of engineering going on in parallel,” says Auto Modality Engineer, Aaron Roller. As the team approached the end of the proof-of-concept phase and headed into manufacturing they needed a better way to manage BOMs.
“We needed predictability and reliability to properly identify all the various parts and sources” he continues, “We have a mix of OTS (off-the-shelf) parts and custom parts, our imaging and guidance equipment is particularly challenging as we deploy it in a variety of configurations. We use OpenBOM to keep track of.”
While the Auto Modality line of drones is perfect platforms for detailed inspection of bridges, train-tracks, airplanes and other large super-structures they are not limited to above ground. Their SubT model is capable of flying predefined missions in confined underground spaces like transportation and utility tunnels.
As such the Auto Modality drones do not use GPS, instead they rely on a sophisticated Lidar system coupled with thermal+visual cameras and other proprietary image processing for guidance.
There are a lot of parts and variations.
“OpenBOM helps us track configurations of our product based on serial numbers. We can look up the BOM of a specific drone serial number to help us understand exactly what components are in the build.” Looking forward, Auto Modality plans to track firmware and software by serial numbers using OpenBOM.
“My favorite things about OpenBOM are that it’s cloud and maintains referential integrity” (editor: for you non-database folks that means data is maintained when linked between 2 or more places, it’s a big deal) says Aaron Roller. “I love the limitless number of people I can easily add to the team!”.
For more information and to see videos of Auto Modality autonomous drones in action visit www.automodality.com
To learn more about OpenBOM please visit www.openbom.com
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