SkyworksAS is led by a group of dedicated researchers, engineers, developers and industrial specialists with vision to create the premium UAS solution for confined spaces and indoor environment. The team believes in innovation and focuses on growing new industrial markets through adaptable business development.
Skyworks’ vision [is] to create the premium UAS solution for
confined spaces and indoor environment.
SkyworksAS’ UAS solution offers businesses and researchers a versatile way to collect and visualize useful data in applications such as search and rescue, imaging and inspection, and environmental monitoring in GPS denied environment. Integrated with the robust and agile unmanned aerial vehicle is an easy to use and cloud based ground control software that allows access to flight data, records, and logistics information. The systems are designed and engineered as a modular test-bed for scientists and researchers; and a turn-key solution for field operators.
Hey Nolan! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Tell us a little about Skyworks Aerial Systems and your role there.
As an unmanned systems engineer at Skyworks Aerial Systems, it is my responsibility to design and test the new electronics that go into our drones. We’re constantly thinking up new extensions and improvements to our drones, so there’s never a dull moment.
How did you get started in the drone industry? What type of training (formal or otherwise) did you get?
I was a recent graduate of UNLV when I was hired on at Skyworks. I had little knowledge of drones and UAVs prior to my employment, but I felt that the UAV industry was a ripe and fresh field to enter. Initially there was a learning curve as I was unfamiliar with the mechanics of and the politics surrounding drones, but I was able to quickly catch up by conversing with my coworkers and studying the current drone model the company had produced.
What resources are you using to develop your skills and knowledge?
Most of my training has come from the job itself. As a college graduate, I try to apply electrical engineering knowledge where possible, but there’s always something new to learn. If there’s something I don’t understand or don’t know how to do, I will generally turn to free resources, such as engineering forums on the Internet or have discussions with co-workers.
What advice would you give to others who want to get started flying drones?
Join a robotics club or hackerspace in your local area. This can give you a first-hand look at what equipment drone hobbyists or enthusiasts use. Quadcopter drones are becoming an increasingly popular entertainment device and can even be found locally in chain retailers. Picking up one of these “beginner” drones is a great way to understand the capabilities of such vehicles.
Share an experience of a failure you had (a crash, equipment failure, etc.) and what you learned from it.
Previously we encountered a problem with an electronics board where it was found to be fully functional, but didn’t fit into our current drone frame. This was due to a error in communication between myself and the person in charge of the frame design. Since then, communications have improved and the latest boards fit and function properly.
Where do you see drones and drone technology in the future? Give an example of a real-world application of drone technology that you envision.
As drones become more and more mainstream, we will see them not only in the hands of hobbyists and researchers. In particular, the robots and drones found in DARPA’s Robotics Challenge are paving the way towards a future where robots can perform crucial tasks, such as search-and-rescue or research in hazardous environments, and keep humans out of harm.
Is there an aspect of drones that you’re particularly interested in at the moment?
The use of drones for hazardous or illegal purposes or drones in the hands of untrained pilots can result in serious problems for air traffic and generate privacy concerns, as well as other issues. The regulations in consideration by the FAA are of great concern to companies like Skyworks and drone engineers like myself.
What was the best piece of advice ever given to you?
Always have someone else review your work. However sharp you may think your eyes are, chances are you will probably make at least one mistake.