An AI drone at the service of companies

April 21, 2021 by Nora Nesser

Drones offering artificial intelligence capabilities are developing rapidly. AI provides drones with new capabilities that go beyond simple aerial imagery. Squadrone System offers drone solutions with AI capabilities developed in-house and through partners.

How does the AI drone work?

The “AI drones” use computer vision. These many technologies allow to detect objects in the air or on the ground but also to assist the navigation of the drone.

Computer vision


Computer vision combines cameras, edge computing, software and artificial intelligence to empower systems to “see” and identify objects. Computer vision uses deep learning to train the neural networks that guide the systems in processing and analyzing their images. Once fully trained, computer vision models are capable of recognizing objects, detecting and recognizing people, or tracking their movements for example.

Sensors are other components that allow the collection of data processed by drones and also positioning and visual data. Among the most known sensors are photo, video, or infrared sensors, but AI processing can be applied everywhere. These data are then transmitted to learning models. This step is essential because it tells the drone how it should react and how it should behave according to its environment. The drone will be able to analyze its environment and avoid obstacles or areas to avoid.

Applications of an AI drone

Detection et identification

Thanks to AI, a drone can be able to detect objects and identify elements it encounters during its flight. The AI drone is able to identify a living being, to do facial recognition, using thermal imaging in particular. It is equipped with camera(s) that allow it to measure the time, distance, position at each moment and therefore the speed of movement of a “target”.

Counting – geolocation of objects

Counting is one of the applications of the AI drone. For example, It can analyze and count road traffic in real time, or the number of individuals or objects present in a given area. It can also determine their position by calculation using the drone’s sensors and the camera’s axis of sight. These automatic counts can be used as a redundancy to manual counts.

Comptage et géolocalisation d'objets

Alerts – Object tracking

The AI drone can track objects and individuals.  For example, it would be technically possible to follow in real time the itinerary of a vehicle and thus know if an infraction has been committed (crossing a white line, running a light). The AI drone is also very useful to secure infrastructures with a saving of time and costs: it can verify that an area is empty and vice versa.

tracking d'objets

The complementarities of AI and other sensors


Associated with GPS technology, an AI drone can locate itself on the entire surface of the globe, on land or on sea. Thus, it can associate an event, an object or anything detected automatically with a precise position, and trigger a human intervention.


An AI drone is equipped with cameras that can extract information in 2D or 3D (stereo camera) in an environment. These cameras allow to follow in real time, to count, track or detect events.

RFID Technology

Associated with an RFID reader, an AI drone can collect information without contact and enriched with conditional information. RFID technology is used in particular in industrial traceability. Squadrone System controls the integration and calibration necessary for the manufacture of RFID drone.


pastille sonar

Combined with Sonar (a technology that measures the propagation time of waves to measure distances), AI can be used to understand the environment in which the drone is evolving even in poor lighting conditions for example.

Embedded / disembarked AI

Choose. Test. Validate

Squadrone System allows you to integrate AI functions in drones, in embedded (computing power in the drone), or in disembarked (computing power on the ground). Depending on the communication conditions, the drones used and the computing power required, one of the two solutions may be preferred.

AI Live / Asynchronous

AI can be performed in real time and embedded to assist the guidance of a drone (SLAM) in a more or less complex environment. Studies may not require embedded AI. AI can then be applied on recorded images – and therefore asynchronously. These techniques allow to allocate greater computing capacities.

How to set up an AI drone?

STEP 1: Correct condition

This step is essential: it tells the drone how it should react and how it should behave according to its environment. The drone will then be able to analyze its environment and avoid obstacles or areas to be avoided.

Training / Learning the algorithm 

STEP 2: Incorrect condition

Once the algorithm is trained, the AI drone will be able to detect errors and trigger an alert.

Application fields and assets of an AI drone solution

The applications are broad and currently in the experimental stage. Among the applications that seem promising, we can mention :

  • Safety: work accidents are one of the main causes of death in companies. AI will allow to secure buildings and work equipment. An AI drone can identify and analyze failures. It will be able to alert you in case of a problem (intrusion, technical failure, detection of unknown vehicles, individuals…).
  • Industry: thanks to cameras and various sensors, it will be possible to detect a contaminated surface and to clean it. This is the case for activities that release dust and particles. The AI drone identifies this dust and blows on the area to eliminate it.
  • Logistics: AI coupled with a drone solution will allow you to simplify inventories and the validation of a state of goods. Algorithms capable of identifying the filling of pallets, their condition and detecting abnormal situations are being tested.

AI drones will improve the operational efficiency of manufacturers and logisticians. Each use case is different and will benefit from an adapted algorithm.

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