Tag Archives: drones

Drones to Oversee Toronto / Ontario Highways

Big Brother is getting ready to fly overhead to make sure drivers are abiding by the rules of the highway code in Ontario.

Government of Ontario is studying  a way to unleash hundreds of drones around The Greater Toronto area to make sure motorists who take a high-occupancy toll lane are actually authorized to use it.

SeldomScene / Pixabay

The way the technology will work is that drones will scan the body heat in the car to see how many people are actually in the car , and if not the right amount of people, The Ministry of Transportation might send you a ticket in the mail.

Government has given the contract to The Sky Guys, a Drone Technology company in the Toronto area. Jeremy Wang, The CTO behind Sky Guys said:

“Our solution is a long range drone. The idea is that the drone is flying just off the side of the highway. It has an on-board camera and snaps pictures from the front, side and back views of each car. Basically we have our own proprietary software that can count the number of people inside and then a report gets sent to police if there’s less people than they’re should be. (A ticket) is linked to your licence plate.”

Brad DuGuid, Economic Development and Growth Minister said:

“All solutions developed will need to adhere to the relevant regulations, including privacy regulations.”

This story brings 1984 book by George Orwell to mind, where the overzealous government oversees citizens every move. The book wrestles with oppression in a place where the Party scrutinizes human actions with ever-watchful Big Brother and defying a ban on individuality.

GDJ / Pixabay

Imagine drones will start watching you to see if you have enough people in your car to use car lane, then if you speed, then if you fully break at the stop sign.

As 1984 Says:

“Big Brother is Watching You. Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

Watch out.

Toronto / San Francisco startup SnapEDA making it easy to build hardware

SnapEDA is a parts library for circuit board design. We provide digital content — similar to blueprints — that help designers bring products to life quickly. Our library is used by tens of thousands of hardware designers, from small shops to engineers at household names like Samsung.

SnapEDA is building the canonical library for circuit board design that every hardware designer will use. By providing ready-to-use building blocks for design, our library shaves days off product development time, allowing designers to focus on optimization and innovation. Tens of thousands of engineers worldwide rely on SnapEDA to design faster, whether they’re making smartwatches, drones, or robots.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

As an Electrical Engineer who wanted this product to exist, Natasha Baker (founder) decided to delve deeply into learning software a few years after graduating to get it off the ground. Once she did that, she recruited other engineers and computer scientists to take it to the next level. Team is now consist of 6 electrical engineers and a designer.

How are you being financed?

The company was initially self-funded, but we have since raised funding from investors.

Natasha Baker and SnapEDA team

Who is your biggest competition?

Our biggest competitor in “not invented here syndrome”. Traditionally designers have made their own digital content for circuit board design, right down to the generic bits and pieces. The hardware world has not yet embraced the modular, open source approach that software development has. And for good reason — unlike software, circuit boards exist is the real world, which makes errors very costly and time-consuming to resolve. However, once designers use SnapEDA and see its unique approach to verification, they don’t switch back to their old ways of doing things.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

With this project being Natasha Baker’s first startup, she has learned that startups have a lot of ups and downs. Think of it like a sine wave. Learn methods of bouncing back into the positive and you’ll be unstoppable!

Startup moved from Toronto to San Francisco

You were based in Toronto before but now you have moved to San Francisco – why is that? 

The company was started in Toronto. Both Natasha Baker and our product manager Mike Tang graduated from the University of Toronto from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) program. In the early days, the strategy was to recruit interns from local schools, including the Computer Science program at U of T, Computer Engineering at Waterloo and several designers from the New Media joint program between Centennial College and the University of Toronto. These students helped us bring things to life on a lean budget, and learned a ton in the process. To this day, we still consider them a part of our team, even if they have gone off to work on their own projects or in completely different industries.

Once we got into Y Combinator, we moved the company to the Bay Area for now because this is where a lot of semiconductor and electronic design software companies are based.

Website: www.snapeda.com

Montreal startup Flystro makes it easier to film using drones

Flystro is an online marketplace connecting companies with drone pilots everywhere for aerial filming services. using Flystro, companies from different industries like real estate, construction or events, can easily find a drone pilot and be sure they are receiving the best price and product.

Real estate drone video:

 

 

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

Flystro was launched by two co-founders: Bassam Rhou (CEO) who is an aerospace engineer and a MBA graduate with 8 years of experience in aerospace industry, and Marwan Benyoussef (CTO) who is a software engineer with ten years of experience in major software projects. Both co-founders shared the same passion for drones and decided to work together to build a platform to disrupt the aerial filming industry.

How are you being financed?

Flystro was initially bootstrapped by the co-founders. Later, Flystro received funding from various sources like Futurpreneur Canada. Start-Up Chile and Fondation Montreal Inc.
Flystro was graduated from the Founder Institute Montreal (2015), Start-Up Chile (2016) and National Bank of Canada – HEC Accelerator (2016).

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

A big obstacle to overcome will be the drone regulations. Currently there are many restrictions in operating drones for commercial purposes. However, the government authorities in various countries are working on new regulations that will remove several restrictions without impacting the public safety.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

We found that the best way to find good developers or designers is networking. Several startups recruiting events are organized from time to time where entrepreneurs can find highly skilled individuals who are looking to work with a startup.
Another good way to find motivated skilled IT guys is to use websites like Angelist or f6s which offer a big database of highly skilled potential candidates.

Who is your biggest competition?

We were the first in Canada to launch a marketplace for drone filming services. Currently, most of our competitors are few early stage startups that are mainly in US. We are differentiating ourselves by offering added value features and by helping drone pilots to have their certifications. For example, we are offering free templates to apply to Transport Canada for aspiring drone pilots in Canada.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?

Currently we are operating mainly in North America for industries like real estate and events. We are planning to expand geographically to other promising markets like Europe and South America and to be more present in some industries like inspection and infrastructures.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

The biggest lesson I have learned is the importance of keeping the focus. Entrepreneurs are always tempted by opportunities that can move them in too many directions at the same time. As entrepreneur, you have always to ask yourself if any action you plan to do is in line with your vision and strategy. If the response is no don’t do it!

Website: http://www.flystro.com