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Boeing & SkyGrid

Aerial operation system

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What is SkyGrid?

SkyGrid, a Boeing, Sparkcognition company, aims to provide automated aerial management system for drones and other unmanned aircraft. SkyGrid’s product provides complete aerial, regulatory, and vehicle-related data to the AI, which can in turn allow users to execute many kinds of missions. The goal is to be safe, and real-time.

SkyGrid was founded in the fall of 2018. The vision was to create a service that uses AI to solve aerial management challenges that are currently facing pilots, airports, and any personnels involved in aerial operations. The AI should automate aerial traffic, and allow each vehicle to be aware of other vehicles, area conditions, and its own conditions. 

 

When I first started at the company in June 2019, SkyGrid had no product. It was in an early phase figuring out exact what to serve to potential customers. SkyGrid launched its first product to the public in September 2020. During this time frame, I did research on customer needs, competitor offerings, and created conceptual wireframes, and later high-fidelity interface that eventually was launched in the product.

The video shows some features in SkyGrid.

Understanding customer needs

Getting to know customers was an essential step when designing a product. In the early days, SkyGrid talked with many potential enterprise customers to understand their needs in potentially utilizing aerial operations as part of their businesses. One potential customer, which is a multinational shipping company, was invited to the SkyGrid office. We got to know their needs and here are some what I got.  

Potential customer

Multinational shipping company

This enterprise customer needs to make different types of deliveries by the millions daily. Currently, many delivery drivers deliver the packages to the final customer. Utilizing drones would reduce the need for drivers, and reduce the costs significantly. We’ve understood how this customer thinks drones can be utilized in their operations.

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Happy path workflow  - suburban last mile

Below shows a simple workflow that utilizes a drone to delivery a good from a distribution center to a household. It is a happy path that assumes all conditions are favorable, and is meant to show what parties are involved in this simple operation.

Final household customer can select up to 3 landing zones

Central operation verifies route, launch location, delivery area, vehicle health

Delivery manager can create or review delivery routes, including stops

SkyGrid sends routes to central operation and drivers

Driver verifies launch location, vehicle health, package

Launch mission

Vehicle flies to delivery location

Verifies delivery location

Delivers good, captures delivery area

Distribution center loads packages and verifies packages are acceptable for drone delivery

Personas

Based on conversations with this potential customer and many others, personas were established to document and demonstrated what parties are involved in typical aerial operations.

Pilot

A user who operates the vehicle, who manages the vehicle during a flight, and execute missions.

Central operation

A user who manages missions for the entire organization. This user plans and manages flights. 

Technician

A user who manages vehicle health and performance. This user is responsible for servicing vehicles.