Honeywell UAV experts explain new collaboration with Intel

By Luke Geiver | September 13, 2017

End-user clients looking for unmanned aircraft systems-services will most likely recognize the UAS-world’s newest duo of big-name collaborators: Intel and Honeywell. Through a new inspection service initially aimed at the utility and energy infrastructure sectors, Honeywell and Intel have teamed up to unite Intel’s drone platform expertise with Honeywell’s experience in aerospace and software.

Through the new Honeywell InView inspection service, industrial customers will be able to utilize Intel’s Falcon 8+ system and Honeywell’s software and other services. “A number of them [Honeywell’s data and software team] are working on some very sophisticated things including artificial intelligence, autonomy and advanced analytics,” said Brad Westphal, senior director for UAV programs at Honeywell. “Any of that and all of that is going on here.”

The Hoenywell-Intel team has performed multiple demo flights and data collection efforts to date with several more planned before the end of the year. Westphal is excited to be working with Intel—whom Honeywell has worked with in the past—because of the sophisticated drone platform offering Intel is providing. He is also excited for Honeywell’s ability to provide a powerful data analytics service.

“It’s really going to come down to the software. A few years ago it was about the platforms,” he said. “To help our customers, it will come down to what we can do with the data.”

Because Honeywell has a presence in several major industries—from building and materials to oil and gas—he said a strong base of customers that can benefit from the InView system already exists.

In the past, Westphal said customers have told him that data is the new oil. “What Honeywell sees is that there is value to data,” he said, “but when you look at archiving it, more data is just more data.”

Westphal agrees with the sentiment of a past customer who had a different take on data. “Data is the new sludge,” Westphal said a customer once told him. Today, the real mantra that should be used when describing data is this: good data is the new oil.

Jill Brown, senior manager for Honeywell Aerospace adjacent markets including UAVs, has seen first hand how excited users of the InView system have been. Brown, who came to Honeywell from NASA where she studied autonomy and drone operations in urban environments, said she has seen utility customers get very excited to see what drones and Honeywell can bring to their operations. “It has been great to work side-by-side with utility workers,” she said. “It is fun to see the lights go on for people when they see the value.”

Anil Nanduri, GM of Intel’s UAV business group, said his team is pleased to work with Honeywell on an exciting new opportunity. “The safety, flight precision and robust performance of the Intel Falcon 8+ system are a perfect fit for the Honeywell InView inspection service and will allow its customers to inspect, collect and analyze valuable data in a whole new way,” he said.

Included with the InView system is a UAV, pilot app and customizable web portal. Customers can organize or create standards around their routine and crisis-response inspections. Honeywell will provide a certified pilot and help select the right sensors for specific industry needs.

In the near future, Westphal believes his team will be providing predictive analytics based on drone-collected data.