7 Questions with Adam Kraif, High Lander's Head of Development
The first in a new series of employee spotlights, this interview is with our very own Head of Development, Adam Kraif. Stay tuned for future interviews and more insights into what's going on behind the scenes at High Lander.
1. What does the Head of Development do at High Lander?
As Head of Development, I’m responsible for planning and coordinating the workflow between the developers, setting goals, and evaluating development time for all the features targeted by the company.
High Lander is a software company, so being in charge of the software development side of the company’s product can be challenging and require great responsibility. This role requires me to work in parallel with multiple departments while also field-testing new features and constantly innovating to create the best product possible.
I'll share with you a little tip for integrating strong development in your company vision: developers dismantle the product into tiny bits, writing every line in order to build the complete system, so share the full idea with them, introduce them to the customer, and embrace the process of writing code in order to improve the product – it will do wonders.
2. What is the biggest obstacle holding the industry back?
I think that the biggest obstacle of the drone industry today is regulation. The world of drones can be divided into three parts:
The first is hardware. Hardware in general, along with the hardware of specific drones, took a huge step forward in the past years, creating smaller chips that can process much faster. That’s a huge advantage for drones trying to minimize weight. Moreover, adding “intelligence” to the drones with sensors that can understand the surroundings and act accordingly means that drones today can perform an emergency landing with only three active rotors - and most also have a parachute in case of a malfunction.
The second part is the operator. There are multiple companies today that develop flight logic – especially High Lander that creates order in a world of chaos. Before High Lander, in order to fly a drone, one would be required to be a drone pilot and understand flight logic and all the rules that come with it. Today, High Lander fully manages the flight space from the takeoff until the landing and all that is between, making it much simpler to fly a drone or even to fly multiple drones at the same time.
The third part is regulation. All of the things you can or can’t do with a drone. Today, High Lander is collaborating with some governments in order to bring drones to our life so we can all enjoy the simplicity of drones in all types of fields. It’s a slow process but safe and should result in great things.
3. How important are software developers to overcoming the hardware barrier in the drone industry?
The software in the world of drones is extremely important.
First of all, a drone is a very complicated machine to operate. Unlike cars, drones have multiple movement axes, so it can be a very frustrating and expensive learning curve to fly a drone. With High Lander software implemented on a drone, one can fly a drone in a matter of minutes and even perform complicated missions.
Second, drones have a weight limit and everything that is mounted on a drone should be carefully planned. At High Lander, we have clear guidelines to solve everything with software installed on top of the hardware that is already mounted on the drone, thus solving huge potential problems on the journey to be fully autonomous with the minimum hardware possible.
Third, with software, we can create autonomous drones and fully independent systems that can operate fleets of drones to help us with day-to-day tasks, thus improving our lives by saving us time and letting us operate in multiple places.
4. What do you see as the most exciting drone development in the past two years?
I think that the most exciting drone development in the past two years is delivery by drone.
There are few aspects to this declaration.
First, today there are three movement layers in order to deliver goods - below the ground, on the ground, and above the ground (in the sky). The first two require a lot of planning and infrastructure and can take years to deploy.
What leads me to the third option, above ground: since the Wright brothers’ historic achievement, humans have had the ability to use the airspace around us in order to fly, and we do so every day. But using planes or helicopters to do certain tasks or to travel some distances can be very expensive or even outright impossible sometimes.
Here is where the drones enter the picture: by allowing us to deliver goods with minimal prior planning, without special infrastructure, with great precision, and at affordable prices, drones empower places with bad infrastructures to save lives by delivering blood, medicine, organs, and more, all with drones.
Furthermore, as I mentioned before, the biggest challenge at the moment in the world of drones is regulation. Recently we have seen more and more projects by the government for drones, allowing drone operators like High Lander to execute pre-planned routes over the center of an urban, populated city for delivery purposes.
Image: Nurses at Herzliya Medical Center receive a medical delivery facilitated by High Lander and partners.
5. What do you think will be the next big breakthrough in the industry?
I think the next big breakthrough in the industry will be human transportation.
There are multiple companies today that create suitable drones for humans to commute or travel and completely disrupt the idea of getting from one place to another.
6. What does “drone agnostic” mean?
High Lander believes that innovation in the drone world should not be done by only one company or manufacturer - that's why we're committed to being drone agnostic and supporting every type of drone.
So High Lander’s product provides (both technologically and conceptually) the ability to support each drone and take advantage of its unique capabilities, and also creates the “language” between all drones in order to create order and understanding in the air space.
7. What is UTM and why is it so important?
So if we’ll get into the dry Wikipedia explanation, unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) is an air traffic management ecosystem under development for autonomously controlled operations of unmanned aerial systems. To summarize, UTM is basically a real-time set of rules for overlapping drone operations.
UTM is extremely important in the drone world and works in two directions: every single drone is required to report where it is and what it’s going to do, and drone operators can get the full picture of the airspace: NFZs (no flight zones), other drones, CTR (control tower region), etc.
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