#022 – Drone Intelligence, Insight, and Peace of Mind with Joshua Ziering

In Podcast by Ian Smith


As a classically trained model aircraft pilot, Joshua Ziering didn’t easily imagine a future beyond flying chalupa-shaped blimps inside NHL stadiums. So he did what came naturally and built the future himself. Joshua, along with Jon Hegranes, is cofounder of Kittyhawk.io, a software company which specializes in drone fleet management that helps with every aspect of your operation, from pre-flight to post-flight. Joshua and Ian discuss why Kittyhawk.io is useful, what sets it apart, and a bevy of other drone industry news.

Click here to check out Kittyhawk.io.


#022 – Drone Intelligence, Insight, and Peace of Mind with Joshua Ziering

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[00:00:22] [Introduction] Welcome to Commercial Drones.FM, the podcast that explores the commercial drone industry the people who power it and the concepts that drive it. I’m your host Ian Smith.

[00:00:35] IAN SMITH: Hi everybody and welcome to Commercial DronesFm. Today I’m sitting in Kittyhawk Io’s office in San Francisco and I’ve got Joshua Ziering or Josh Ziering whichever you prefer over to my left here and we’re going to talk about drone software today. So welcome to the show Josh.

[00:00:55] JOSH: Thanks for having me.

[00:00:56] IAN: Thank you so much for being here. And thanks also to John cofounder of Kittyhawk for having me here too at your offices. So first things first, what is Kittyhawk?

[00:01:07] JOSH: Kittyhawk is an enterprise fleet management system so you have the ability to do all of your preflight planning, check out airspace, check out the weather and then you’ll fly your flight and after that we can help you drive insights from all the data that you collected during the flight. So the logs of the data not the actual data, not your pictures, not your sort of precision agriculture but all of the derivative flight logging information.

[00:01:31] IAN: Cool. And so the the name itself Kittyhawk of course that is where the Wright Brothers did the first manned power to heavier than air flight. I did just I’m going to do a quick book plug for Mr. David McCullough – the Wright Brothers was a fantastic book. I just finished it so you guys are kind of inspired.

[00:01:52] JOSH: Yeah it’s a hat tip to that. December 17th 1983. Those guys you had something good going so we feel like if we’re going to be part of the future we want to definitely make sure we’re paying attention to the past.

[00:02:03] IAN: Very respectable. Totally agree with that. So for Kittyhawk your tagline is preflight intelligence post-flight insights in flight. Peace of mind. Can you tell me a bit about that?

[00:02:16] JOSH: Yeah. So one of the things that’s really challenging and I mean luckily we have 107 now right we finally have regulations but being able to tell am I in airspace what am I doing what’s the weather. You know my kind of whole notion for do I care or should I fly right now is if I put the transmitter down and it blows away I know it’s too windy. I can’t see because it’s too rainy I shouldn’t fly. But you know a lot of people don’t have that kind of iron will so we definitely want to make sure that they have all the information they need prior to flying.

[00:02:46] So that’s kind of the preflight and then after the flight we want to take care of all the things like battery cycles right your lithium polymer batteries they degrade their disposable really. So in that capacity we help you track battery cycles reliability. We can do maintenance inspections checklists. The idea is all of the things that happened after the flight so I really kind of think in my mind that as your as your drone is flying there’s this kind of little stream of ones and zeros trailing off the end of it like a sort of a numerical chem trail. If you’re one of those conspiracy theory people but we collect we collect all those little ones and zeros and we want to turn them into useful information.

[00:03:24] IAN: That’s awesome. So you yourself actually I just learned started in drones or what did you call. Tell us about yourself. What did you call them and how long ago did you start doing?

[00:03:35] JOSH: Yes I’ve been flying RC somewhat professionally for the last 15 years so this was long before it was called drones and especially it’s cool now. Like I’m not embarrassed to tell people hey listen drones like that’s the industry I’m in, but no there was certainly a time when you know what are you doing tomorrow? Well I’m getting up early putting a giant model airplane in my car and going to a field with a bunch of middle aged men to fly my giant scale airplane. Yeah. That was not always the best tagline for a Friday night.

[00:04:06] IAN: Times have changed huh?

[00:04:07] JOSH: Times have change. Yeah but my moto has always been if it flies I’ll fly it. So I love this stuff and you know luckily now it’s a little bit more in vogue than it used to be.

[00:04:17] IAN: You were telling me about a story where you’re flying some type of like interesting blimp that was.

[00:04:26] JOSH: Yeah. Used to. I had a side gig in college flying for the Phoenix Coyotes and so what we would do i.

[00:04:32] IAN: What are the Phoenix Coyotes?

[00:04:34] JOSH: An NHL hockey team, so we would go to the stadium and Taco Bell had a blimp custom made so it’s a 17 foot chalupa. I don’t know if you’re a fan of Taco Bell.

[00:04:46] IAN: The blimp is shaped like a chalupa?

[00:04:48] JOSH: Shaped like a chalupa, yeah.

[00:04:49] IAN: It’s RC?

[00:04:49] JOSH: It’s RC. I’m a huge chalupa fan.

[00:04:53] IAN: I love chalupa.

[00:04:54] JOSH: It’s awesome. And so we had we were there one time and you know this this guy is kind of. Twittering about me. So what’s wrong, what’s wrong? we need to put more helium into it. It looks a little deflated and said look I’ve already done the weight and balance don’t touch. Don’t touch my aircraft. Says well listen. The guy who owns like 20 Taco Bells from the southwest is here and he’s like it’s got to be full or it’s got to be fuller. I’ve never heard someone pay so much attention to how a chalupa looks. He without my knowledge put more helium in it. So the guys come off the ice. We go out there and I’m kinda of like, what’s going on here? And it starts going up.

[00:05:32] IAN: You’re flying above the crowd?

[00:05:34] JOSH: Yeah, we would fly over the crowd and drop little free chalupa coupons.

[00:05:39] IAN: Was it like a servo powered, like little, like trap door that just like dropped a few.

[00:05:44] JOSH: It was a spring loaded up on the spring and the spring would kind of rotate – think like a vending machine and it would just kind of dispense these tickets. And so they kind of want to fly over the children and that is right I mean listen to us here. But you fly over the children get real low make them think you’re going to drop it and kind of fly away to a different area totally you know mess with the kids.

[00:06:04] IAN: Wow that sounds really cool and how long ago was this?

[00:06:07] JOSH: And this must have been. 10 years ago now.

[00:06:10] IAN: Are there any blimp like indoor blimp manufacturers?

[00:06:15] JOSH: It’s a big deal there’s plenty of RC blimps out there. So as I’m flying this thing it’s kind of going up and I’m giving it more and more down command and it’s kind of going up more and I’m like oh we may have a little bit of an issue here. So as it’s going more up I go full down command it’s still nothing. And I’m like oh man this thing is getting close to the light so I’m worried now in my head I’ve started like playing out what’s happening, like the halogen light melts through the blimp and this thing plummets on to the gaggle of children under it.

[00:06:43] But it finally gets into this I guess just column of sinking air in the middle of the rink and it’s going down on me. OK. This is also not going to I’m not going to try and steer it or turn it over center ice. So I finally got this thing down in the middle of center ice and I had to walk out all the way to center ice is the ultimate walk of shame right. You think you think crashing your phantom was bad. I had to walk out in the middle of a game to center ice and just grab this thing and do you know kind of drag it home like a bad dog. I just I was furious, furious.

[00:07:17] IAN: Oh man. Well I bet you got your fill of chalupa.

[00:07:22] JOSH: You better believe I was embezzling those coupons man. Poor college kid I was eating chalupas left and right.

[00:07:28] IAN: Nice man. Well we’ve graduated to a bigger and maybe better things.

[00:07:34] JOSH: Maybe. I mean I’d still go back and do that. Maybe a cameo gig.

[00:07:37] IAN: That’s awesome. That’s really cool. So going back to Kittyhawk now so you guys how long have you been around as a company?

[00:07:45] JOSH: Just over a year and this was this was just kind of a side project that John and I were working on and it’s taken on a lot of a life of its own.

[00:07:54] IAN: And what kind of customers do you guys serve?

[00:07:56] JOSH: You know it’s awesome. I think one of my favorite things about we’re here in Kittyhawk is that in the scope of even just a couple of hours I can talk to somebody who just bought their first drone or I can talk to somebody who’s flying in $85,000 you know 90 pound rotary autonomous vehicle and it’s like what?! just the amount of difference in our customer and user base is just it’s one of my favorite parts of the job actually.

[00:08:23] IAN: I agree. Yeah there’s there’s a certain passion that comes with people who are using drones. I mean they seem to be early adopters still. I mean this technology hasn’t taken over yet but it’s just there’s so much so much. Everyone’s very I guess I’m searching for an adjective. Just super hands on and very passionate about what’s going on with that piece of hardware and they want their operation to go like very very well. And I think what I’ve seen is just a huge sense of collaboration.

[00:08:56] JOSH: Yeah I think it’s interesting you mentioned that I think if I had to pick one word I would say that you know drone people are definitely a community of optimizers. These are people they want the best propeller they want the biggest battery. They want to fly the most tuned in aircraft they possibly can. I love that about them. I mean I want to make sure this is going to be the best possible thing flies the longest. It’s the most precise this is the kind of community that it’s the personality that it attracts and is kind of exciting that way.

[00:09:25] IAN: You can track everything apparently down to the millisecond.

[00:09:27] JOSH: Oh man so we we have a feature in our app that it’s my favorite part. We have a call the founders button so you can go into the app hit a button and it rings to myself or John.

[00:09:39] IAN: No way.

[00:09:40] JOSH: Call the founders and people take advantage of it and or you can text the founders if you’re more of a texting guy like me but we get feature requests and bug reports that are just out standing you would not believe it. It’s actually not fair really because they’re so good. It’s like well how do I even need to be here. Well maybe those guys should be coding it for me. That’s great.

[00:10:00] IAN: That’s awesome. I love that feature. When did you guys have you always had that did you just decide to kind of like put it in?

[00:10:06] JOSH: That’s something you know in the last six it was like about six months ago and we were we both kind of made this agreement. All right we’re going to try this little experiment out here see how this goes. Knowing full well it could have been a disaster unlike Because I mean there a time when I was you know honoree teenager I would have been prank calling myself as you’re at your own running you better catch it you know that kind of thing. Hey listen I have you know. Let’s see what, what would be five, a cuenta copter. I don’t know. It doesn’t work.

[00:10:35] IAN: Penta copter maybe.

[00:10:35] JOSH: Penta copter yeash. So it actually totally paid its dividends in the first I’d say a week or so because we got we talked to people who were saying hey I want to do this hey I want this feature and it really opened up a great user dialogue for us and we’ve actually built features based on these phone calls and text messages.

[00:10:53] IAN: That is amazing. The enterprise customers so the people who are inevitably flying 80,000 dollar machines how are they finding you guys. What are they. Are they. I mean you’re addressing something here that they really need. And what do you think it is that they’re looking for from a commercial perspective?

[00:11:10] JOSH: Well it’s interesting to think that you know if you’re flying this $90,000 machine chances are you may have something at home and what we’ve found is that there is a sort of a growth trajectory that we found with some of our users and the idea is they might find us looking for something for their phantom 4 and then they’re like whoa this is handy I could use this at work or they start out flying a phantom 4 and they you know grow up to three inspire ones and we kind of want to grow with them. That’s one of the things we’re really excited about. So we have a we have a free plan because you know start small. We’re here to help. And then when you’re ready to go to the swarm of inspirers we’re ready to help there too.

[00:11:50] IAN: Nice. Well what sets you guys what sets Kittyhawk apart from some of its some of its contemporaries the competitors that are out there? I mean it’s a pretty busy space. This is definitely needed. What do you guys do? I mean obviously having that direct contact with your customers is huge. But what else do you think that really makes your platform unique?

[00:12:11] JOSH: Well I think there’s three things. The first is that I am building the tool that I would want to use. So you know I used to live with an AMP mechanic and 2 CFIs. There was a checklist for taking out the garbage. I mean it was outrageous you know. The silverware was being micrometered. These guys were nuts. And you know you live that kind of lifestyle for a little while gets ingrained in you so I’m building the tool that I would want to use out in the field. And that’s I’m from an aviation background that’s just who I am. And so for me it’s very important that when something doesn’t jazz right I’m like wait a minute we got to go back and make this right.

[00:12:46] The second is that we’re mobile first and John is hyper passionate about this. You know I love this about him is that everything should be field phone. Here at the field you’re on your phone. We strongly believe that the phone is the most important tool in the drone operators toolkit. And so you know we always build mobile first and then the desktop kind of trails because you know back at headquarters it’s it’s the person kind of in charge of the operation they’re not in the thick of it trying to assess what information needs to be surfaced what insights need to be surfaced. What do I need to know right now.

[00:13:21] So we’re highly mobile first we’re on the Android placed on the Google Play store and we write our apps in native there natively written. So there’s no adaptations or hacks or duct tape we want to use the best of what’s available and how many people roughly.

[00:13:36] IAN: I mean we were talking about this just before we started the episode. I asked maybe we can just replicate this how many roughly how many people are are you know using Kittyhawk at this point?

[00:13:47] JOSH: Yeah we’re on the tens of thousands so you know but we don’t really you know user account is not our goal. For us it’s it’s engagement and growth. So I’d rather have honestly I’d rather have you know a thousand people putting in every single one of their flights perfectly than to have you know 20,000 people who open it to see what the K.P. indexes today. It doesn’t just that doesn’t get too excited so I want and we’re lucky to have very dedicated and thorough users.

[00:14:14] And so once you know they start we start collecting this data set we can kind of like sprinkle sugar on top of it. So for example one of the things we’re working on this week is we’re able to in retrospect add weather to all your flights. So you’re going to be able to log in and suddenly there’s going to be all this extra data about your flight and high winds today or you know you’re a you’re a cloudy day experts those kind of insights you can derive from data they’ve never even entered actually.

[00:14:41] IAN: That could be interesting for agriculture to just to kind of have that log. OK when I did fly this specific field this was the weather this was the temperature or the humidity etc. I wonder if that could be an additional just data point that could come in handy for them.

[00:14:57] JOSH: Yeah yeah totally. I mean you know and we think that with every data point we get we actually are able to add more value to everything. So that’s one of the reasons we just make sure that- If you want to put something in, log it – we do not charge based on usage. It’s one of our our cornerstones because we think that we can always make that data more valuable for you going forward.

[00:15:17] IAN: What do you charge on?

[00:15:19] JOSH: We charge on features and we try to.. the features set so if you wanna work in teams. That’s you know kind of a professional enterprise thing, we’re going to charge on that. And if you want to for example we have with the off line mode right if you want to sync everything if you work in the middle of nowhere that’s one of the features that we’d say that’s you’re no longer kind of an amateur at that point if you’re in the middle of nowhere find these missions you’re professional. So yeah you upgrade your tools man.

[00:15:46] IAN: Exactly. Cool.

[00:15:47] JOSH: Or lady as the case may be.

[00:15:50] IAN: Absolutely.

[00:15:50] JOSH: It’s a really awesome industry for that reason too is that I don’t think it has a lot of the – there’s a lot of awesome women drone pilots.

[00:15:57] IAN: There are indeed there are. And there’s a big I don’t even want to say movement. There’s just like an emphasis on that which is really nice to see and still in its infancy because it did cater. I mean if you looked at the what how many times when ever you know 10 -15 years ago and you’re at the RC field how many how many gals did you see? Probably like the daughters of the guys that were you know kind of dragging them out there maybe they didn’t find it is interesting and back then.

[00:16:22] JOSH: Yeah I mean it was you know it’s always kind of historically been a little bit you know male male driven unfortunately and I think one of the things that’s so cool is as it’s a lot more accessible and kind of you know you’re at the field on a Saturday morning and some crusty old dudes. You know this is better. I think that it’s very inclusive and I think it stems from the idea that you know a lot of forward thinking people in this industry and that’s you know not one of the things that’s going to be a cornerstone of you know this and we’re not going to be holding people back or non-inclusivity.

[00:16:51] IAN: Women bring balance to the force.

[00:16:54] JOSH: It’s very true.

[00:16:55] IAN: So what do people say when you tell them you work for a drone startup?

[00:16:59] JOSH: The first question I usually get in this is I love this as are you spying on me – which I’m not. You know it’s you know or are you going to deliver…

[00:17:07] IAN: ..Your users are spying.

[00:17:08] JOSH: Right. Right. Yes. It’s it’s the users that are spying please. I’m just supporting their spying. No, not at all. Yeah. It’s are you spying on me? Can we take pictures of something? And then usually it’s like. So what is it you do? Well I mean let’s not get you too into the weeds about this but yeah. Always are you spying on me?

[00:17:28] IAN: What is it that you do for Kittyhawk specifically? So you’re one of the co-founders you and John. I mean you guys do pretty much everything but do you kind of split the workload a little bit in different ways or do you guys just like jump into everything it’s like round robin?

[00:17:43] JOSH: I mean if it needs to be done we’ll do it. But I keep track of the API Web site a little bit more of I kind of curate some of the feature sets and then John does the mobile and the he’s the product guy the consummate product guy or as he likes to say the product disciplinarian because I think I need to get reined in from time to time I get very excited about stuff.

[00:18:02] IAN: It’s a good thing though we need the enthusiasm. Awesome. And so going a little bit more general here what kind of challenges right now do you think the commercial drone industry faces today? I mean okay we got to see Part107, boom. Let’s forget about all the tough time that it took for us to get there. You’ve been kind of seeing this from a slightly different perspective than most being just around. RC for so long so, what kind of challenges in the future are there for that specifically commercial operators?

[00:18:35] IAN: Yeah I think I think part of the problem is the vision of it all so you know we all know the 3-D is dull dirty dangerous these are the things the drones are good at but for me it’s envisioning what could this be like. I want to kind of think about sit around and think about a fancy world in the future so if you’re like me and you think that drones are this inevitable force right that this is going to be the future it’s well what can’t we use them for so like in my mind. Here’s a good example. You know this guy that the traffic guy like oh boy we have a line of break your heart lights on the 405 and don’t fall asleep at the wheel there’s a mattress and lane three you know this guy from like news chapter 7 or whatever. Yeah.

[00:19:17] That guy’s going to be unemployed – because it’s going to be it’s going to be drones, it’s going to be a fleet of them because why have an Astar you know sitting on top of your building when you can have 10 of these really high quality drones and so it’s going to be someone in front of a green screen kind of – Jim Cramer style, saying I give this a commute a one star. Right. You know shouting at the camera don’t go on the four or five but it’s not going to be someone from the air anymore with that awful connection.

[00:19:45] IAN: Yeah. I mean speaking of connections. So yeah the DJI Mavic Pro drone was just announced. I just did an episode on that when it was announced and it’s got like this insane 7 kilometer, 4.3 mile range that will transmit 720 p video to the transmitter on a drone that’s smaller than a Phantom 4.

[00:20:12] JOSH: That’s outrageous.

[00:20:13] IAN: That’s insane right?

[00:20:14] JOSH: That’s outrageous. I mean we live in the future. That’s what that tells me. We live in the future.

[00:20:18] IAN: This podcast will be aired in the future from right now.

[00:20:21] JOSH: Heady stuff man. Heady stuff.

[00:20:22] IAN: This is going to be intense.

[00:20:24] JOSH: Yeah. I mean that’s a pretty unbelievable range for 720 P and I have not seen one in person yet have you seen one in person?

[00:20:30] IAN: I have not but I’ve seen some nice upclose photos from – a big shout out to Phil Angel, crushing it out in U.A.E. over in Dubai. He got his hands on one. And it just looks awesome. His feedback was great. I got the email this morning.

[00:20:46] JOSH: Awesome.

[00:20:47] IAN: So it’s really looking nice from a hardware perspective.

[00:20:50] JOSH: You know speaking of hardware it’s interesting you bring that up because this is really one of the first drones that does not come with your classic to stick controller. You can fly it just with a phone. Right. That’s kind of emblematic of the notion I was talking before where the phone is going to be the most important thing it’s it’s where the battle is happening. So but you know I don’t like to think of myself as an antique but in a way I’m kind of classically trained. I’m like I’m an antique I’m old there’s not really there’s nothing left for me here. I might as well pack it in because you know there’s no two stick controller How do I fly this thing?

[00:21:26] IAN: You need the literal feedback. The haptic feedback on those from the controller.

[00:21:32] JOSH: I was flying a few weeks ago and somebody goes OK do you want Fiats like you know take a pull on that that. So bring it back, and they said wait. You don’t want to fly at FPV? I was oh no I can’t fly FPV. So they had to bring this thing back in insight so I could sit there and you know fly with the sticks with line of sight, like a big stupid antique.

[00:21:53] IAN: hat’s a skill it’s almost like you know when you’re doing flight training actually they make you learn how to read the charts instead of relying on GPS. So I remember when I was doing my flight training in the cockpit with VFR sectionals strapped to my leg flying around at the controls trying to figure out where I am just using dead reckoning and you know that’s a skill that is going to definitely go away. I mean people never really seem to take well why would you anyways? the drone out of GPS mode and use in attitude mode. I mean it’s good to practice like that. I mean if you’re really serious about trying to fly these things for a living then I think you should. I don’t know what are your thoughts on that?

[00:22:34] JOSH: Yeah I mean it’s interesting you say that, you know I was flying last week but a buddy was in town. He has a plane we went we went up the coast here did the over the Golden Gate over the Alcatraz kind of scenic tour and we were reading a paper chart because there was all kinds of crazy stuff happening and we had to annotate and you know foreflights great as a software it’s one of the softwares that we’re striving to be like but sometimes you just…

[00:22:57] IAN: Foreflights, it is the?

[00:22:57] JOSH: Foreflight’s the full scale aviation kind of you know it’s the moving map it’s got your sectional on it it’s got..

[00:23:05] IAN: Typically manned-

[00:23:06] JOSH: Manned aircraft and it’s awesome software. But you know I had to break out a pen and start putting in stuff in as we were flying by. We saw Sean Tucker of the Oracle biplane he went by us and I was like cool.

[00:23:19] IAN: You’re so old school. I love it. The classically trained RC pilot living in the future.

[00:23:24] JOSH: Yeah well trying and trying to build the future. But yeah I don’t know. Old school? How do we make that – I guess that sounds coo, well that’s better than antique.

[00:23:29] IAN: When you’re older you’re going to be like – when I was your age I was you know flying around in the fields – gassing up gas powered aircraft.

[00:23:40] JOSH: Well you know I remember when the first lithium polymer batteries came out and I was take it apart cell phones to peel for the batteries out of them to put in my craft and it was like oh it can only get three times discharge out of these and they come down piping hot or set one on fire in my basement. My mom was realy upset.

[00:23:56] IAN: Lipo fires.

[00:23:57] JOSH:Lipo fires. Those are – that I’ll wake you up real quick.

[00:24:00] IAN: Yeah that’ll take the plane down too, everyone be safe. Always never put – public service announcement.

[00:24:07] JOSH: Yes.

[00:24:07] IAN: Always keep your lithium polymer batteries in your carry on luggage because number one it’s illegal to put them in your checked baggage. And it’s very very dangerous in case something happens. You want to have them in your checked baggage with you on the airplane in the overhead compartment in case anything were to happen.

[00:24:24] JOSH: And that’s you know one of the things Kittyhawk helps with as well as you know keeping track of battery cycle counts so that you can make sure. Look it’s probably time to retire this thing get it recycled. You know rather than having it turn into a big fire. Yeah. Which is never a good thing. You never want that. If you don’t know if you’ve not had the joy of seeing this go on YouTube there are some tremendously entertaining videos of what happens when the lithium decides it doesn’t want to exist anymore. It is not pretty.

[00:24:50] IAN: And what’s one of your favorite commercial drone use cases.

[00:24:55] JOSH: The favorite commercial use case. Well look. Near and dear to my heart is drone delivery. The reason that we got into Kittyhawk is I was working on a project called Quickie. We were going to do pharmaceutical delivery right. These tiny..

[00:25:08] IAN: With drones.

[00:25:09] JOSH: With drones right. This is this was the notion and I think it was unfortunately an idea a little bit ahead of its time. Now the team from Australia doing it Flirty they’re doing a bang up job.

[00:25:19] IAN: They are.

[00:25:19] JOSH: Yeah they’re all…with everyone it’s great.

[00:25:22] IAN: They’re in the Smithsonian.

[00:25:23] JOSH: I mean – insanely jealous. I mean those guys are those guys are killing it.

[00:25:27] IAN: The Wright Flyer, the 1903 flyers’ in the Smithsonian.I’m so jealous.

[00:25:31] JOSH: And they’re right there next to them.

[00:25:32] IAN: Yeah it’s amazing.

[00:25:32] JOSH: Buy we were writing Kittyhawk as part of, you know an internal tool to use to keep track of everything and we ended up spinning it out into its own thing. I’m glad we did that. No the Flirty guys are killing it, a shout out to those guys, good job.

[00:25:47] IAN: For delivery drones.

[00:25:48] JOSH: Make my dream come true.

[00:25:49] IAN: It keeps coming up and often on the podcast. It’s a really interesting regulatory environment for delivery right now. I think there are some smaller companies that are probably a little bit more nimble than the big Amazon and Google’s that are trying to do this with prime air and then Google wing. I’m really interested to see how this pans out. When we start legitimately seeing I mean Google Wings delivering, what is it Chipotle burritos?

[00:26:16] JOSH: Yeah.

[00:26:17] IAN: Virginia University or something like that.

[00:26:20] JOSH: Well and you know it’s interesting that all the things that they’re delivering are like the things that I love – like OK chipotle burritos, a slurpee and a Domino’s pizza – like this is the future. I want to live in.

[00:26:29] IAN: You were essentially delivering chalupas.

[00:26:33] JOSH: Yes but not not on the scale or at this level. You know you can’t drop a pin Unfortunately that’s that’s from where my dream lives I want to drop a pin and have a Slurpee brought to me.

[00:26:44] IAN: I’m a huge just I guess giddy little nerd about. I want to be at a music festival or something like I don’t know outside lands or what have you. Lollapalooza and being able to order like I don’t know drink beer or whatever the heck and have it just the drone come. I think a couple of years ago there was a drone that did that before there was some crazy regulations and there someone developed some type of way at a music festival to deliver beer to people in the crowd. So maybe sometime soon.

[00:27:15] JOSH: You know we joke about like delivering all these kind of awesome stuff like you know giving ourselves Type-2 diabetes. But I was talking with a doctor who, he’s an emergency. He’s a surgeon right, emergency medical surgeon. He said something this is this is kind of crazy, said something like some outrageous percentage would think of an outrageous percentage when I tell you this.

[00:27:37] IAN: 100.

[00:27:38] JOSH: There it is – some insane amount of blood goes to waste because it’s not able to be used and so they you know they have to store blood in these regional trauma centers. And so if you’re in the middle of nowhere and you get in a car accident they have to fly you or get you to one of these areas seems like it would be awesome if we could be able to deliver a kind of blood on demand if you need him. This gives me the heebie jeebies because of blood flying around. But you know this is a tremendously important thing if you’re in a really bad situation and it’s some you need some blood you need it. And so I mean that’s way better than a Slurpee I think that’s way more valuable.

[00:28:14] IAN: That is OK. That is very valuable stuff.

[00:28:18] JOSH: Hope I don’t need it. But man that’s a good use case.

[00:28:21] IAN: Imagine if you were saved by it though. That old and your old curmudgeon ‘back in my day’ that would just be the full circle.

[00:28:29] JOSH: That be the ultimate irony right. I survived the car wreck and you know what happened when I opened my eyes what happened. Well the drone delivery saved your life. Noo.

[00:28:39] IAN: Well we hope that that if it happens that it works out. So privacy with drones. What does your stance on privacy with drones? We kind of mentioned that earlier but I don’t know what your stance your thoughts whatever. I honestly don’t really care because this isn’t something I’m super worried or passionate of about . Take some time to talk about privacy.

[00:29:02] JOSH: I mean, I’m pretty open on this stuff. For me it’s about do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy if you don’t then. You know I’m sorry, I don’t think that it’s any different than walking around with Google Glass. Right. It’s one of those things where Google Glass is such a problem because people don’t want to be recorded and you know you walk around in the bars in the city and they have no recording in here no Google Glass in here. And I just you know you’re out drinking. You don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You can ask any celebrity there’s TMZ following them around.

[00:29:32] But in my opinion yeah I don’t it doesn’t really bother me at all. I think the only real thing that we would want to. Just be careful of is something like. Alright so let’s say it’s doing license plate reading and it’s kind of flying around the city and you know you get a speeding ticket sent to you because this was a big deal in New Jersey. Right you get you go through a toll booth with your easy pass and it marks your time stamp and they know how far apart the toll booths are. So if you go too fast between the set distance of time they automatically send you a speeding ticket in the mail saying ‘listen unless you time travel, we know you are going 75 in a 55, Here’s your ticket buddy’ I think there could be some unfortunate use cases for that. The only reason I say that is I just don’t like getting tickets.

[00:30:13] IAN: Yeah I think we like drones so we might be a little bit biased but really with the way that like the current sharing economy we get Airbnb are letting strangers in our houses and sharing bathrooms with them and Uber letting people in our cars and sharing that with them. And it’s just becoming so commonplace. Obviously there’s a reasonable expectations. Yeah I don’t think people are using drones and very nefarious ways for privacy reasons at this point but it’s bound to happen. But I don’t think it’s being abused.

[00:30:45] JOSH: I did see one the other day where there’s some kind of pool that’s in this movie called Ridgen fast times or Ridgemont High. And there’s a pool in the movie and they you- this whole YouTube’s idea is they go to urban exploring and they wanted to see this pool that was in the movie and they flew their phantom for from you know a couple streets down into this person’s backyard to get a picture of this pool. You know I felt that’s probably not the best use case for this but apparently it’s a very iconic pool. I’ve no idea.

[00:31:17] IAN: I’m going to change my tone a little bit now and I’m sitting here thinking. Once optical zooms and really powerful ones are being put on affordable drones. I definitely could see some people abusing that and using like a 10,15,25X zoom to just look at stuff. I mean put the drone up and look at stuff. There are very powerful optical zoom so that is going to happen. But I think that what we, I don’t know.

[00:31:45] JOSH: You know or they’re looking at they’re watching you put in your garage code, right you’re opening your garage. You type in your four numbers and somebody is watching you do that. Your ATM code you know something like that where its..

[00:31:55] IAN: Yeah. All right. Well that definitely ok. I have done a complete 180 now that we started talking about that. I think without optical zoom it’s definitely less of a threat with and as inevitably that inevitably that comes DJI of course as a release the Z3, it has a 3.2 x optical zoom it’s not powerful but.

[00:32:21] JOSH: It sounds right to me.

[00:32:22] IAN: You know Aeryon’s got a huge. 30 X zoom on one of their platforms. But of course that thing costs over over 80K, I mean it’s probably up in the hundreds for that sensor. But anyways I digress so I know this has been a great time chatting with you Josh. So thanks so much for allowing me here.

[00:32:46] JOSH: Thanks for having me. We’re going to do this again I’m enjoying myself, I’m having too much fun.

[00:32:50] IAN: This is great, we’ve got a few loose ends that we need to tie up. But everyone you can go ahead and check out Kittyhawk at their Website, Kittyhawk.io

[00:33:01] They’ve got two apps one for iOS one for Android. They’re both free. They’ve got a free tier so you can check it out and start. If you’re a business user you can go ahead and choose one of their paid plans and see some of the features. You can go ahead and follow Kittyhawk on Twitter @kittyhawkio and you can follow Josh @oshuaziering on Twitter. And would you please follow the podcast as well, @dronespodcast

[00:33:29] JOSH: One more note if you’re working with an antique old school guy like me. It might be fun. We’re always looking for good people to join the team, so that’s hiring.

[00:33:38] IAN: OK,jobs everybody. Tell your friends, tell your family members too.

[00:33:44] JOSH: I Like it.

[00:33:44] IAN: Why not. Ok cool, so yeah, @dronespodcasts on Twitter, Facebook.com/dronespodcast. Maybe you like the show, you can leave a review. If you hate the show, don’t be too harsh but be honest. Because we appreciate honest feedback, so we’ll be back soon with another episode. And that’s it. We’re going to cut off the mics. Thanks again Josh.

[00:34:02] JOSH: Thanks Ian.

[00:34:03] IAN: Cheers.