FLIGHT TO THE TOP

Costa Rica 2018 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Nelson Mattie, CEO of Aerial Robotixs, on leveraging cloud-computing platforms, helping clients improve their decision-making processes through better analytics, and provisioning the best survey-grade digital cartography.

Nelson Mattie
BIOGRAPHY
Nelson Mattie is co-Founder and CEO of Aerial Robotixs, which finds advanced technological solutions based on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). With more than 16 years of experience working with remote sensing, photogrammetry, and GIS platforms, he founded Aerial Robotixs in 2014. Mattie previously worked for more than 10 years at Mattie Engineers, a private consulting and services firm focused on geospatial technologies and meeting customer needs in Venezuela and Central America. He holds a forestry engineering degree from University of the Andes in Venezuela, a master’s in business administration from Hult International Business School, and a master's in remote sensing and GIS from the University of Girona.

What is the background of Aerial Robotixs?

Aerial Robotixs is a young company specializing in the business of research, development, integration, and the provision of innovative solutions using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to serve the engineering and agricultural sectors. A Costa Rican company based in San José, it has business partners from the US, Canada, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and China and is staffed with a multi-disciplinary group of professionals and engineers from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

What products and services do you provide to your clients?

Aerial Robotixs services the agriculture and engineering industries, with solution offerings that combine software, services, and UAV flight systems, be it either fixed-wing or multi-rotor ships equipped with the proper on-board sensors to gather imagery and/or data that facilitates the study and understanding of a particular area of interest. We are capable of covering large areas with ease and capturing survey-grade data to create a broad range of derived products, from digital terrain and surface models (DTM/DSM) to identifying pests and crop disease. Aerial Robotixs has developed software workflows that automate processing, leverage cloud-computing platforms to manage large amounts of data, and facilitate running artificial intelligence algorithms to produce analytics and knowledge that can be used to support the decision making process. For example, in agriculture, we produce information about the health of a crop or soil composition that serves as input to machine control systems that guides the tractor to perform an automated variable-dose fertilization process. We have been working with the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), National Geographic Institute (IGN), Costa Rica Fire Department, National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the UN Office for Engineering Project Services (UNOPS), just to name a few.

What are some of the most important projects you have participated in?

We have been involved in the new bridge over the Sixaola River on the border between Panama and Costa Rica, line two of the Panama Metro, and the provisioning of survey-grade digital cartography for a new highway in Venezuela, an important one for the east of the country that connects the capital with petroleum-rich regions.

What strategic partnerships do you have with other companies to innovate and create new products?

Aerial Robotixs is currently working with Intel to develop specialized software to test our hybrid tech flight control systems, as well as DJI, a global leader in the drone industry. We are working with an international software company in Venezuela to design, develop, and deploy the architecture of our software system.

Does the company have any plans to expand internationally?

We are currently working on a business strategy to expand elsewhere in Central America. The market is there, and through joint collaboration with specialized local partners, we plan to provide the best service to customers with close proximity to their solution provider.

What is the company doing in terms of research and development?

We have been working for the last four years integrating electronic components, flight control systems, telecommunication systems, and developing our own drones (fixed wing systems), especially integrating sensors. That is the most important part of a flight system, as the sensor will capture the data. We are working, for example, with hyper-spectral sensors and are probably the only company in the region using hyper-spectral sensors for agricultural purposes. We are also working on testing different kinds of software, algorithms, and workflows to process and analyze data.

Why should companies work with Aerial Robotixs as a partner?

Aerial Robotixs is a one-stop shop that offers deep know-how from years of research and development and extensive practical experience in the field in this still young industry. Our proven track record of success in the exploitation of UAV, remote sensing, and photogrammetry proves our ability to make all this technology work in unison. This makes Aerial Robotixs the most unique ICT company in the region, with spanning capacity to operate in different countries and varied conditions throughout Latin America.