IMAV

We’re now in the middle of summer, and even though we’re not affected by the heat much here in Sweden, we’re still in a slower pace as usual, since a lot of us are not at the office. Sales, packing, support and general maintenance takes up a lot of our time for those that are left at the office. We also usually take the summer time to clear out lingering issues and focus on some projects that we can tackle alone.

This summer though will be mostly used for preparation of a very busy autumn. As the Covid situation seems to normalize around the world, conferences onsite are restarting, and we plan to take advantage of this ! Here is what is planned:

IMAV – Delft, 12 to 16 September.

The 13th edition of the International Micro Air Vehicle Conference will be held in Delft, in the Netherlands. We’ve been collaborating for a long time with the MAVLab in Delft, so we’re really happy to be one of the sponsors for this conference. For the occasion, there is a nano AI competition that we’re really excited to see. With the AI bundle, the goal is to fly as fast as possible through an obstacle course.

We’ve been working a lot with the AI deck this past year, so this competition is the perfect occasion for us to see it in action. Kimberly has also developed a simulator that will be used for this competition.

ROSCon – Kyoto, 19 to 21 october

ROSCon is a conference dedicated to the entire ROS community, traditionally held right before IROS. Kimberly will be our proud represent there, as she will have a talk about ROS2 and the Crazyflie. For the occasion, she will showcase the latest ROS2 integrations in collaboration with the maintainers of Crazyswarm2.

Last time a Crazyflie was present at ROSCon was in 2015, where Wolfgang Hönig had a lightning talk. A lot has changed since that time, and we’re hoping to increase the presence of (tiny) aerial vehicles within the ROS community, especially nanocopters like the Crazyflie.

IROS – Kyoto, 23 to 27 october

IROS is one of the largest robotics conferences worldwide, and after an online edition last year, this 35th instance promises to be full of exciting things!

As it’s quite huge, and for a quite delayed 10th Bitcraze’s anniversary, the whole company plans to get to this conference. Not only for the chance to discover Japan, that most of us haven’t visited, but also because it feels important to have a significant presence in this conference, which promises a lot of opportunities. That would mean a week without anyone at the Swedish office, but you know where to find us if you would like to talk to us ;).

For the occasion, our intern Marios is working on revamping the autonomous swarm demo. Because of the pandemic, it’s been a while since we actually used it for a whole day of flying, and he’s actively working on making it completely autonomous by implementing the peer to peer protocol.

Logistics

As you can see, those exciting 3 conferences almost back-to-back promise a busy autumn here at Bitcraze. There’s a lot to prepare ahead of time, like marketing materials, demo setups, visas problems and hotel bookings. And there will be a lot to talk about, during and after. The pandemics have delayed a lot of our in-person meetings, and it will feel really good to finally get to meet up in the real world with users – old and new. If you have the opportunity, don’t hesitate to come by our booths on those conferences and say hello in person!

I know a lot of you will be too distracted by chocolate to read this post, so I will make it short.

I am, too, a little distracted by sugar

As I mentioned earlier, we’re a little under-staffed right now. Jonas left us for new adventures, and Arnaud is enjoying some time with his baby (here in Sweden parental leave is thankfully long for dads too). On top of that, Kimberly was away the last two weeks to visit various labs in Europe. She will talk to you about it once she’s back, I’m sure. But with just 4 people at the office, time is a valuable resource. So what are we doing with it?

Well, a lot of that has been dedicated to the AI deck, but that’s not the only thing we’ve been working on. Recently, we had the visit of one expert on dangerous goods shipment. During 2 days, we got to learn about how to properly send the batteries we have, the regulations that are involved and what we have to implement to ship them. It may sound boring… and honestly, it was not the most interesting. But we got a certification out of it, that now allows us to ship as many batteries as we want with your order ! The 2 batteries only restriction that we have on the shop should be lifted – but please be aware that if you exceed 2 batteries per Crazyflie, the shipping cost will be higher, because of the fee Fedex imposes on dangerous goods shipments.

And speaking of Fedex, there are some problems right now on their air routes. Avoiding Ukraine and dealing with some strikes for air traffic operators in Europe has not been easy on their infrastructure, and we have experienced some delays in deliveries unfortunately. It seems to go back to normal gradually, so let’s hope their usual speediness resumes soon.

We’re also working on the Mini BAMs, which is on the 18th of May and will talk about drones for aerial show. Our special guest speakers are from Collmot and Flapper Drones, make sure to answer this survey if you want to participate ! You will get more informations soon.

And if want to play around with the AI deck, you will have an interesting occasion in September. IMAV launched a competition, where the goal is to have the Crazyflie equipped with the AI deck perform vision-based obstacle avoidance at increasing speeds. Deadline for registering are Mid-May, you can find more informations here.

We are now enjoying a long Easter week-end, recharging our batteries with families (and chocolate!), hoping that the Swedish spring finally settles here. I hope you’re enjoying it too !