UAV’s: Designing Battery Powered Flying Vehicles to Support Construction, Agriculture, Mining, and Energy Sectors

Institute of Transportation Seminar

Sam Miller, Chief Technology Officer, Skycatch

UAV’s: Designing Battery Powered Flying Vehicles to Support Construction, Agriculture, Mining, and Energy Sectors
May 15, 2015.  1:40 – 3:00 PM
1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village

Drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs) have attracted plenty of public attentions in recent years for their increasing presence in commercial applications, government surveillance, scientific research,  and environmental conservation. They also have potential for a wide range of future applications yet to be imagined. Additionally, drones are becoming increasingly popular in the energy sector, carrying high-resolution cameras and sensors to perform various functions. including monitoring, inspection, detection, and exploration. And these are just the beginning. The seminar will touch on the following topics:

1. “What Skycatch does” — Briefly talk about the markets, products and the industry.
2. “Interesting data” — All the different data you can get from the air: focus on agriculture, mining, construction, and power sectors.  Specific examples that relate to power and transportation will be presented and discussed.
3. “How to build a battery powered UAV” — Discuss optimization trade-offs that apply to ANY vehicle (power, construction techniques, weight, lithium ion challenges, battery systems, run time, charge vs. swap strategies, brushless motors).
4. “The data pipe” — Discuss all the raw data that is pulled from the UAV, during flight and after landing, and how it’s transferred and processed and presented. (This could be considered “telematics,”  although the usage model may not be a close enough match. In most cases data collected is mostly used to deal with bad situations.)

At the end of the seminar, there will be a live demo of flying drones (if permitted) and Q&As.

Biographical Sketch
Sam Miller is the Chief Technology Officer of Skycatch (, a company that builds autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones, and offers data solutions and autonomous construction support around the world. Sam has an outstanding technical background starting at Intel, where he led a custom chip design team supporting Pentium IV processors.  Sam left Intel in 2001 to found a successful custom design company that he managed for 12 years, providing product design and manufacturing services for medical, defense, and high-tech industries. Sam has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.