Frequently Asked Questions

Applicability

Can FlytWare be deployed in very narrow aisles (VNAs)?

Yes, the FlytWare drone solution can be used in aisles as narrow as 6 feet (~ 1.8m).

Can FlytWare be deployed in very tall racks?

Yes, the FlytWare drone solution can be used in racks as high as 40 feet (~ 12.2m).

Can FlytWare be deployed in multiple zones in a warehouse?

Yes, the FlytWare drone solution can be used in multiple zones, either by having a single drone crossover from one zone to another, or by deploying multiple drones in parallel. This is highly dependent on the specific warehouse layout, cycle counting targets and is subject to health & safety restrictions at your site.

Can FlytWare be deployed in very long aisles?

Yes, the FlytWare drone solution can be used in aisles longer than even 330 feet (~ 100m).

Can FlytWare be deployed for multi-deep rack-based storage?

Currently, the FlytWare solution reads front-facing barcodes and QR codes. Hence it is ideally suited for 1-deep full pallet or case reserve. However, with certain operational improvements made in partnership with your inventory management team, FlytWare can be used for scanning broken pallets, cartons, and potentially even multi-deep case reserve.

 

Hardware

Who will provide the drone hardware?

FlytBase will provide the drone hardware as part of the FlytWare solution. This includes the drone, spare batteries and requisite accessories.

What drone(s) does FlytWare use?

FlytWare uses an off-the-shelf drone from a reputed, global vendor. The drone model is sold in thousands each month and is generally available in ample quantities at a relatively short notice.

What are the drone(s) specifications?

The drone currently provided as part of FlytWare is a quadcopter that weighs less than 1.75kg, has a flight time of upto 30 minutes on a battery charge, uses a battery with capacity upto 5000mAh, and can operate in temperatures between 30 deg F and 100 deg F. The drone has the requisite FCC and CE certifications.

What if the off-the-shelf drone is discontinued by the vendor?

FlytWare is designed to be hardware agnostic – it can easily be migrated to another drone model from the same vendor, as well as to drones with similar capabilities from another vendor.

Are there any risks associated with indoor drone flights? How are they mitigated?

The FlytWare solution is designed to be used only when there are no people, equipment or obstacles in the areas/aisles where the drone is flying. This helps avoid risks related to injuries and damage to equipment. Nevertheless, the solution does have obstacle detection and collision avoidance built-in, and real-time warnings are used to alert the FlytWare operator of potential collisions during flights.

Software

What constitutes the FlytWare software?

FlytWare includes software components that are deployed on the drones, on the ground stations and in the cloud.

Does the warehouse IT team have to procure any additional hardware or software to deploy FlytWare?

No, the FlytWare solution includes all the necessary hardware and software required.

Is inventory data collected by the drones stored on FlytBase cloud?

No, FlytWare uses the FlytBase cloud only for licensing authentication and software updates. The inventory data collected by the drone(s) is stored on the ground station and/or in the customer cloud environment.

How is the FlytWare software licensed?

FlytWare software is available on an evaluation as well as commercial basis, depending on the stage of deployment at a given warehouse.

What support does the warehouse IT team need to provide for FlytWare?

The FlytWare solution connects to the FlytBase cloud for license authentication and software updates. The warehouse IT team needs to provide the necessary security/authentication support to ensure trouble-free connectivity to the FlytBase cloud. 

Does FlytWare require WiFi throughout the warehouse?

No, FlytWare only requires an Ethernet connection at the ground station.

Deployment

What infrastructure do warehouse managers need to provide in order to deploy FlytWare?

FlytWare requires the following infrastructural support at each warehouse:

  • Network access for the ground station(s)
  • Power points for the ground station(s) and drone controller(s)
  • Forklifts / reach trucks / ladders for one-time placement of navigation markers
  • Storage space for batteries and spares
  • Access to conference/meeting rooms during the deployment period for operator training, SOP discussions, etc.
  • Personal data privacy and safety notices during drone operations

What are the ambient conditions required for drone flights?

To ensure stable, autonomous indoor navigation of drones – and reliable barcode scans – FlytWare requires the following ambient conditions:

  • Ambient lighting of at least 15 lux
  • No turbulence due to overhead fans
  • No unusually strong magnetic interference

Integration & Training

Can the FlytWare solution integrate with our existing Warehouse Management System (WMS)?

Yes, the APIs of your WMS can be used to automatically push data collected by FlytWare into the WMS. Until then, FlytWare can provide the data in CSV format, for easy imports into the WMS.

Does the FlytWare solution have its own APIs?

On a case-to-case basis, FlytWare APIs can be made available for specific integration requirements.

Will warehouse staff need training to operate FlytWare?

Yes, one (or more) warehouse associates will be trained to operate FlytWare, via in-person and online training sessions, supported by the relevant collateral. Operator certification will be provided, along with role-based access to FlytWare, to ensure that only associates with the relevant credentials can operate the FlytWare solution.

Will FlytWare SOPs be made available?

Yes, prior to, and during, deployment of drones, the FlytWare customer success team will work with warehouse stakeholders to create, update and refine the SOPs for seamless adoption of autonomous drones for inventory counts.

Support

[Actual support policy will be explicitly captured in the FlytWare contract.]

What if the drone does not fly as expected, or at all?

The FlytWare customer success team will be available on email and phone to help troubleshoot the hardware problem. Depending on the nature of the problem, a replacement drone may be provided, configured and made operational within 5 business days.

Who will pay for hardware replacements?

Depending on the support policy defined in the contract, the nature and cause of the problem, and compliance with the SOPs the cost of hardware replacements will be covered by FlytBase or the customer.

What if the software does not work as expected, or at all?

The FlytWare customer success team will be available on email and phone to help troubleshoot the software problem. Relevant bug fixes, patch releases and/or upgrades will be provided, configured and made operational – via the FlytCloud connection on the ground station.

What if there are changes to the rack storage layout at the warehouse?

The FlytWare customer success team will work with the trained operator onsite, and the warehouse management team, to ensure that FlytWare is reconfigured for the new layout of racks, including the necessary hardware and software, testing, etc.

What if there are changes to the format of the barcode labels used for locations and/or pallets?

The FlytWare customer success team will work with the trained operator onsite, and the warehouse management team, to ensure that FlytWare is reconfigured for the new barcode formats, including the necessary updates to the hardware and software, integration, testing, etc.

Availability

Is FlytWare available for proof-of-concept and pilot deployments?

Yes, FlytWare is immediately available for PoC and pilot deployments.

Is FlytWare available for production deployments?

Starting Q4 CY2019, FlytWare will be available for production deployments.

How large a scale can FlytWare be deployed on?

Starting Q4 CY2019, FlytWare can be deployed at dozens of sites, involving hundreds of drones.

Is FlytWare available via distributors?

Currently, FlytWare is available only directly from FlytBase.

Can I partner to provide integration services for FlytWare?

Yes, US and Europe-based companies are welcome to explore a potential integration partnership for FlytWare.

Pricing

What does FlytWare cost?

FlytWare is available as a Hardware SaaS solution. The commercial model has an upfront component and an annually recurring component. Actual pricing is available upon confirmation of feasibility and scope of deployment.

What RoI can I expect from FlytWare?

For customers with dozens of racks and multiple full-time resources engaged in cycle counts, FlytWare typically offers a compelling IRR of ~ 30% over 3 years, and a payback period of ~ 1 year. Of course, the actual RoI will depend on the specific warehouse layout, labor & equipment costs, target metrics for location accuracy & cycle count frequency, continuous improvements in inventory operations, etc.

Are any discounts available?

Discounts are available for volume and term commitments.

Regulation

Are any regulatory approvals needed for flying drones inside warehouses?

Drone regulation varies by geography – depending on your warehouse, please refer to the UAV guidelines from the corresponding aviation authority.
In the US, the FAA rules and regulations apply only to outdoor drone operations. See this for details. 
Some countries may require drone operators to obtain approvals, waivers, clearances, etc. even for flying drones indoors.

Is a licensed/certified pilot required to operate FlytWare?

Drone flights in FlytWare are autonomous – no manual involvement is required for takeoff, navigation, or landing. Thus, a pilot (skilled or otherwise) is not required.

How is OSHA applicable?

Since FlytWare is to be deployed in a similar manner to the current SOPs for manual cycle counts using fork-lifts, no additional OSHA compliances are expected at this time. By closing off the aisles during the drone flights, and having a certified operator oversee each flight, the warehouse manager can ensure that the relevant health & safety rules are followed, and the corresponding records are maintained.

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