Drone company Hangar wants to use Vapor IO’s network of edge data centers to support thousands of autonomous drones that the company will be deploying for its enterprise customers. All of these drones will depend on low-latency edge networking to be effective.
According to Jeff DeCoux, founder and CEO of Hangar, the company believes it can “tactically use Vapor IO to get data into the cloud.”
Currently, Hangar drones are attached to an individual operator. But Hangar envisions drones becoming like a service where enterprise clients (both in the public and private sectors) will be able to use the network of drones to perform services and the data from those drones is captured and then transferred into the cloud so that it can be analyzed. Hangar also plans to use Vapor IO’s network of edge data centers to provide navigation services, connectivity, drone storage, and drone recharging.
The two companies have been working together for about a year. DeCoux said that they quickly realized that drones will need to have situational awareness of other aircraft and be able to make spit-second decisions. To do that, they need to be connected to a decentralized internet.
“I think precision navigation is the largest opportunity that will be solved,” DeCoux said. “I see it as a service.”
Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge combines multiple micro-data centers to create virtual ones. These software-controlled virtual data centers can span an entire city and deliver cloud computing to the edge of the last-mile network. According to Vapor IO’s CEO Cole Crawford, the Chicago market is live and there are customers using the network. He added that the company plans to deploy 27 more sites by year-end. “We’re building out quickly,” he said.
And while Vapor IO has not yet announced the other markets, he said those cities have been identified.
Kinetic Edge is part of Project Volutus, which was a partnership announced last June. Project Volutus is a fully managed service bundled with hardware and software. Project Volutus uses the Vapor Edge technology but Vapor IO deploys the technology in the field at the tower sites.
Vapor IO has secured a minority investment from tower heavyweight Crown Castle. Crown has also been eyeing the possibility of deploying data centers at the network edge. Tower companies have some advantages because every tower site has a power supply and many tower sites have fiber connectivity.