Revolutionizing Drone Automation with DBOX and the Power of 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS

In the dynamic and rapidly evolving sector of autonomous drone technology, DBOX has redefined the capabilities and deployment of drones with its Drone in a Box solution. Co-founder and CEO Dr. Linas Gelažankas is at the heart of DBOX’s success. “Our company’s journey began with large-scale photogrammetry projects (measuring physical objects from photographs), and we quickly realized that although the drones fly autonomously 90 percent of the time, we still had to be there on site and swap batteries manually.”

Truly Autonomous Drones

The limitations inherent in the manual operation and maintenance of enterprise-level drones, particularly for large-scale projects, drove the inception of DBOX. Despite the autonomous flying capabilities of drones, the need to swap drone batteries presented a bottleneck that DBOX sought to eliminate. The goal was to automate drone operations to enhance efficiency and expand drone utility.

“DBOX is a game changer in drone automation,” emphasizes Gelažankas. “We have created a network of DBOXes that are scattered around cities on rooftops. Each of these boxes can automatically send a drone for a mission. In fact, the whole network of drones can be controlled from anywhere in the world using an internet connection with just one press of a button.”

DBOX eliminated the need for on-site human intervention by creating a network of autonomous drone stations. Equipped to protect, charge, and deploy drones autonomously, the stations ensure continuous operation under a wide range of conditions. The system is characterized by four pivotal innovations: remote operation capabilities, environmental protection, battery management within the box or station, and an autonomous robotic arm for battery swapping.

The DBOX is like a garage that protects a drone from harsh conditions. The box also maintains a temperature that keeps the batteries operating at peak capacity regardless of the weather. Applications include city infrastructure inspection, emergency response, agriculture, 3D modeling, and more.

Accelerating the Development Process

SOLIDWORKS® was integral to the design and prototyping phases of the DBOX project. “SOLIDWORKS has played a key role in our development journey,” reports Gelažankas. “By joining the 3DEXPERIENCE® Works Startup program, we gain access to a comprehensive suite of tools, ranging from 3D modeling, printed circuit board design, and flow simulation.”

The company engineers also used the resources of the 3DEXPERIENCE Works Centers of Excellence, which enabled them to rapidly evolve the DBOX from initial sketches, to 3D models of the prototype, to the final product.

“These tools facilitated the rapid evolution of DBOX from concept sketches to fully functional prototypes in a remarkably short timeframe of three months,” asserts Gelažankas. “The seamless integration of design processes, enabled by SOLIDWORKS, allowed for the meticulous refinement of DBOX’s autonomous systems and the customization of drones for specialized applications.”

Pushing the Boundaries

As DBOX continues to expand the boundaries of what is possible in autonomous drone operations, its journey offers valuable insights into the impact of product development technology on solving real-world challenges.

Gelažankas concludes, “Without the 3D modeling tools, it would be a nightmare to build such a system. SOLIDWORKS really allows you to skip the iteration process. You can go from your idea to 2D drawing, to 3D drawing, to the assembly, and once you’re happy with the assembly and everything, you can go directly to manufacturing.”

To view the DBOX case study video, click here. To read the full  case study, click here. If you’d like more information about 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS, contact your local reseller.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.