By Badri Murali
When people think of drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), faceless assassins in wars come to mind. Secondyear electrical engineering student Klever Freire hopes to change the perception with Intelli Quad One, a multi-rotor UAV that can scan environments and landscapes in 3D.
Freire is the chief executive officer and lead designer at DreamQii Inc., a recent DMZ startup that creates software and hardware products, combining artificial intelligence and robotics.
While drones are mostly associated with military destruction, Freire said that this is not the purpose of the Intelli Quad One.
“We’re promoting our units as industrial and commercial applications. At first, we will be targeting this to photographers and filmmakers who want to take shots and clips from the air. This can be expanded for more humanitarian and agricultural work, by helping farmers look at crop conditions from above, and can also help in spotting landmines from conflict zones,” Freire said.
Before taking electrical engineering, Freire graduated Ryerson’s aerospace engineering program in 2008.
An interest in intelligence and robotics inspired Freire to make his own UAV.
“I started working on a UAV in August 2008. That meant that I had to find the parts myself, assemble it, program it and receive training for it all by myself,” Freire said. “I’m interested and have a background in this, so I kept going, but I want to provide the out- of-the-box solution for those who want to know more about this, but don’t have the background in it.”
As of Aug. 17, the Department of National Defence passed laws allowing civilian aviation agencies to fly drones and other UAVs in civilian areas. This is creating a new market for the use of these devices for commercial purposes, such as the Intelli Quad One.
Working in the DMZ means more resources for DreamQii Inc. and more networking for Freire.
“It’s easy to be able to connect with people in any industry [through the DMZ]. If you talk to the right person, you’re immediately connected. Before, we did this out of a two-bedroom condo, and now, we have eight desks and a basement test facility,” Freire said.
Freire also says that it is important for the Intelli Quad One to be as Canadian as possible.
“We want to make sure that all the materials are manufactured and put together in Canada. It is hard to say no to lower manufacturing and development costs, but we want to bring those jobs back to our manufacturing industry,” Freire said.
For now, the product is still in its beta phase, testing for flaws.
Freire said that the Intelli Quad One will be on the market within six months.