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Interview: The future of ‘human to machine’ interaction

The drone industry has taken off like a rocket, especially when it comes to “remote operations” and an operator’s ability to control drones from remote locations.

Driving applications of XTEND’s technology. Image: (c) XTEND, with permission.
Driving applications of XTEND’s technology. Image: (c) XTEND, with permission.

XOS is a human-guided autonomous operating system that is revolutionizing ‘human to machine’ interaction from XTEND. XOS’s unique operating system allows humans to connect and interact with drones, robots, vehicles, smart devices, and smart machines remotely, safely, and intuitively. Letting almost anyone to control multiple remote machines simultaneously – using advanced AR, VR and computer vision technology on top of an AI layer.

Alongside its work in defense, XTEND is expanding applications of its scalable, affordable, and infinitely flexible operating system into law enforcement, public safety, inspection, and homeland security.

What does this development entail? Digital Journal spoke with Aviv Shapira, co-founder, and CEO at XTEND.

Aviv Shapira, co-founder, and CEO at XTEND. Image: (c) XTEND

Digital Journal: What is the story behind XTEND?

Aviv Shapira: The genesis of XTEND began in 2018 when our CTO, Rubi Liani, first translated his passion for drones into finding a solution to the incendiary balloons threat on the Israeli-Gaza border. Rubi was convinced that drones could be used to neutralise the balloons, while offering a safe, remote way for professionals in various scenarios to do their jobs better.

My brother, Matteo, and I, who are extended reality specialists, teamed up with Rubi and Adir Tubi, a defense specialist, who is now our CQO, to develop a range of drones and most importantly, XOS, a uniquely scalable, affordable, and infinitely flexible operating system, which allows humans to connect and interact with drones, robots, vehicles, smart devices, and smart machines remotely, safely, and intuitively.

DJ: What is the current focus?

Shapira: Today XOS is revolutionizing ‘human to machine’ interaction. Letting almost anyone to control multiple remote machines simultaneously – using advanced VR technology, on top of an AI layer. Alongside defence, XOS is now providing a new way for public safety, inspection, and homeland security professionals to interact with machines virtually in various non-combat scenarios.

DJ: How does XOS enable Remote Interactive Operations?

Shapira: The drone industry has taken off like a rocket, especially when it comes to “remote operations” and an operator’s ability to control drones from remote locations. For the past four years, XTEND has been developing a new and innovative technology called Remote Interactive Operations (RIO). The advantage of RIO is that it not only allows professionals to de-risk their operations by interactively operating drones or robots from a remote location, but it also allows them to make real-time decisions and change the way they carry out complex tasks in real time. 

While many companies provide remote operations capabilities, we are hyper focussed on ‘human to machine’ interaction and bringing interactive features to drone operations. We follow one major rule – “seeing” the remote environment isn’t enough. We believe we need to incorporate more human senses and capabilities, such as touch and sound, into the process.

This goes completely against what many in the industry are doing, as they attempt to eliminate human operators from remote operations. But we firmly believe the advancement of machines does not need to come at the expense of human operators, and when the two are paired together, they unlock a world of endless opportunities. 

DJ: What is XOS?

Shapira: With the user and that need for human capabilities at the focal point of our vision, we developed XOS, our very own patented Operating System to enable true human and machine collaboration. XTEND’s Operating System (XOS) enables anyone to easily connect and interact within remote environments using drones and other smart machines, without the need for prior knowledge or training. Allowing operators to move, see, interact, and run 3rd party applications on remote machines precisely, intuitively, and immersively. Using a blend of augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics, and AI to give operators the ability to be remote yet present, irrespective of whether they are thousands of miles or a few feet away.

DJ: Can you explain why you are expanding the application of XOS outside military drone use cases?

Shapira: After three years of live operations, we are expanding into new markets to ensure Remote Interactive Operations are accessible to everyone. Our aim has always been to make XOS the operating system of choice in a range of scenarios, outside defence. Allowing a range of professionals to control remote-powered drones and smart machines and carry out complex tasks that require human interaction and decision-making remotely. We are currently driving applications of XTEND’s technology, and our scalable and infinitely flexible XOS operating system, in public safety, homeland security, and inspection. Our aim is to begin revolutionizing human and machine interactions in manufacturing, logistics, travel, entertainment, and other civilian markets very soon.

Every day people are risking their lives to make our world safer. Our aim is to create a world where humans don’t have to go where they shouldn’t go. XOS is perfectly suited to operating devices in civilian scenarios, providing a new way for humans to interact with machines virtually. Meaning a range of complex tasks that require human to machine interaction can be carried out at a safe distance by first responders, inspectors, and security professionals, who are experts in their field, rather than expert pilots or drivers of the machine they are using. XOS is being used by hundreds of defence and security personnel across the globe, enabling machines to go where humans should not.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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