Charles-Henri, tell us about your background.
After my studies in Signal Processing and Telecommunications, I joined a startup called DiBcom, where I worked for almost ten years as a Signal Processing Engineer, designing hardware components such as digital TV demodulators.
Parrot Automotive acquired DiBcom in 2011, at which point I was the Manager of the Signal Processing team, a role I continue to maintain today. I created the software that defines the demodulator octopus3, a universally programmable television decoder.
What do you do at Parrot?
I joined Parrot Drones in 2015 as the Wi-Fi Project Leader to enhance the user experience with a better Wi-Fi connection. It’s a role that requires the collaboration of many connectivity specialists, from RF engineers, antenna designers, software developers from low protocol layers to video, chip manufacturer, etc. All these areas have to fit together smoothly to maximize the connectivity experience, that I regularly test in the field.
What attracted you to Parrot?
What attracted me to Parrot was the possibility of creating drones, because high-tech products such as drones necessitate a varied expertise. Working alongside automation engineers, mechanics, designers, video specialists and camera engineers is an excellent experience.
When it came to connectivity, there was a specific challenge that we needed to surmount and that was, the optimization of Wi-Fi connectivity for the drones we created. We broke down every individual layer, from the antennas and the video format to the Wi-Fi chip.
Recently there’s been a huge focus on the Wi-Fi/RF link of ANAFI. Tell us more about this and why it makes ANAFI so unique?
To really understand how we could improve the Wi-Fi link, we pulled apart the very first drones Parrot created to analyze them in-depth. Based on our findings we worked on creating a 4-antenna technology, known as the omnidirectional system, which maintains a strong signal, no matter what the direction of the drone.
The components we used on the electronic board enable the delivery of a clean signal at the maximum power allowed in wireless bands.
The Wi-Fi link found in Parrot drones is customized and is completely different from an average router you would find at home. The Wi-Fi present in Parrot drones needs to withstand constantly changing signal conditions, guaranteeing a low, but very robust traffic and very low latency.
To combat interferences, the drone is equipped with a strong frequency evasion algorithm. The drone and the controller will analyze the frequency spectrum and select the channels with the least interferences, and this automatically in real time.
We also wanted to inform pilots about the current quality of their radio link. The Return to Home feature is completely reliable, however, disconnections can still lead to an unpleasant flight experience. Users are now warned if there are interferences around them or if there is a risk of disconnection.
This new link is great when used with a smartphone, and gets better when used with Parrot Skycontroller 3.
What were your first impressions of ANAFI?
I feel that ANAFI is simple to use and is very efficient as a camera. It’s so easy to use, that I sometimes forget all the hard work and effort that went into creating it.
What are your favorite features?
I love the fact that it’s so light. This summer when I went to the mountains and I made sure ANAFI was always in my backpack. It’s so compact you tend to forget it’s even there. When I then see the videos and photos taken by this Parrot quadcopter, I’m surprised by this crisp quality and sharp colors.