Robot Aerial Security

A Moment with Jack Wu, Founder of

Nightingale Security

Intelligent drones responding to security breaches? A few years ago, the notion of this only seemed only possible in the world of Star Wars- today it’s a reality. Jack Wu is a founder of Nightingale Security, a robotic aerial security company that uses drones with AI. His company is poised to disrupt the security industry which still relies on human guards as first responders to a perimeter breach.  Without fully being away of the situation, first responders could unknowingly step into a dangerous situation. The automatic deployment of a drone could provide critical information that helps reduce the number of human security guards needed as well as keep them out of harm’s way. Not only is Nightingale’s robot as a service system safer, it’s a fraction of the price of traditional systems as well.  

We caught up with Jack for a quick interview at the 2018 Impact Summit

Question: How did how did Nightingale security come about?

Jack: My co-founder, John, have known each other since we were 10 years old. We've always played with RC cars, RC airplanes- basically we were interested in anything that could be remotely controlled.  Back in the late 90's I did a startups stint and he went off to get a PhD in aerospace engineering from Stanford after which he took a job with SpaceX. To make a long story short, after I exited with my previous company, I came to him with the concept of robotic aerial security. Immediately he asked, "do you want to do you really want to do this," I'm like yes! and I and then I asked him, if it was really possible. We did the diligence on the technical risks and also looked at the market risk- we did a lot of market studies in terms of whether there'd be demand for this. We also looked at the financial risk, is this fundable? Is this an idea that can potentially scale to acertain valuation that will attract investors. Once we had answered all those questions, we decided to do the business. 

Quick flight and features demo of Nightingale Security's Blackbird Block 2

Question: You have a very interesting business model, can you tell us a little bit more about it? 


Jack: The model is Robot As A Service (RAAS). It's basically SAAS but with a robotic system. The hardware itself is simply the platform that we need to be able to perform the robotic test. The data that we gather also is part of the solution that we provide to our customers. Our customers, in the case of security will be able to visualize- using visual data in the form of live video- to see a specific location. The system can then learn at the edge because we don't take our customers data up onto the cloud. The data is left at the edge behind the customers firewall where the machine learning happens. That learning then gets translated into intelligence for the drones. The longer the drone operates at a specific location, the more intelligent and familiar it becomes. 

How Autonomous Devices Are Poised to Shape the Security Industry

Jack's presentation at the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Expo

Question: Is the equipment is owned by your company? 


Jack: Yes, they're all robotic employees. We don't just have human employees, we have robotic employees and we also have AI employees. So one of them, Al (autonomous logistics), has the job to make sure that the health status of all of the drones is being monitored. When a battery needs to be replaced or when the drone needs to be preventively maintained- we send out a new drone, that's Al's job. So Al is sort of the healthcare program for our robotic employees, itself is something that gets smarter over time as well. 

Question: Where are the drones located? 

Jack: On rooftops, fenced off next to parking lots or anywhere where the customer has wants it. Some locations we've operated from are very challenging due to the weather- sand, extreme heat and extreme cold.

Question: Where is the operator of the drones located at? 

Jack: The customer operates it, but the customer are operationally trained and certified by the factory which is us- so we are the solutions provider. Once they are certified that means they know how to properly operate our system. We soldier prove our systems. We see ourselves as a robotics company that requires human input in order to truly realize the value of the system. Humans were great lots of things, imagination, artistry, opinions; these are all things that are not easily replicated by AI or machines. We are also not good at many things such as reliability in terms of doing the same task over and over again. Human error happens, it always does. Our system is designed so we prevent a lot of false user input. 

Question: Now a helicopter would have a searchlight to track people. Is there any plan to go beyond the camera to how you track people? 

Jack: There are definitely other payloads that could add value to our service, but the key is to make sure that the existing platform is very reliable and it meets and exceeds the expectation of our customers. After that there could be additional software services and additional payloads that's combined with software services sort of like a cable model so after a while the subscription fee can change and they could turn things on and off. 


Question: How does a potential customer go about contacting you?

Jack: You can find us on our website, 

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