Link To Guest Website: https://www.targetarm.com/
Title: “Enabling The Launch & Recovery Of Drones From Moving Vehicles”
Guest: Jeffrey McChesney – TargetArm
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC
Click here to read the transcript
Welcome back to radio entrepreneurs. Again, my name is Jeffrey Davis. I’m the host of Radio Entrepreneurs, and we continue to stream stories daily on entrepreneurship and how everybody is continues to adapt to this economy. I want to thank everyone who has been involved with the show thousands of guests and hundreds of guests through COVID our next guest. A very interesting, I think entrepreneur, Jeffrey McChesney, CEO, and founder of TargetArm. Sorry, I almost read it wrong there. Good morning.
Good morning, Jeff. How are you?
Fine. Thank you. You’re a big AI guy, correct?
Well, not, not quite AI, but more in the drone business and then the, and the capabilities of delivering packages and to help the military out. So I put us more in the drone and robotics industry than in the AI, although we do have some AI associated with them.
I apologize for that. A mistake. Tell us, tell us about TargetArm. Yeah, so,
McChesney (1m 1s):
So TargetArm is a, is an early stage company, which I founded. And our primary objective is, is that we have a device that enables the launch recovery of both rotary and fixed-wing drones from any moving vehicle. And we can do that autonomously. We’ve already demonstrated that over 65 miles per hour, and that includes both cars, trains, buses, ships, and even to airplanes, which we’re working with air force on right now. Well,
Jeffrey (1m 27s):
I guess you’re a technologically a lot over my head. How did you get into this type of business in the first place? Well,
McChesney (1m 36s):
If you look at my background, it actually makes a whole lot of sense. Although I didn’t plan on being in this environment, I kind of fell into it. So I’m a former air force, a Colonel and a fighter pilot and combat commander for, you know, a full part of my career, you know, flying fighters. And what ended up happening was is I was also an aeronautical engineer coming from the air force academy. And I got into business after I retired from the air force and was involved in a bunch of different startups along the way. And then I read a article that came to me that asked from the defense advanced research projects agency, an arm of the DOD that looks out in the future and says, does anyone know how to launch and recover a drone from a moving cargo aircraft?
McChesney (2m 18s):
And I immediately said, well, I know exactly how I would do that. I would design this device called toolbar and I would do it with these two sets of counter posts, purees, which you can see behind me here. And the whole idea there was is that I figured, I knew how to build essentially a better mouse trap. And what I did was I started building it and it worked perfectly the very first time. And then I decided to start the business around it, that it behind you, that is it behind me. That’s a, that’s our current version version three behind us. And that’s just a static shot
Jeffrey (2m 47s):
Of it. Now again, you should explain that to me because I actually feel, I know less about what you do after taking a look at that. How does that thing behind you work? Exactly. Yeah. So,
McChesney (2m 60s):
So the way that it works is, is that because you’re with a moving vehicle, and again, this helps us being in an aviator from a perspective of knowing how aviation works and how air works. What ends up happening is the drone just is flying along. And then what it ends up doing is flying in between where those pins are retracted. So the pins are actually pulled out of the way the drone just is flying in, in, in smooth air and the pins coming encapsulated from both sides. So it captures it from both sides. And my word is a call in jails at all the way around and hold it in place. So the drone doesn’t really know that it’s being captured until it’s too late. It’s already, it’s already being taken care of and we call it a recovery. So it’s a launch and recovery system.
2 (3m 41s):
Wow. Now who buys this? So
McChesney (3m 44s):
Right now we’re, we’re in the early stages where our primary focus has been with the DOD and the air force in particular. And we’re doing the later stages on our research and development for our minimally viable product. So we’ve just achieved our MVP in late last year. And the air force is actually putting it on nuclear munitions, conduit protection. And we’re also designing it to go onto an arsenal aircraft, taking a cargo airplane and be able to launch drones to, and from that cargo airplane, while it’s flying into a combat theater, the other uses of it are that it’s, it’s both got a dual use for commercial and military. And in particular it’s really got a big package delivery option to it. So you can imagine this driving down the road, you’ve got a package, the delivery truck, the us postal service, Amazon FedEx ups, and the ability to launch a drone out the top of that truck, and then recover it back to that truck without having to stop increases the productivity of those packages and decrease the time it takes to get to you the actual user.
McChesney (4m 44s):
So there’s uses in packs delivery. There’s uses for first responders, both fire and police there’s uses for fire eradication out in the, out in the, in the mountains. There’s uses all across the maritime environment. Everywhere you can think of that. You’re in motion. You could now be delivering to, and from what you can’t do today,
Jeffrey (5m 7s):
Jeffrey, this is, this is really a great science fiction for me, that’s become reality. Clearly I, I would not be someone you would want to be recruiting, or I don’t know, maybe you would, it must be hard to find people, how do you do that? So
McChesney (5m 21s):
One of the things that I alluded to in the beginning here was is that the, we are a robotics company as well. So the folks that are in the robotics arena are actually the key components to what we’re doing, because you’re really taking a device and integrating it with another device and having them communicate and move at the same time. So it’s really robotics when you get down to it. And one of the reasons why Boston in particular, as the area that we go to is it’s, it’s essentially the robotics center of the United States and the amount of academia, the amount of startups, the number of companies and the amount of funding that’s running through there, including mass robotics on south channel street in Boston, I’m sorry, in south Boston and on channel street is a great opportunity for us to find the right kinds of people, which we have done to help us continue to evolve into a develop a toolbar.
McChesney (6m 11s):
Jeffrey (6m 12s):
Interesting. I remember a long time ago when I was working in the medical industry, they were talking about robotics in Michigan. So I guess in a Massachusetts has made a real push in that area to really become a leader. How do you maintain, you know, coming, going into COVID through COVID coming out of COVID we hope, how do you maintain a positive culture? Yeah, so,
McChesney (6m 33s):
So one of the, one of the great aspects where we actually were in, in Boston at the time that COVID 19 hit, we were a part of what’s called the air force accelerator, which is run by Techstars. We were in that accelerator at that time in downtown Boston, and we didn’t miss a beat. We, we transitioned halfway through the program from face-to-face into, into a virtual world. We had already been designed to work that way. We had a virtual employees already set up in the company. We had already had funding set aside. So we were ready to go for another two years if we had a downturn, which we did not have. And what we’ve been able to do is we’ve been able to continue to find people and to create the business environment that we need to, because in our arena, other than building our system, we don’t need to be together.
McChesney (7m 18s):
We can actually do it on a virtual world and we were already doing that. So COVID-19 really, wasn’t that big a deal for us other than I couldn’t get close to other people during that. Yeah.
Jeffrey (7m 30s):
So since you’re so advanced,
2 (7m 34s):
Give us a picture of what all this
Jeffrey (7m 36s):
Will look like. Let’s say in three to five years, do you have a sense of that? So
McChesney (7m 40s):
Let me give you, let me give you one example of it. I’ll do a commercial one in the military. One, if that’s good for you. So in a, in a commercial world, let me give you the vision of just imagine that the new iPhone 20 came comes out. Okay, we’ll just invent it, right? So it’s three to five years. So the iPhone 20 comes out and you want to buy it. And you now have an expectation of getting it as fast as possible. And you want to get the very first day that it shows up. So you can imagine that an Amazon truck would be leaving Boston heading down that mass turnpike on its way towards New York city. It’s a, it’s a semi-trailer, it’s got two or four, two Lars out the top of it. You order your device, meaning your iPhone. One of the drones departs from that semi-trailer and delivers directly to an Amazon truck.
McChesney (8m 24s):
Let’s say 10 miles north of the interstate delivers a hundred of the various orders that are in that area. That Amazon truck then has to lore on top of it as well, and delivers by drone to you. So it’s very possible that you could end up ordering an iPhone 20 and have it delivered to you in like 10 or 12 minutes to your home. So the expectation is the reduction in time for your satisfaction of what you want to do and you’ll pay for it. Obviously that’s one thing you care about. So that’s a, that’s a world that doesn’t exist today, where you take some things that are in transit and being able to connect to them, to, and from, for moving a goods in the package delivery service. So that’s, that’s one use case, and there are thousands of use cases that apply in the commercial arena.
McChesney (9m 8s):
In the military arena. You can imagine that an army is moving across the desert. Let’s just take a, you know, kind of an Iraq war scenario and the entire army is moving. And it has the ability to continue to move on. It’s launching its drones to check and make sure that nobody’s near them. And then this case, we’re working with the army to put it on an armored personnel carrier, because what ends up happening is you got 10 soldiers on the inside that don’t want to get out and get shocked. So they’ve got the ability to launch their own drone, look around 10 miles in their area that they’re clear, and then they can open the door and get out. So it’s a security issue and a force protection issue. And you can have that on every moving vehicle in an army as it’s moving, giving it the unbelievable insight into what’s happening on the battlefield.
McChesney (9m 53s):
So those are just two scenarios. There are many, many more like oil and gas inspections, Astro oil rigs, and beyond,
Jeffrey (10m 0s):
I heard that you were looking into oil and gas, and again, you have to fill in that gray area for me. I can’t figure that one out. Yeah. So,
McChesney (10m 7s):
So we’ve been approached already by three oil and gas companies to, to actually put two LAR on a Ford F-150 on the back of it in the Permian basin. And in particular, what they’re looking at doing is if you’ve ever been out there in, in west Texas and New Mexico, is there are oil derricks about every quarter or half a mile. I mean, there’s just thousands and thousands and thousands of them. And they have to inspect them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for just methane or other activities that are going on on those sites. And what they’re doing today is they’re starting to use drones, but they’re having to stop and watch a drone and wait for it to come back and land back on the truck and then move and do it again. And again and again, but they’re trying to use drones to reduce the time that they used to drive over to every single Derrick and do the inspections.
McChesney (10m 49s):
So it’s a manpower cost reduction issue for them out in the oil fields. The other uses for it are also line inspections. So the ability to drive up and down the power lines up and down the oil lines and gas lines, they’re looking for leaks. They’re looking for problems, looking for people, stealing stuff, all kinds of activities that they need to be inspecting as well as off shore. So in an off shore arena, you’ve got an off shore oil rig that’s normally under high wind conditions. So it’s 20, 30, 40, 50 knot winds that are coming to, and from that oil Derrick in our world with two LAR whether or not the truck is moving with two LAR or it’s stationary, and the wind is moving, it’s the same exact solution. The two are works for them.
McChesney (11m 30s):
So you could have a toolbar on an oil rig and be in Houston and launch a drone and do an inspection of the rig and actually get the results back in Houston. And the people on board, the rig don’t even need that you’d be worried about. It
Jeffrey (11m 41s):
Sounds like a Tom cruise movie. So exciting job.
McChesney (11m 46s):
This is the future. Rhe key differential Jeff, is that, that the world that you have right today, your, your digital world is connected to you. Why you travel and while you’re in transit, but your physical world is currently disconnected. Well, what we’re going to do is we’re going to reconnect that and say, you can have your physical world connected to you wherever you go as well.
Jeffrey (12m 8s):
Well, and we’ve been talking with Jeffrey McChesney CEO and founder of TargetArm, sort of a mission, impossible meets reality. Jeff, we hope you continue to talk to us to come back again to radio entrepreneurs, as you educate me on this wonderful technology. But if someone wants to learn more before you come back, how would we find you? I would somebody find you? Yeah. Well,
McChesney (12m 30s):
First of all, thanks for having us today. And I’d love to come back. So what you want to do is you want to go to our website, which is www.TargetArm. One word.com. So T a R G E T a R m.com. There, you can get all the information you can contact us. You can see videos. We also have a YouTube channel. That’s also target arm. So you just do a search on YouTube for TargetArm. You can see all the videos that we produced as well, and actually educate yourself on the technology that’s coming.
Jeffrey (12m 55s):
How wonderful thank you very much for coming today. It’s pretty exciting to talk to you and remind everybody, this is Radio Entrepreneurs. If there’s an entrepreneur out there, we want to talk to them. So don’t forget us and thanks, Jeff for being on the show today. Okay. Thank you, Jeffrey.
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