Today, we are very privileged to be interviewing Randall Warnas; new CEO of Autel Robotics, the 2nd largest drone manufacturer in the world. For those who don’t know Randall he originally cut his teeth working for FLIR Systems with a focus on drones and their thermal imagery, as well as established the foundation of DJI Enterprise back in 2015.
SkyStock (SS): How did you get started with drones?
Randall: This was all by chance. I had just finished graduate school and was waiting to go to Officer Candidate School to do intelligence for the United States Navy. I had just moved to Las Vegas and met two guys looking to start a ‘drone business’. In 2014, drone meant a different thing to me, but when they presented a DJI Phantom and indicated they wanted to start the first brick-and-mortar drone store, my history of pioneering in the drone industry began.
SS: Tell us about your work at FLIR Systems?
Randall: While I was at DJI, adding thermal imaging to the Inspire 1 really was what kicked off turning drones from toys and prosumer devices to tools. FLIR, now Teledyne FLIR, is the largest manufacturer of infrared systems, and I had worked closely with them during my time at DJI. During my four years at FLIR, I had spoken at conferences around the world evangelizing aerial thermal imaging. Because thermal has become so important for unmanned systems, I had the privilege of expanding my network to nearly every major drone manufacturer and software developing organization in the industry.
SS: Congratulations on your new role as CEO at Autel Robotics, that must be very exciting for you?
Randall: I couldn’t be more honored to take on leading a company that already has a significant footprint in this industry into the future. I grew up in a pretty humble environment without a lot of mentorship being the product of a very blue-collar family. Looking at where I’m at now, I don’t want to lose sight of what I feel has got me to this point. People are at the crux of everything I have done, and listening to what the industry needs is what I’m about. Some people are smart enough to run a business on their own volition; me, however, I want Autel Robotics to be by the people for the people.
SS: What most excites you about Autel’s current offerings?
Randall: Autel Robotics is truly one of the only drone companies in the world that can force change within the drone industry. What we have at the present moment are companies quick to announce the technology of the future before it’s ready for press awareness and something to raise their next round of funding from. Being bankrolled by a successful sister company means that we do not need to act out of desperation. We can provide high-quality, low-cost airframes that solve the problems of today as we work to influence the legislation and use-cases of the future.
SS: You have obviously had experience with other drones, what makes Autel’s stand out from the rest?
Randall: I could go on and on about this, but the intangibles are the team we are assembling and our emphasis on getting to the core of our customer’s needs. The technology will speak for itself, but we want to speak for you, the user. Drone technology is too often developed in a vacuum, and I think we can do better. I pride myself on my ‘drone instincts’, and believe they are unparalleled because I have put myself in front of more early-adopters, industrial users, public safety agencies, and other companies in the drone industry than possibly anyone else. My team and I will continue to make ourselves available to receive inputs, solve individual problems, and raise the standard of how users and partners are treated in the drone industry.
SS: What can we expect from Autel in the future?
Randall: We already can manufacturer drones in the numbers only dwarfed by DJI. The drones we already have on the market delight our customers. We have good people in place to serve and support our technology. The future is all about giving the world a company that doesn’t leave you scratching your head like “what in the hell are they thinking.” Unfortunately individuals, small businesses, taxpayers moneys, and industrial expense accounts have been oversold on promises. Autel Robotics is different! We will be honest, transparent, and bring forward the solutions you want with relationships you can trust. How would that be?
Thanks again to Randall for donating his time. Very exciting to have someone in charge of such a big player in the drone market chatting to us. If you are interested in finding out more visit:
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