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Mid Year Update: Adoption of Drones in Large Companies Reaching a Tipping Point

Over the last six months we have seen a great deal of change in the drone industry.  

  • There has been tremendous interest and growth in demand for aerial mapping utilizing drones in numerous industries including aggregates, mining, construction and solid waste businesses.  In many cases drone usage has moved to mainstream processes and has replaced traditional alternatives (GPS survey crews, aerial flyovers, etc.)
  • Drones used for asset inspection - cell towers, wind turbines, bridges, oil and gas pipelines, etc. and insurance inspection have also seen a pickup in interest, albeit still primarily being utilized in pilot evaluation projects as opposed to mainstream inspection processes.
  • Although there has been a great deal of media discussion around drones in precision agriculture there has been very little domestic adoption to date.
  • Cinematography and aerial photography, mainly for real estate marketing purposes, are also seeing high levels of demand.
drone aerial mapping

To date, drone adoption in large companies has taken several forms ranging from

(i) completely outsourcing the drone program to drone service providers

(ii) to developing internal staff and resource capabilities to entirely manage internally

(iii) or a hybrid of combined external drone service provider and internal resources.

Further, we have seen many that initially were pursuing strictly an internally resourced drone program realize that the many varied skills and resources that are required for a successful drone program are very difficult to scale across an enterprise organization and have quickly moved their efforts to a hybrid model.

DroneView Technologies has grown substantially with these new opportunities and continues to add flying and photogrammetric processing resources.  With our focus on accuracy, reliability, scalability, repeatability and safety we have expanded our drone fleet to further leverage both RTK and PPK mapping solutions. All indications have supported these technologies, when they are deployed correctly, providing a means to reduce, but not eliminate the need for numerous measured ground control points.

It is important to remember that while drones have many valuable uses they also have limitation in which they are not the right tool.  We continue to frequently deploy piloted large format image acquisition as well as LiDAR acquisition around the United States as warranted.

DroneView Technologies released an advanced private, secure data portal for clients to view, store and share their aerial imaging and processed mapping projects.

On the technology front, drones continue to evolve with DJI expanding its lead in both the consumer and commercial markets.  Sensefly eBee has emerged as the clear leader in the fixed wing, higher end drone platforms. LiDAR for drone platforms has seen little mainstream adoption as price points have remained very high. LiDAR drone pricing is falling and we expect to see more affordable LiDAR drone solutions over the next few years.

As we reach this tipping point in the drone industry, we anticipate a rosy future for the balance of 2017 and beyond with mainstream drone adoption in enterprise organizations occurring at increasing rates.

 

Benefits of Drones for Landfill Mapping and Airspace Reporting

Most people’s first thoughts when they hear the word ‘landfill’ aren’t airspace calculations and topographical maps, however, to the owners and managers of these solid waste facilities, these are some of the most important aspects of their jobs.

Regulation limits the amount of airspace that landfill operators may use. Thus the optimization of waste placement and thus airspace usage is critical for the operators of solid waste facilities.

Drones in Landfill Mapping

 

Traditionally, landfill managers have used annually piloted airplanes for aerial mapping to get an overhead view of what their entire site actually looks like, and with the help of technology, conduct volume calculations to see exactly how much space the landfill is taking up. These once a year flyovers provide valuable information to the managers and landfill engineers, and help them plan out exactly where to put their waste next as well as helping them to complete their mandatory regulatory reporting.

Today, drones are now able to do many of same things for landfill operators as piloted airplanes.   For many sites, the same output can be created using drones to capture the images, yielding improved accuracy, quicker access to data, enhanced safety and reduced costs. Furthermore, as we have already begun to observe, landfill operators are seeing the operational benefits and are collecting this data with greater frequency, either monthly or quarterly. The planning that was once done annually can now be split up and done more frequently, yielding more accuracy and better site utilization than ever before.

Drones Increasingly Finding a Place in the Solid Waste Industry

Broad adoption of drones in the waste and recycling industry is just beginning.

Broad adoption of drones in the waste and recycling industry is just beginning.

As recently seen in Waste360, a leading publication for the solid waste, recycling, organics and sustainable communities, DroneView Technologies' CEO, Michael Singer shares insights on the solid waste and recycling industries' adoption of drone technologies. 

Broad adoption in the waste and recycling industry is just beginning. Much value and benefit from drones remains to be realized from the currently available technologies, according to Michael Singer, CEO, DroneView Technologies, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

“By better understanding the value and sensor capabilities currently available with drones, adopting drones into standard workflows and utilizing the resulting data will yield improved safety, more accurate and timely data and will reduce overall operating costs,” Singer says.

The entire story from Waste360 can be seen HERE

Drones: Transforming Stockpile Volume Measurement and Topographic Mapping

DroneView Technologies was featured in the March 2017 issue of North American Quarry News.

As one of the nation’s leading service providers focused on precision Aerial Mapping, DroneView Technologies is regularly asked many questions about drones, cameras/sensors, photogrammetry software, ground control, accuracy, IT processing and storage, privacy, safety, regulation among many other topics.......

......A drone and the ability to fly it legally and safely is only a very small component of an effective enterprise drone program.

See the full story in North American Quarry News HERE 

DroneView Technologies: Year in Review and Outlook for 2017

As 2016 has come to a close and we set our “wings” on a new year, much has happened both at DroneView Technologies and more generally, in the commercial drone industry.

With almost two full years of commercial drone operation under our belt, we have flown hundreds of successful missions for clients in over 20 different states throughout the country. We find ourself an industry leader, very clearly focused on what business we are really in, for whom we provide true value through our services and importantly many things drone related that we have chosen not to pursue.

Aerial Mapping and Geospatial Services

At our core, DroneView Technologies has quickly evolved into a leading aerial mapping and geospatial services company. Many ask, "What does that mean?" It means we work throughout the United States for civil engineers, land surveyors, earth moving, construction, landfill, mining and aggregate companies, among others, collecting aerial images using drones or piloted aircraft. We stitch these high resolution images together using specialized photogrammetry software from which we are able to build highly detailed, three dimensional models which in turn allow us to deliver to our clients precision mapping, topography and/or stockpile volume measurements.

Technology Enabled Services Company Delivering a “Whole Product”

We have found that success in the commercial drone services industry requires us to have a plethora of skills and domain expertise. The requisite skills for DroneView Technologies to deliver this “whole product” solution extend far beyond our ability to safely fly a drone and capture pretty pictures and videos. We have assembled a team of industry leading professionals that bring not only drone expertise but moreover photogrammetrists, surveyors, AutoCAD and LiDAR specialists, software engineers, IT data storage, security and networking professionals, among others.

The Commercial Drone Industry Has Arrived and is Here to Stay

Prior to September 2014, the FAA did not permit the commercial operation of drones in the United States. From this time, the commercial drone industry has grown from practically non-existent to a “real industry” today. We saw over 5,000 FAA section 333 exemptions issued [the original FAA commercial drone credentialing process] and in the last four months of 2016, with relaxed FAA regulation, almost 23,000 pilots received their FAA Part 107 commercial drone pilot credentials [the new FAA commercial drone credentialing process].

 

Market analysts and forecasts all point to significant market growth over the next several years, albeit with wide disparity in projected market size [PriceWaterhouseCoopers report: $127B by2020; Markets and Markets report: $21B by 2022]. Market insights from Colin Snow, Drone Analyst and CEO of SkylogicResearch, Jeremiah Karpowicz, editor of Commercial UAV News, and Mike Blades, senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan all substantiate the anticipated market growth and are notable as they provide well researched, credible and insightful industry perspectives.

 

Delivering Value to Customers

We have found four common threads that weave through all of our successful client engagements, namely: (1) improved accuracy (2) increased timeliness of relevant data, (3) enhanced safety and (4) lower costs. While each is somewhat self-explanatory, it is the combination of all of these, consistently delivered, that has allowed our clients to derive real ROI, operational benefits and improved workflow.

“Full Stack” Solution

Drones on their own are just a tool, much like a camera or a LiDAR sensor. Their value comes from how you use them to deliver solutions to real problems. DroneView Technologies has recognized that in order to achieve accurate, consistent, repeatable results from drones requires numerous discreet skills and expertise, properly integrated together that range from (i) Project Planning (ii) Equipment/Software Selection (iii) Image (or LiDAR) Acquisition (iv) Photogrammetric Data Processing (v) Reporting (vi) Data Storage and Archival.

 

Outlook for 2017

 

1.    The commercial drone industry is facing a Tipping Point where large organizations will move from exploring how to incorporate drones in their operations to widespread mainstream implementation in 2017

2.    Technology Enabled Service Offerings coupled with the requisite domain expertise will be the pathway for widespread enterprise drone adoption

3.    Accuracy Matters. Sophisticated companies are recognizing that high precision mapping utilizing drones (and piloted aircraft) for image (or LiDAR) acquisition is not simple and to consistently achieve desired results requires a team of specialists

4.    Strategic Partnerships – aligning organizations with symbiotic expertise and relationships to deliver solutions to enterprise customers will become more prevalent in 2017

5.    Acquisition, Consolidation and Contraction. Many are finding that a drone and a business card does not constitute “a sustainable business”. The drone industry will face a shakeout in 2017 – fewer companies with more focused and specialized offerings

We offer our gratitude and sincere thanks to the many people that have helped guide us on our journey. With clarity to our business and strength in a market leading team of professionals, we are extremely excited for what lies ahead for DroneView Technologies in the upcoming year (and beyond).

 

Our best wishes to all for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

michael

 

 

Michael Singer | ceo

DroneView Technologies

Aerial Mapping and GeoSpatial Services: Full Service. Trusted Solutions