DroneDeploy adds supports the latest DJI drones, improves annotation reports, and unveils a new 3D viewer
Over the past month, we’ve enhanced our platform capabilities to make drone data more accessible to our customers.
Read on to learn more about our latest drone support, improvements to our measurement tools and annotation reports, our new 3D viewer, and more. To see these new releases in action, sign into your DroneDeploy account today.
Support for the Latest DJI Drones is Here
You asked, and we delivered. We are excited to announce that we now support DJI’s latest drones including the Phantom 4 Pro V2, Mavic Air, and M210 + M210 RTK. Please note that the RTK geotagging is not supported in this release. For a full look at our supported drones, visit our updated support docs.
Annotation Reports Just Got Better
Check out the new and improved annotation report in the reports section of your exports tab. The report now includes link sharing & printing, surface area & distance, separate tables for each annotation type (distance, location, area, volume), and the ability to brand your report. This feature is available for any user. Create your first annotation report today.
Introducing DroneDeploy’s New 3D Viewer
Our 3D viewer got a big upgrade. 3D Models are now more responsive, and viewable in higher resolution. The new viewer also allows you to explore larger data sets on desktop and mobile. Stay tuned for more updates on what this viewer means for the future.
Extend Your Analysis with Surface Area Measurements
We’ve improved our measurement tools to include surface area. When you make an area measurement, you’ll now see two numbers on the sidebar — Area, referencing flat area, and Surface Area. You can also find both of these measurements in your annotation reports.
View High-Resolution Map Overlays on Your Desktop
DroneDeploy now supports vector overlays. This allows you to maintain the resolution of an overlay when you zoom in and explore your map. The next time you’re comparing your project to plans, you can do so with clear, accurate overlays no matter the level of detail. Overlays are available to all All Business & Enterprise customers.
Where to Learn More
Read more about our recent product updates and releases including:
As the drone industry continues to soar, public safety agencies are reaping life-saving benefits from innovative UAV technology
We are still pretty far off from a RoboCop future. But that hasn’t stopped police from soliciting help from robots on the job. Well, the flying kind anyway. According to a 2017 report by Freedonia Group, drone spending by county and municipal governments will reach $80 million by 2025 — mostly for police, fire and rescue agencies. Drone use by emergency services is up 82% this year already.
For police agencies, drones help officers catch bad guys, rescue disaster victims, and reconstruct traffic accidents. In fact, agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) now recognize the value that drones and drone mapping software represent for accident investigations.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits drones — and DroneDeploy — offer public safety agencies.
Collect Data Faster with Drones
Coupled with the latest drones, officers use mapping software from DroneDeploy to investigate accidents without wasting time or resources deploying manned helicopters. In many cases, a traffic accident scene scan takes less than 10 minutes with a drone.
Following a serious traffic accident, an FAA-certified officer used the drone, powered by DroneDeploy, to photograph almost 3 acres over the scene. Investigators were able to fly, capture and geo-tag each image, and preserve the entire scene in 3D, providing more in-depth insight into the accident’s cause and surrounding factors.
The best part? It required only a fraction of the time it would have taken a team of officers. “We were able to document the entire scene in just under 7 minutes of flight time,” said Sergeant Kelly Roberts of the Hartselle Police Department. Sergeant Roberts is part of a UAS working group comprised of police, fire, and other first responders in the Southeast U.S. working to integrate drones into the public safety sector.
“We think drones can help first responders act more effectively on the scene by capturing aerial information during natural disasters and accidents.”—Sergeant Kelly Roberts of the Hartselle Police Department
Increase Officer Safety in the Field
The same drone technology that keeps accident investigations short also keeps officers safe. Once an aerial scan is complete, investigators can review the data from their office, reducing the time needed to stop traffic, which in turn creates a safer experience for drivers and officers. Sergeant Roberts says this is a major benefit to public safety because anytime traffic is stopped the chances of another accident occurring go up.
Additionally, officers eliminate the need to travel back and forth to dangerous roadways to collect more data, such as road markings. One flight can yield all the data needed to wrap up an investigation.
Get a Birds-Eye-View of the Scene
Because drone flights cover an entire scene at once, data points are rarely missed as they might be in a typical “walk-around” investigation. “Having an aerial perspective makes a big difference,” said Sergeant Roberts.
In addition, users can generate real-time maps on iOS devices as the drone flies with Live Map — all without an internet connection. DroneDeploy eliminates the need to upload and process drone imagery, allowing users faster access to data, resulting in quicker decision-making in the field.
Reconstruct Imagery and Markup Maps
Once imagery is captured from the scene, it’s processed into high-resolution maps and 3D models for further inspection.
Using DroneDeploy, you can then mark-up the scene with notes, measurements, and annotations.
“The ability to take measurements in the software is a big benefit,” said Sergeant Roberts. “It generates comparable results to our officer’s existing methods.” And because DroneDeploy captures the entire scene in 3D, investigators can permanently archive the digital reconstruction. It’s also easy to share maps and 3D models with collaborators back in the office because DroneDeploy is cloud-based.
For now, Sergeant Roberts says that the drone program is a backup traditional evidentiary collection after an accident takes place. But he expects that to change down the line. “The hope is that one day we can roll out a complete UAS workflow and replace our existing methods.”
Where to Learn More
See how RTI Forensics uses drone maps and models help investigate catastrophic failures in this post.
New to DroneDeploy? Read our top 10 tips for making your first map.
Ready to add drones into your workflow? Read our free guide to integrating drones into your company here.
Real-time drone data yields 75% savings for Chasco Constructors on $29M project
Construction crews working on a 50-acre site in Texas earlier this year probably didn’t even notice that one of the project’s most valuable assets was hovering just a few hundred feet overhead. Flying a drone over the site gave project managers unprecendented insight into the project, and helped them achieve massive ROI.
Chasco Constructors deployed drones for the first time in 2017 to help it manage the construction of a 65,000-square-foot Public Safety Training Center in Round Rock, Texas. The entire project lasted about 18 months, and drone monitoring helped keep everyone on the same page. And get this: the work was actually completed ahead of schedule.
Drone data helped Chasco more efficiently manage everything from initial site surveys to ongoing work in progress. In fact, the value of using a drone on the Round Rock job was so easy to quantify that Chasco is now using drones to help monitor more than 20 job sites throughout Texas.
Chasco used a DJI Phantom 3 Pro drone, combined with drone mapping software from DroneDeploy, on the training center site. The software enabled a single technician to manage everything from flights and mapping to analysis and reporting.
Unlocking Faster Surveys and 75% Cost Savings
The guy who managed the drone was Michael Lambert, virtual design and construction manager at Chasco. He was responsible for integrating drone mapping tools into the project. “We used drones to monitor the progress of the work, including monitoring subcontractors and tracking materials and equipment,” he says.
One of the most significant benefits of using DroneDeploy mapping technology on the Round Rock project was improved site surveying efficiency. “It was about a 75 percent savings,” Michael says. This lead to tremendous ROI overall.
“What would have taken surveyors about eight hours took me about two hours. And you also have the cost savings of paying one person instead of a three-man crew.” — Michael Lambert, VDC Manager at Chasco Constructors
Using drone imaging analysis enabled Chasco to capture and analyze much more granular site detail than a ground-based survey team could collect. At the same time, it freed up the surveyors to focus more on what they do best, such as high precision layout, bluetops, and cut sheets for utilities.
Monitoring Work in Progress with Photos, Videos, Maps, and 3D Models
In addition to proving invaluable for survey work, the drone enabled project managers to keep a watchful eye on both their own work teams and subcontractors. Using DroneDeploy, Michael collected aerial imagery to make high-resolution maps and 3D models of the site.
Once the site was cleared and stripped, drone mapping was used to conduct a pre-construction topographic survey that defined the base ground control point (GCP) footprint for the life of the project. Michael used half a dozen fixed GCPs and several temporary ones to monitor ongoing project work, such as excavation and embankment. GCPs are particularly valuable because they use GPS to determine accurate positioning.
During the excavation phase of the project, the drone made weekly flyovers of the site. Once vertical construction started, Michael collected drone data every other week.
A key piece to Michael’s workflow was made possible with DroneDeploy’s newest feature, Progress Photos. It automated the process of capturing aerial shots to monitor work progress. It also made it easy to incorporate that data into progress reports for key stakeholders.
The photo reports were particularly helpful in keeping the City of Round Rock aware of the progress made on site. The photos and 3D models ultimately allowed the city council to provide greater transparency to tax payers on money well spent — an added benefit Michael never saw coming.
Cost-Effective Data Collection
As companies like Chasco have discovered, drones are a cost-effective data collection tool that provide a lot of bang for the buck. “Because drone hardware is relatively inexpensive, you can collect data every single week, or and even multiple times per week,” says Andy Putch, project manager at DroneDeploy.
Software helps convert that drone data into actionable business intelligence. For example, Michael used DroneDeploy’s annotation and measurement features to measure stockpile volumes and comment on maps shared in project status reports. “It’s easy to summarize project progress using the annotation marker,” he says.
Data from the drone also helped Chasco identify a potential issue related to excavation for a roadway.
“One of the major milestones is what we call reaching subgrade,” Michael says. “When we surveyed the subgrade, it wasn’t entirely correct. With the help of the drone, we were able to easily visualize the areas that were high or low.”
Ultimately, Chasco’s project managers decided that no modifications were needed. This eliminated the “mobilization costs” that would have otherwise been required to complete additional site work.
Looking ahead, Michael predicts that using drones will become a no-brainer for every major construction project. “I think the vertical aspect and the use of infrared will grow immensely,” he says. “As drones become more accurate, they also will become an even better tool for civil construction work.”
Learn how DroneDeploy and Procore help Key Construction win bids, monitor progress in real time, and improve team communication
The average large construction project costs 80% more than budgeted and run 20 months behind schedule*. While that may seem surprising to some, those who work in construction know that it’s easy for a project to fall behind.
From tracking site progress and managing subcontractors to keeping stakeholders informed, there is almost no end to the amount of coordination you face on any given day. As a construction project manager, you are the hub of an ever-changing landscape. But staying up to date on the many moving parts of a project can prove to be challenging — especially in an industry that primarily relies on paper-based reporting processes.
That’s where cloud-based software tools like Procore and DroneDeploy come in. By incorporating drone insights into your project management workflow, it’s possible to view your job site in a whole new way. And ultimately, provide your team with the information and communication tools required to keep your projects running on schedule and budget.
If you’re interested in cutting weeks off your project timeline and improving the way your team communicates, it might be time to consider putting drones to work. Watch our recent webinar and read on to learn more.
Here are three ways you can use DroneDeploy and Procore on your next project:
Shorten Site Surveys and Win Bids
Drones shorten the time it takes to conduct site surveys, so you can place bids fast, and accelerate the planning and design process with highly accurate drone-generated maps and 3D models. You can even overlay drone maps with site plans such as utility, wastewater, and equipment clearances. For more advanced oversight and planning, export drone maps into BIM, GIS, and CAD software.
Key Construction relies on drone data throughout the entire lifecycle of their projects. As General Manager Steven Wells notes, surveying a site is critical to the pre-construction process, and having updated aerial imagery helps him align his team and subcontractors.
This was a key part of winning a recent project bid to build a multiplex cinema in the Dallas Fort Worth metro area.
“We flew over the site and were able to capture pre-existing conditions,” says Steven. Then he overlaid design plans and notes directly on top of the map and synced it to his Procore project album. “This data went out in all our bid documents and to our subcontractors. The more information that everyone has, the better informed we can all be — and the better bids we can get.”
This data helped Steven and his team demonstrate due diligence during the customer proposal process. He says this ultimately played a big role in winning the bid for Key Construction.
“Honestly, I can attribute a lot of this to us winning the project. Due diligence goes a long way.” — Steven Wells, General Manager at Key Construction
Track and Report Progress Every Week
Weekly drone maps reduce the amount of time spent walking a site to monitor progress and inspect for safety issues. It’s easy to repeat flights each week for consistency and create a comprehensive visual record of a project. Steven flies the job site bi-weekly to capture progress.
“We continue to fly the site throughout a project’s lifecycle,” says Steven. “We use orthomosaics for coordination, along with Live Maps and Progress Photos to keep the business development and marketing teams aware of what’s happening on site.”
Your team can also capture Progress Photos and generate progress reports, accuracy reports, and stockpile volume reports for internal and external stakeholders, or compare real-time site conditions against plans to catch deviations before they add weeks to your timeline.
Each orthomosaic and digital elevation map can be exported to your Procore project album using the Procore Export app available in our App Market, allowing you to keep everyone up-to-date on any changes to the job site.
Communicate with Your Team in Real Time
Drones simplify communication and information sharing, both internally and externally. Aerial imagery keeps entire teams aligned and informed with up-to-date, easily digestible visual data. DroneDeploy is cloud-based, so it’s easy to share annotated maps between team members in real time from the field using any mobile device, or keep external stakeholders up-to-speed on the progress of a project through share links and interactive 3D models of a job site.
Check out Live Map, DroneDeploy’s real-time mapping tool which stitches aerial imagery as the drone flies on your iOS device—no connection needed.
By communicating in real time, with the latest information from the job site, you can shave days — or even weeks — off your project timeline, all while avoiding added costs and delays associated with paper-based documentation.
To get an in-depth look at how you can capture aerial data, generate high-resolution photos, maps, and 3D models with DroneDeploy, and learn how Key Construction syncs data to their Procore project albums for streamlined communication and project management in our recent webinar.
With the Construction Accuracy package from DroneDeploy, you get powerful insights and industry integrations to manage your project’s workflow from a single, easy-to-use drone data platform. Contact us to learn more.
The Nature Conservancy uses DroneDeploy to map aquatic habitats and assess the impact of oyster aquaculture on eelgrass in Tomales Bay, California
Conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends is no small task. But The Nature Conservancy is up to the challenge, working every day to protect our planet.
The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Since starting in 1951, the organization — and their team of more than 600 scientists — has been wildly successful in achieving its goals. To date, they have protected more than 119 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide. With ongoing projects in 72 countries, the organization addresses threats to conservation involving climate change, access to clean water, ocean health, and everything in between.
The team at The Nature Conservancy began using drones to help scientists in the field collect critical data to better understand what’s happening in aquatic habitats. Most recently they put DroneDeploy to work on a local project here in California with Hog Island Oyster Company.
We got the opportunity to speak with Matthew Merrifield, the Chief Technology Officer at The Nature Conservancy, about partnering with Hog Island Oyster Company and how his team used DroneDeploy to map aquatic habitats and assess the impact of oyster aquaculture on eelgrass in Tomales Bay.
“We find that the drones can provide a lot of primary science data for us,” says Matt. “The value-add of drones to us was the ability to capture really ephemeral activities, things that were changing on the landscape really quickly.”
Matt is leading the charge to integrate drone technology into field operations and sees drones playing a big role in achieving the organizations goals now and in the future. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s work with DroneDeploy, check out the short video below.
Learn more about The Nature Conservancy by visiting their website.
Check out Hog Island Oyster Company’s website to learn more about their work.
Scientists continue to adopt drones for field research. Read our recent case study with Ocean’s Unmanned to see how Maritime archaeologists use drone maps to survey shallow-water shipwrecks in marine sanctuaries.
The latest funding will help expand the DroneDeploy platform and introduce drone technology to new industries worldwide
2018 has already been a big year for DroneDeploy and our community of drone mappers around the world. Today it gets even more exciting. We’re happy to announce that we’ve raised $25 million to take our platform to the next level as we break into new industries.
“With this new funding round, we have the opportunity to work with more customers who will bring our drone data platform to new industries, and transform workflows on every job site.” — Mike Winn, CEO at DroneDeploy
We started DroneDeploy to make drones accessible tools to everyone, and we’ve since become the world’s largest commercial drone software platform by providing drone software that’s both powerful and easy to use. Our growth is a testament to the growing community of commercial drone users and the value drone data delivers to companies of all sizes. Read on to learn how we plan to put this new funding to work.
Teaming Up with World-Class Investors
This funding round is led by the Invenergy Future Fund, a venture capital firm focused on investing in early-stage companies that make energy and industrial operations more affordable, reliable, and secure. The round is also backed by AirTree, one of the largest venture capital firms in Australia.
“Our investment process into this market was customer-led. The consistent theme we heard from customers was that DroneDeploy’s product and accompanying applications help achieve significant ROI and reduce risk on the job site. We are excited about the early and growing market leadership the company has established in power and energy industries.” — John Tough, Partner at the Invenergy Future Fund
Invenergy and AirTree join our existing investors, Scale Venture Partners, Uncork Capital, Emergence Capital, and AngelPad.
Maintaining Our Momentum
We’ve seen unparalleled growth in 2018 as we hit a significant milestone: 30 Million acres mapped by DroneDeploy customers. We also released new features and developed strategic partnerships with SoftBank, Accenture, and The Climate Corporation. Most recently, we launched the industry’s only real-time mapping solution — Live Map — to provide instant insights on the job site. And our newly released enterprise cloud capabilities offer the management and security tools necessary to scale drone operations across large organizations.
We plan to use our latest round of funding to maintain this momentum. The funding will help us deliver additional value to customers as we expand our ecosystem of 80+ apps and integrations, develop new features, and accelerate a series of industry-focused solutions.
Building Artificial Intelligence Solutions for Industry
Over the last four years, we’ve built the largest drone dataset in the world — consisting of more than 100 million aerial images collected in 180 countries across 400,000 job sites.
Now we’re putting that data to work as we build industry-leading machine learning solutions to solve the real-world challenges companies face everyday. These solutions will help companies automate workflows and manage the influx of data generated by millions of drones. In the coming months, we’ll be releasing entirely autonomous workflows for measuring buildings and stockpiles, detecting objects and structures, and improving flight planning to collect high-quality data with the push of a button.
Learn more about the future of the DroneDeploy platform in our recent webinar.
Driving Drone Data Adoption in New Industries and New Markets
While we’re seeing incredible adoption in some of today’s largest industries, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to come as key sectors deploy drones to gather site intelligence. We’ll be using this funding to drive adoption in the energy sector as we expand our solutions to help solar and oil & gas companies generate aerial insights.
“DroneDeploy’s horizontal model means it is able to leverage best practice R&D from a range of industry verticals. We are excited to join this round, and we look forward to diving in and supporting the team with their Australian expansion plans” — Craig Blair, Managing Partner and co-founder of AirTree Ventures
To date, we’ve mostly focused our efforts on the US, but this funding will allow us to target new global markets, like Australia where we’ve seen significant growth in customers and revenue over the last year. We plan to continue this momentum by working with our partners at AirTree to digitize Australia’s largest industries. AirTree’s experience in partnering with global platforms to expand in Australia made them a natural choice as investors.
It’s been an incredible journey so far, and we couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come. We look forward to the challenges ahead as we work closely with customers around the globe to bring drones to every job site.
Learn how to use drone data to monitor progress in real time, improve communication, and make better decisions in our upcoming webinar
According to recent data from McKinsey, the average large construction project costs 80 percent more than budgeted and run 20 months behind schedule. While that may seem surprising to some, those who work in construction know that it’s easy for a project to fall behind.
There is almost no end to the amount of coordination you face on any given day. As a construction project manager, you are the hub of an ever-changing landscape. But staying up to date on the many moving parts of a project can be challenging — especially in an industry that primarily relies on paper-based processes.
Register for the upcoming webinar to learn how you can and read on to learn three ways you can put this technology to work on your next project:
Site Planning and Design
Drones shorten the time it takes to conduct site surveys, so you can place bids fast, and accelerate the planning and design process with highly accurate drone-generated maps and 3D models. You can even overlay drone maps with site plans such as utility, wastewater, and equipment clearances. For more advanced oversight and planning, export drone maps into BIM, GIS and CAD software.
Progress Tracking and Reporting
Weekly drone maps reduce the amount of time spent walking a site to monitor, track progress, and inspect for safety issues. It’s also easy to repeat flights each week for consistency and create a comprehensive visual record of a project. Your team can also leverage built-in analyses tools to generate progress reports for internal and external stakeholders, or compare real-time site conditions against plans — so you can catch deviations before they add weeks to your timeline. Each map can be exported to your Procore project album, so your entire team can be kept up-to-date on any changes to the job site.
Real-Time Communication and Collaboration
Drones simplify communication and information sharing, both internally and externally. Aerial imagery keeps entire teams aligned and informed with up-to-date, easily digestible visual data. DroneDeploy is cloud-based, so it’s easy to share annotated maps between team members in real time from the field, or keep external stakeholders up-to-speed on the progress of a project through share links and interactive 3D models of a job site. By communicating in real time, with the latest information from the job site, you can shave days — or even weeks — off your timeline, and avoid added costs associated with paper-based documentation and communication.
Attendees can expect to get an in-depth look at how they can capture aerial data, generate high-resolution photos, maps, and 3D models with DroneDeploy, and sync data to their Procore project album for streamlined communication and project management. They will also learn how Key Construction has implemented drones on their job sites.
Drones helped Key Construction save money, stay ahead of emerging issues, and salvage a subcontractor relationship on a $10 million project. Read the case study.
Get Started with DroneDeploy
With the Construction Accuracy package from DroneDeploy, you get powerful insights and industry integrations to manage your project’s workflow from a single, easy-to-use drone data platform. Contact us to learn more.
Making a high-quality 3D model with a drone has never been easier
Creating a drone-generated 3D model has always been part art and part science. But at DroneDeploy it’s our goal to make it simpler for anyone—no matter their skill level—to make high-quality maps and 3D models using our software. That’s why we’re excited to announce our Structures Mode.
3D Models. Simplified.
Structures Mode is designed to simplify the data capture process for anyone who wants to make a good 3D model.
So how does it work? Structures Mode captures oblique images from the perimeter of your mission plan, facing towards the center of your subject— while making sure not to include the horizon in the shots.
The best part? Structures Mode automatically collects the lowest number of images required to make a good model. Instead of needing hundreds of images, you can now get crisp models with dozens of photos. This means that your model will process faster in the cloud and you won’t have to wait as long for a finished product.
How to Use Structures Mode
Using Structures mode is easy. In the app’s flight plan settings, enable “Structures Mode” with a flip of the toggle. This allows you to automatically capture predefined photos of a structure located at the center of your map during flight.
Here is an example of a recent model we made of our office. This model was made with just 40 images captured in less than ten minutes.
We built this feature for recent DJI Drones, released since the Phantom 4. Please take a look at our list of Supported Drones to learn more about the compatibility of your drone and the DroneDeploy flight app.
So what are you waiting for? Give Structures Mode a try during your next flight.
Where to Learn More
Learn more about Structures Mode and making 3D models with DroneDeploy here.
Read our blog post to get expert tips on making accurate 3D models with your drone here.
New to drone mapping? Read our top 10 tips for making your first map with DroneDeploy here.
Don’t forget to check out our online resources and webinar series to get expert tips and advice for putting drones to work in agriculture, construction, and more!
Three reasons leading solar companies are transitioning to drones for surveying, inspection, and design
In the booming solar industry, efficiency is crucial to your company’s success. Whether you install solar panels, inspect and repair large arrays, or survey land for solar farm prospecting, drone photos, maps, and 3D models can
The latest drone technology — like aerial mapping, thermal imaging, digital terrain modeling, and automated roof measurement — gives you a rich set of data to streamline your workflows and generate real-time insights. High-resolution drone maps far surpass imagery gathered by satellite or manned aircraft in accuracy, accessibility, and cost.
With results like this, it’s no surprise that builders, inspectors, and surveyors are all turning to drones and DroneDeploy. So what are you waiting for? Here are three ways you can start putting drones to work in the solar industry right now:
Survey Property for Solar Farm Prospecting
To gather topographical information for a prospective site of a future solar farm, you traditionally have two options: rely on publicly available data or conduct a new ground surveys, neither of which are ideal for large-scale projects like solar farms.
In the competitive world of solar farm prospecting, it’s challenging to generate purchase bids quickly. Traditional land surveys can take weeks. By surveying land and creating contour maps and digital terrain models with drones, you can cut this process down to a few days. The Result: faster turnaround times and a leg up on your competition.
“Having a workflow to get your data out in a timely manner is key to success” — Kingsley Chen, UAV Operations Coordinator, SunPower
Read our case study to learn why SunPower uses DroneDeploy to map solar farms and manage a growing team of UAV operators around the world.
Design and Install Solar Panels Layouts
Drones powered by 3D mapping software like DroneDeploy can reduce the design cycle of solar energy projects by as much as 70%, and increase team productivity along the way.
Surveying a roof usually requires companies to send out surveyors to gather manual tape measurements, meaning they have to clamber across rooftops for about 2 to 3 hours. Drones capture measurements from the safety of the ground. Capable of flying close to any site, drones deliver precise measurements consistently and help surveyors generate accurate 3D models for further inspection.
After the drone finishes its flight — which typically takes 15 minutes — surveyors can review all measurements from their desks before producing reports and export the data into design software.
“With Drones, we save weeks on the turnaround time from initial design to deployable design.” —Albert De Sousa, Operation Manager at iSolara
Solar panels often overheat, go offline, or require maintenance due to excess dust, scratches or mechanical deficiencies. It can take days — or even weeks — to inspect large solar farms from the ground.
Drones can spot issues from the sky in minutes, and help teams pinpoint problem areas and fast-track repairs. Improve your team’s efficiency on site by conducting drone-based thermal inspections with Thermal Live Map. Generate thermal maps in real time and quickly detect broken photocells faster than ever before, so you can keep your solar operation running at peak efficiency,
As drone use continues to increase in the solar industry — for surveying, design, inspection, and more — so too does the potential that solar energy will become a primary source of all electricity in the United States and the rest of the world.
Where to Learn More
Learn more about DroneDeploy’s solar solution on our website.
Watch our recent webinar to learn more about using drones to automate roof inspection and measurement.
Download our free eBook to learn how to drone-generated maps and 3D models can improve workflows for solar companies.
Read our case study with iSolara to see how they implemented drones and reduced their design cycles by 70% in the process.
Check out our case study with SunPower to see how they leverage DroneDeploy’s platform to accelerate the land bid process and manage a global team of drone pilots.
As the drone industry matures, we’re quickly moving towards an era of automation. But what does that look like in practice?
Drone adoption is skyrocketing. UAVs have made their way into the daily workflows across the world’s largest industries. As builders, growers, engineers, and miners scale their drone operations, the amount of drone data collected will only continue to grow.
So, how will drone technology adapt to manage the influx of data generated by millions of drones in the years to come? And how will DroneDeploy help companies digest massive amounts of aerial information collected on job sites every day?
The answer is automation.
Learn more about the future of commercial drones and automation in our recent webinar.
A New Era of Automation is Coming
The commercial drone industry is on the cusp of a new era of automation. While automated drone flight is nothing new, measuring and analyzing aerial data is still very much a manual process. As our industry matures — and large enterprises scale their drone operations — automation will be necessary to ensure consistent and accurate results. The only way ten different people on ten different job sites will be able to generate consistent data is through automated flight, measurement, and reporting.
DroneDeploy has been here since the beginning, and we have seen an evolution in the way companies adopt drones. What began as pilot programs and outsourced contracting has quickly moved in-house as companies realized the value drones provide. We’re currently seeing early adopters start to scale their programs to national and international levels. And they need more advanced software solutions to keep up with their growth.
Watch our recent webinar to hear more about the future of drone automation.
What Does it Take to Scale Drone Operations?
The way we see it, scaling operations comes down to three things:
For any company to grow a drone program, they must be able to produce a repeatable workflow that is easy for workers to integrate into their day-to-day operations. If a workflow can’t isn’t easily replicated, it’s harder to train. And it surely can’t scale.
Reliable Hardware and Software
Any scalable solution has to be reliable. Companies need solutions they can trust every time to work and deliver the insights they rely on to make smarter business decisions. That is why reliability is a tenant of any widely adopted technology. Drones are no different.
Consistency is necessary if a company is to implement a drone solution at scale. And unfortunately, manual measurement and analyses are not only time-consuming but also prone to error. Machines can help. Which is why automation will rely on algorithms and deep learning to drive consistent, accurate results every time. We’re already putting this into practice with Roof Reports.
Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Artificial Intelligence Lead the Way
The key to scaling is automation. But how do you automate the analysis of aerial data? This is where machine learning and artificial intelligence come in. We can teach machines to detect patterns and objects, make accurate measurements, and transform large data sets into digestible reports.
There has been a lot of talk about these technologies in the commercial drone industry, with little action. Why is that? Well, as a new industry we’re just getting started. And to deliver true AI-assisted solutions to automate workflows you need data, lots of it. That’s why DroneDeploy is poised to provide the best solutions in the industry. We’ve built the largest drone dataset in the world, consisting of more than 30 million acres worth of data collected in 180 countries across 400,000 job sites.
Now we’re putting that data to work to build industry-leading machine learning solutions to solve real-world challenges companies face as they put drones to work in the field every day.
Learn the practical applications of machine learning and computer vision in drone software by watching our recent webinar.
Looking Ahead: What’s in Store for DroneDeploy’s Customers
Our team has been working hard over the last year building a proprietary photogrammetry engine to solve the industries toughest problems. The work is already paying off. We’ve cut processing times and now stitch more than 99% of maps processed on our platform — even in challenging environments like late-season crop fields or dense urban areas. But this is just the beginning.
Now we’re starting to flex our machine learning muscle, and some exciting new releases are on the horizon. Here’s a look at some of the ways we’re streamlining workflows to make drone insights more accessible, and opening the door for true automation.
Real-time Analysis and Decision Making
Earlier this year we released Live Map. Despite being launched just 3 months ago, more than 10% of all maps made are real-time Live Maps. On the heels of this powerful new real-time mapping tool, we just expanded it’s capabilities with Thermal Live Map. The future of our industry is real-time. There’s no reason you should have to wait for aerial insights. Moving forward, we’ll continue to improve the features and enhance the functionality of Live Map.
Machine Learning and AI-Driven Software
As we said before, automation is key to scaling operations. So we’re building tools to automate workflows. We’re starting in three primary areas: Flight, Accuracy, Measurements, and Counting.
In the coming months, we’ll be releasing entirely autonomous workflows for measuring buildings and stockpiles, detecting objects and structures, and improving flight planning to collect high-quality data with the push of a button.
Completely Autonomous Operations
While we’re not there yet, we’re moving to a world where drones will operate entirely on their own. When regulations catch up with technology and the industry is ready to embrace truly autonomous drones without human intervention, we’ll be here ready to meet the demand head on.
We’re excited about the future of our industry and the challenges we’re going to solve for our customers. And we hope you are too. It’s hard to believe we’re only beginning to see what’s possible with drone technology. Just like the flying robots we all know and love, there is only one direction we can go from here: up.
Where to Learn More
Watch our recent webinar Drones in the Age of Automation to hear our vision for the future of automation straight from DroneDeploy co-founders Jono Millin and Nicholas Pilkington.
Read our 2018 Industry Trends Report to see the state of the drone industry and gain insights from 30 million acres of drone data collected across 180 countries.