Posts tagged "Commercial drones"

We just announced the launch of our third annual Drone Market Sector Research survey, which promises to be our most comprehensive study of drone market trends and usage to date. The online portion of this research seeks to get information about who is buying and using small unmanned aircraft systems—otherwise known as drones. It improves upon the 2017 research by, among other things:

  • Asking more specific questions about flight operations and flight times
  • Investigating the adoption and maturity of enterprise and/or public agency drone programs
  • Diving into how users geo-reference images for maps

Take the brief 10-minute survey here:

As an incentive for participation in the survey, there will be an opportunity to:

  • Receive a free summary report of the research results, a $95 value
  • Enter to win a free DJI Spark mini-drone package (a $425 value) or one of two $100 VISA gift cards.

What’s new?

This year’s research is designed to uncover fresh insights on which drone industry sectors are thriving (and which aren’t) and how businesses are using drone-acquired data in their day-to-day operations. Skylogic Research hopes the survey results will fill a gap in knowledge and understanding of the commercial drone industry around:

  • Actual drone and drone data usage (most reports forecast use but don’t survey actual users)
  • How and why operators and users are deploying drones now and how/why they plan to grow their use in the future
  • Baseline statistics for market share among the brands as well as information about the size of service providers, enterprises, and businesses that have drone programs

The online portion of this year’s research seeks to get information about who is buying and using small unmanned aircraft systems. This independent study is being supported by DJI, DroneDeploy,, and Trimble.

The survey will explore:

  • Who’s buying what types of drones from which makers at which prices and for what uses?
  • How large are drone-based service providers, and how and where are they positioning themselves to whom and which target industries?
  • What most concerns businesses that perform drone-based projects and why?
  • How much are service providers, business buyers, and public agencies using flight management and data analytic software for image-based projects?

Our previous studies have found that more consumer drones are being used for professional use than ever before, the U.S. market is flooded with service providers and remote pilots but very few make enough money to sustain a full-time venture, and film / photo / video dominates both the hobby and professional uses of drones. This year’s study will continue to challenge these insights and explore further the sustainability of drone service providers.

Who should take the survey?

  • Individuals or organizations who have purchased a drone in the past 12 months for any reason
  • Commercial drone service providers
  • Businesses, enterprises, and public agencies that perform drone-based operations

Why this study?

We believe the consumer and commercial drone market needs this annual benchmark study. There is a lack of objective information on the drone industry. We find an absence of credible market-based research and little understanding of the difference between large industry forecasts and actual buyer adoption rates. This study will clarify much of that.

When complete, the research study will provide a complete view of topics like:

  • Critical industry drivers
  • Vendor and service provider market share
  • Business and public agency adoption trends and issues

The survey will be open for four weeks, and results will be available in September.

Image: Shutterstock and Skylogic Research

Houston, Texas, June 28, 2018 – The Energy Drone Coalition, powered by InnovateEnergy, is pleased to announce the success of the 2nd annual Energy Drone Coalition Summit & Expo, which took place June 20 – 21 (with workshops on June 19) in Houston, TX at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

The 2018 event doubled in size from its inaugural year, both in physical space and in participation by exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and attendees. Spanning throughout two sold-out expo halls, 89 exhibitors, sponsors and partners were featured, displaying and demonstrating their drones and robots, as well as their latest solutions, hardware and software for unmanned systems in the energy industry. Additionally, between the two halls, an “Innovation Alley” showcased the latest from startup companies. Through the workshops, Summit sessions and Use Case presentations, 65 industry leaders shared their insights and 711 of the the most active UAV and robotics experts were in attendance, representing all facets of the energy industry.

A short list of who was in attendance is available here.

This year’s event was co-located with the inaugural Energy Robotics & AI Network, which showcased content focused on ground/surface & subsea robots, in addition to aerial, and featured insight on the integration of AI to manage the large influx of data being gathered by these robots. Just a few of of these sessions included keynotes from:

  • VP & GM, Drone Group, at Intel, Anil Nanduri, on how drones and AI are leading the digital transformation in energy
  • David Truch, Technology Director within the Digital Innovation Organization at BP, on driving business decisions and results with actionable unmanned data
  • and Sudhir Pai, Managing Director at Schlumberger, on utilizing technology and data to advance energy assets from reactive to predictive repair

Another hot topic from the Summit was scaling the use of drones and robots in energy operations. An exclusive Energy Asset Owners UAV Roundtable brought together leaders from Duke EnergyBPShell and Cheniere Energy to share their unique perspectives on how they are working to build and scale successful programs in their operations. This was just one panel that addressed this topic and one of many sessions that featured rare perspectives from energy end users.

As Christopher Korody, EDC Advisory Board member and author of Dronin’ On, wrote in his detailed overview of the event (available here), “There is no question that the energy sector – which includes everything from exploration to pipelines and tankers, generation (coal, nuclear, gas and hydro) and transmission (tens of thousands of substations and unknown miles of high voltage lines), along with solar and wind has enthusiastically embraced UAS.”

The rapid growth and enthusiastic response from this year’s event were evidence to his statement.

Mitch Droz, Co-Owner, VP of Operations and Customer Experience at Wolf UAS, LLC, EDC Advisory Board Member and Speaker, said, “This energy industry specific conference did not disappoint. I heard many participants state they got the value and collaborative discussions they hoped for. The result of having industry leaders together, focused on industry issues, delivered some excellent panels and networking.”

Mitch authored a blog on the Workshops, Summit Day One and Summit Day Two.

In addition to these overviews, excellent feedback was received by both attendees and exhibitors.

“This was great exposure for the Seek Ops drone and gas detection solution set; an optimal oil and gas target audience was assembled at Energy Drone Coalition Summit,” said Seek Ops, who exhibited at the event. They also shared that they plan on returning for year three.

Mike Blades, Research Director, North America, with Frost & Sullivan, who spoke at the C-UAS & Security Forum and provided a keynote on the Commercial Drone Ecosystem said, “Thanks to the Energy Drone Coalition for allowing me to present at their summit. It is my opinion that industry-focused events like these will drive commercial drone growth because educating is key & each industry has unique requirements that require unique solutions.”

Early education about the technology showcased at the Summit was also a focus. Dyan Gibbens, Trumbull Unmanned; Dave Truch and the BP team; and API worked with the Energy Drone Coalition to facilitate a STEM event for students from several local schools.

“The six Sablatura Middle School Drone club members had a great time and a valuable learning experience at the Energy Drone Summit today,” stated JP Jewell, a representative of the Sablatura Middle School Drone Club. “…We were really excited seeing all the drones and the technology.”

For the 2019 event, the Energy Drone Coalition and Energy Robotics & AI Network plans to expand the education program for students from primary and secondary school, as well as at a collegiate-level.

As the largest, and continually growing, community and events specifically focused on the business and technology of UAVs/Robotics (aerial, ground/surface & subsea) in energy operations, the team is already planning for the 2019 Summit & Expo.

The 2019 event will take place June 12-13 at the Woodland Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center (again with additional workshops on June 11).

Exhibit spaces and sponsorships are already selling quickly for next year. Please contact Ray Kyle,, for additional information.

For inquiries about the Summit or working with the Energy Drone Coalition, please contact Sean Guerre,

Further details about the Energy Drone Coalition Summit & Expo are available at

DroneDeploy, a drone software company with the largest drone data platform in the world, today announced the launch of Thermal Live Map, a real-time mobile mapping solution which delivers insights only thermal imagery can reveal. A first-of-its-kind feature, Thermal Live Map visualizes temperature range variability and creates instant thermal maps for quick, data-guided decisions on the job site.

Traditionally thermal inspections have been time consuming, limited to accessible areas, or
required manned aircraft that typically yield low-resolution data at a high price. DroneDeploy’s Thermal Live Map solves these issues by providing immediate visual context to situations unseen by the naked eye — all without a computer, SD card, or even an internet connection. The new solution uses the latest advancements in edge computing to generate thermal drone maps locally on iOS devices as a DJI drone flies.

“Thermal mapping is one of the most common and difficult requests from our customers to date, but the reward equals the challenge,” said Mike Winn, CEO of DroneDeploy. “Live Map makes thermal insights more accessible while increasing safety and efficiency on job sites.”

Solar Energy
Solar panels often overheat, go offline, or require maintenance due to excess dust, scratches or mechanical deficiencies. It’s time-consuming and unreliable to inspect them from the ground. With Thermal Live Map a solar farm can be inspected from the sky in minutes—not days—allowing the operator to isolate and measure potential problem areas while the drone is in flight.

Construction & Roofing
Before drones, building and roof inspections were extremely dangerous and could take hours to identify problem areas. Workers had to scale a ladder or walk out on a ledge to investigate the project site. Thermal Live Map pinpoints problem areas—such as cracks, leaks, and structural damage— within minutes and minimizes safety risks. It also allows companies to retro and proactively address existing and potential risks, preventing disasters on site and saving lives.

Incident Response & Public Safety
Thermal Live Map allows first responders to view hundreds of acres in minutes—day or night—penetrating hard-to-reach and hard-to-see terrain where missing or injured persons may be awaiting rescue.

The new solution is particularly valuable for firefighting, giving firefighters the ability to see
through smoke and keep track of their personnel in large fire scenes. Thermal Live Map also helps locate precisely where the fire is hottest and provides definitive confirmation that the fire has gone out in specific areas.

Thermal Live Map helps growers spot field stress in real time. They can easily spot irrigation issues, detect ripeness, and analyze plant health early to stomp out problem areas and avoid lost harvests.

To learn more about the Thermal Live Map and review the hardware requirements visit:

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones, and is making the power of aerial data accessible and productive for everyone. Trusted by leading brands globally, DroneDeploy is transforming the way businesses leverage drones and aerial data across industries, including agriculture, construction, mining, inspection, and surveying. Simple by design, DroneDeploy enables professional-grade imagery and analysis, 3D modeling and more from any drone on any device. To learn more visit and join the conversation on Twitter @DroneDeploy.

I’m happy to announce the release of our Quick Start Guide to Drones in Energy. This report is the second in a new series of Skylogic Research white papers, intended to provide a complete primer to drone use in specific industries. This year, we are building on the analysis we did for the 2017 Five Valuable Business Lessons Learned papers by providing guidance and industry-specific resources that will help you kick-start your practice. Our goal is to help drone-based service providers and business users maximize the value that drones can bring to operational groups.

This report consolidates our best insights into the challenges and solutions drones add to inspecting assets that produce and supply energy. We show how drones add value to digital 3-D representation of physical assets and what information companies are gleaning from the data their drones collect.

The paper answers questions like:

  • How big is the energy inspection drone market, and who are the major solution providers?
  • How are drones used by oil and gas companies, wind and solar farms, and utilities and what challenges must be addressed?
  • What do you need to know about regulations, pilot certification, insurance, and training?
  • What are the best practices for adopting drones into existing workflows?

Here is an excerpt from the drone use in energy asset inspections section:

“The number keeps growing, but GWEC estimates that there were over 341,000 wind turbines spinning around the world at the end of 2016. Unidentified defects can result in an unexpected catastrophic failure, causing expensive repairs, extended downtime, and associated revenue loss. Revenue losses alone from unexpected catastrophic failures can be as high as $50,000 per turbine.

Companies like AES Corporation and Duke Energy have realized tremendous cost savings using drone inspections. For example, drone-based service provider Measure can automate wind turbine data collection and inspection, making the process cost-effective and reliable. With traditional ground inspection methods, a two-person crew is able to inspect 3–4 turbines in a single day. A drone pilot can inspect 12–15 turbines in the same period. Plus, it’s a lot safer than sending inspectors out on rope harnesses high above the ground.

According to Solarplaza, drones can cut the cost of solar-farm panel inspections to between USD $2,100 and $3,200 a day, covering five acres an hour. According to one published report, a drone can survey 4,000 panels in about five minutes, while a human inspection would take more than eight days at a rate of one panel inspection per minute. The technique involves mounting a high-definition infrared camera on a drone and running the images through an analysis program to detect hotspots that might reveal the presence of faults. Maintenance teams can then visit these hotspot locations directly, without having to survey the entire solar field, which saves on operational costs.”

The 10-page report also provides a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) for evaluating and designing your drone program and comes with an appendix that includes links to valuable online resources such as attorneys, advocacy groups, training & certification, and waivers & authorizations.

I believe this is the perfect time to get your start using drones in the energy industry like scores of firms worldwide have done. You can get the free report here.

If you have questions about what’s in the report or would like to comment on it after reading it, write me at

Image credit: Emerald Expositions

Houston, Texas, May 29, 2018 – The Energy Drone Coalition is excited to announce its lineup of speakers for the 2nd annual Energy Drone Summit, which will be held in Houston, Texas on June 20-21 (with additional workshops on June 19) at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

The 2018 Summit features two days of keynotes, conference sessions and mega panels with expert speakers from leading energy companies from around the world. Among the growing list of speakers are CEOs of international energy companies, global power experts and leaders of UAS technology.

Some highlights from the conference’s extensive speaker lineup include:

  • Roy Brown, Director of Emerging Technology, Advisian
  • Linda Ziemba, CEO, AeroDefense
  • Chip Johnson, Co-Founder, Airview Consulting
  • Derek Lyons, Airview Consulting
  • Amit Ganjoo, Founder & CEO, ANRA Technologies
  • Sam Minifie, Policy Advisor, Midstream & Industry Operations, API – American Petroleum Institute
  • Jennifer Player, Director of Technologies, Ardenna
  • Dave Truch, Technology Director, Digital Innovation Organization, BP
  • George Williamson, Manager, Upstream Engineering, BP
  • Pierce Prater, Service Consultant Supervisor, Power Delivery Solutions, Centerpoint Energy
  • Barrett Walker, Manager sUAS Services, Cheniere Energy
  • Justin Adams, President, CRASAR
  • Patrick Saracco, VP Technology Solutions, Cyberhawk
  • Landon Phillips, COO, DataWing Global
  • Chris Korody, Founder,
  • Jacob Velky, Manager, Unmanned Systems, Duke Energy
  • Tony Cinson, Senior Technical Leader, EPRI – Electric Power Research Institute
  • Randall Warnas, Global sUAS Segment Leader, FLIR
  • Marc Gandillon, Manager, Flyability
  • Tim Bean, CEO, Fortem Technologies
  • Mike Blades, Research Director, Frost & Sullivan
  • Dave Culler, CEO & Co-Founder, Hazon Solutions
  • Ed Hine, Vice President, Hazon Solutions
  • Paul Allen, Director, Insitu
  • Anil Nanduri, VP & GM Drone Group, Intel
  • Mark Dombroff, Partner, LeClair Ryan
  • Jerry Hendrix, Executive Director, Lone Star UAS
  • David Tran, CEO, Optelos
  • Pat Lohman, VP Energy, PrecisionHawk
  • Trent Casi, Energy Solutions Manager, Pix4D
  • Christine Asaro, Project Advisor for Electric Distribution and UAS, San Diego Gas & Electric
  • Drew Smith, Engineer, Sempra Energy
  • John McClain, Chief UAS Pilot, Shell
  • Gary Schiebe, Security Manager, Shell
  • Matt Fanelli, Director of Strategy, Skyward
  • Brady Cass, Capture Management, SRC Gryphon Sensors
  • Andrew Tormey, Business Development Manager, SRC Gryphon Sensors
  • Josh Olds, VP Operations, USI – Unmanned Safety Institute
  • Michael Wilson, Director of Operations – UAS, USI – Unmanned Safety Institute
  • Travis Moran, VP Operations, Weilund North America
  • Mitch Droz, Co-Owner & VP Operations, Wolf UAS
  • Eileen Lockhart, UAS Program Manager, Xcel Energy

“We are thrilled to have such a great group of industry experts on board to share their first hand insight on the successful integration of drones and robotics in their energy operations,” said Sean Guerre, Director, Energy Drone Coalition, powered by InnovateEnergy. “We look forward to the collaboration of the best minds to help advance the industry.”

The Energy Drone Coalition is a forum dedicated to launching, growing and scaling enterprise UAV/Robotics operations in energy companies worldwide by bringing together the major rapidly growing segments within the UAV/AUV/Robotics ecosystem with the energy industrial complex asset owners and end users. The agenda for the two day, information-packed Energy Drone Summit is designed to provide participants the opportunity to gain vital insights and best practices within the fields of UAV, robotics and AI.

This is the only event exclusively focused on the business and technology of UAVs/Robotics (aerial, ground/surface & subsea) in energy operations.

Attendees include energy asset owners and leaders from companies such as AFPM, Anadarko, API, AT&T, Baker Hughes, a GE Company, Bechtel, BP America Inc., CenterPoint Energy, Cheniere Energy, Inc., Chevron, ConocoPhillips, CPS Energy, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Enbridge, EPRI – Electric Power Research Institute, ExxonMobil, Florida Power & Light, Fluor, Kinder Morgan, LyondellBasell, NextEra Energy, Oceaneering, Puget Sound Energy, San Diego Gas & Electric, Shell, Southern Company, Southwestern Energy, Valero, WorleyParsons, Xcel Energy and many more who are already registered to attend.

For more information on the Energy Drone Coalition Summit & Expo, please visit

Assessing what GDPR means for commercial drone hardware and software vendors, service providers, and enterprise users.

By Colin Snow and Charlotte Ziems

Have you noticed an increase in the number of emails lately that say “we have updated our privacy policies and terms of service”? It’s not just the big players like Amazon, Apple, Google, and YouTube, it’s just about everyone – and for good reason. They’re all preparing for May 25, 2018, when new regulations go into effect that apply to personally identifiable data they collect on citizens of the European Union.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be interpreted as legal advice—you alone are responsible for GDPR compliance and should consult legal counsel to do so. We’ll assess only the basic GDPR concepts you should know, and at a high level. So let’s start with the basics.

What is GDPR?

On May 25, 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect to protect the rights of Europeans to access and control their personal data. This means any brand that collects and processes the personal data of individuals in the European Union, regardless of that brand’s location, needs to comply with GDPR requirements by the May deadline.

Note that the laws are still being interpreted and definitions changing, so you’ll want to pay attention.

What are the important GDPR requirements?

  • The right to be informed, or being transparent about what you collect and how you use it (Article 12, 13, and Article 14 number 11)
  • The right of access, or allowing individuals to see what personal data you’re processing and storing (Article 15)
  • The right to rectification, or allowing individuals to have their personal data corrected (Article 16)
  • The right to erasure, also known as the right to be forgotten (Article 17)
  • The right to restrict processing, or allowing individuals to stop you from performing operations (collecting, processing, storing, etc.) on personal data (Article 18)
  • The right to data portability, or giving individuals the personal data you have about them (Article 20)
  • The right to object, or prevent you from processing their personal data (Article 21)

Why should you care?

Depending on the nature of the infringement, fines for noncompliance can range from between €10 million and €20 million, or between 2% and 4% of your worldwide annual revenue of the prior financial year, whichever is higher.

Do those in the commercial drone industry need to be GDPR compliant?

That depends. If you have any clients, or have contacts, or perform work in the EU, then yes. The regulation applies when you collect, store, and process data or images that constitutes someone’s “personal data” (such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.), or “personal identifiable information” (such as aerial images of and georeferences to persons).

Who in the commercial drone market might it apply to?

  • Agriculture – probably not those collecting agricultural data, since that type of data rarely attaches personally identifiable information (or personal data) of an individual.
  • Film / Photo / Video – it definitely applies to drone wedding photographers, real estate photographers, film companies, and any other commercial service. GPDR states that pictures containing peoples that can be identified are to be considered personal information and must be handled with care. Unless you are using the pictures for news or art, you must have a consent from the person giving you permission to publish the picture.
  • Inspecting and monitoring – probably not those collecting data on structures (such as towers, transmission lines, or oil rigs), since it rarely attaches personally identifiable information (or personal data) to an individual, but definitely yes to those performing site monitoring where individuals can be tagged or identified.
  • GIS (mapping and surveying) – it depends on the downstream use of the data you collect. You are in the chain of custody and custodians may need to generalize or filter identifiable features or patterns of people from geospatial information.
  • Cloud-based data services – same as GIS. You are in the chain of custody and may need to filter information; otherwise, your risk is high.

Where can you go to find out more information?




GIS (Mapping and Survey):

GIS and cloud data services:

Image credit: Shutterstock and Skylogic Research

I’m happy to announce the release of the Quick Start Guide to Drones in Construction.

This report is the first in a new series of Skylogic Research white papers, intended to provide a complete primer to drone use in specific industries. This year, we are building on the analysis we did for the 2017 Five Valuable Business Lessons Learned papers by providing guidance and industry-specific resources that will help you kick-start your practice. Our goal is to help drone-based service providers and business users maximize the value that drones can bring to operational groups.

What’s in it?

This report consolidates our best insights into the challenges and solutions drones add to the worksite. We show how drones as a unified data collection device are bridging the gap between the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) silos. We answer questions like:

  • How big is the construction drone market, and who are the major solution providers?
  • How are drones used in the AEC industry, and what are the challenges?
  • What do you need to know about regulations, pilot certification, insurance, and training?
  • What are the best practices for adopting drones into workflows?

Here is an excerpt from the lessons learned / cautionary tales section:

Be clear about customer value – When drone business service providers talk publicly about the differentiation of drones, you’ll often hear them say: “It’s all about the data.” But one of the lessons learned from the early adopters of drones in construction is that it isn’t just about the data. It’s about getting good information that provides value for the construction or architectural firm. So whether teams are collaborating around one daily map for a construction site as “the single source of truth,” or providing floor-by-floor visualization views for a future building site, the ultimate goal is to provide valuable information for downstream customers—and drones alone cannot do that. What drones can do is offer a much quicker way of capturing different types of data, digitizing it, and making it something you can analyze immediately or over time to support construction variance analysis.”

What resources does it provide?

The 10-page report provides a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) for evaluating and designing your drone program and comes with an appendix that includes links to valuable online resources such as attorneys, advocacy groups, training & certification, and waivers & authorizations.

I believe this is the perfect time to get your start using drones in the construction industry like hundreds of firms worldwide have done. You can get the free report here.

If you have questions about what’s in the report or would like to comment on it after reading it, write me at

In my last post, Five Biggest Commercial Drone Trends of 2017 and the Challenges Ahead, I used data from our 2017 Drone Market Sector Report to illustrate the major trends of the past year and describe the major challenges ahead for the drone industry. That post looked back, but this one looks forward, offering our specific predictions for 2018, including investments, technology improvements, ecosystem partnerships, and software innovations.

(Listen to this companion Drone Radio Show podcast here for our complete assessment.)

1. Investment and testing will continue in earnest on Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.

With regulations moving at the speed of government and dissenting views on Drone ID, it seems like UTM (air traffic management for low-altitude drones) is an elusive dream. However, there is hope that testing being done on beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations in drone corridors will provide the necessary inputs to integrate drones into the national airspace. Expect news this summer from the vendors and service providers conducting tests at NUAIR in New York as they release results and performance-based navigation standards begin to coalesce.

2. You’ll see more news on improved sensors, hardware integration, networking, and processing.

Already, we’ve seen announcements like this one for new thermal imaging drone payloads. Expect to see further Ethernet / IP sensor integration efforts as more and more remote managers demand immediate access to data from local operations. Expect more news on LiDAR / drone integration like this one from Delair-Tech as more land surveyors and construction professionals demand further time and money savings over traditional methods.

3. Look for more partnerships, software, and innovations coming from the DJI Enterprise ecosystem.

We noted in our 2017 Drone Market Sector Report just how much DJI dominates the industry with its 72% market share. All the major mission-planning and mapping applications—like DroneDeploy, PrecisionHawk’s PrecisionMapper, Skycatch, and dozens more—now run on the DJI SDK. What our report didn’t mention was DJI’s focused efforts to further expand its commercial ecosystem. DJI Enterprise’s AirWorks Conference is but one example, an event whose purpose is showcasing applied drone solutions for the commercial industry’s most challenging obstacles. Expect many innovations from DJI’s partners in the hardware, software, and service sectors.

4. Software will dominate advancements.

Along with the new imaging sensor announcements in 2018, we expect to see imaging software advancements as companies seek to combine RGB, thermal imaging, orthomosaic, and radiometric data.

We also expect to see more aerial imaging and mapping software firms announce artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Right now, most of this is cloud-based machine learning (aka deep learning and predictive analytics) where data sets are trained by specialized teams. You may see some edge-based AI announcements for image recognition/machine vision, but be cautious when you do. We think it’s still early in the technology development cycle and AI is at peak hype.

We think the big news for 2018 will be the integration of drone data and workflow into asset management systems. Capabilities include documentation, tracking, and GIS data integration. It may bring a yawn to some but we believe when you can connect the dots and show the effect of drone data capture on the balance sheet, CFOs and CEOs will take notice and drive further enterprise adoption.

Parting thoughts

As I speak to clients, I always like to remind them of two things about the commercial drone market. First, it’s not a drone market, it’s a data and information market. The drone is just a data capture device. Second, drones are aircraf, not consumer products and as such their operations are regulated by aviation authorities.  All technology advancements aside, this is a regulated market, so always expect lumpy, bumpy growth.

We hope you keep those in mind as well and wish you best success in the coming year.

Listen to the companion podcast here

If you have questions about what’s in the report I mention or would like to comment, write me at

Image credit: Shutterstock and Skylogic Research

Insituís INEXA Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Snowball Edge demonstrated the ability to process and move terabytes of remote sensing data with no internet connectivity. This LiDAR image was taken in less than one hour of flight, during which more than one linear kilometer of a wall was mapped, providing the customer with easy-to-access, actionable data that can be shared across its state-based operations in Australia. (PRNewsfoto/Insitu)

COSTA MESA, Calif., January 23, 2018 – Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, recently celebrated a successful trial deployment of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Snowball Edge in Queensland, Australia. AWS Snowball is a service that accelerates transferring large amounts of data into and out of AWS using physical storage appliances, bypassing the internet. AWS Snowball Edge is a 100 terabyte (TB) data transfer device with on-board storage and compute power for select AWS capabilities.

INEXA™ Cloud, part of Insitu’s INEXA comprehensive suite of professionals, tools and services, was deployed by the Insitu Commercial team in conjunction with Insitu’s ScanEagle® unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to collect, process, and move terabytes of remote sensing data in collaboration with AWS. In its successful trial deployment, the ScanEagle linked with AWS Snowball Edge, preconfigured with Insitu’s proprietary, high-performance three-dimensional (3-D) reconstruction algorithms, to generate a high density, precise, 3-D model of an infrastructure in a remote location with no internet connectivity. The data was preprocessed and its integrity validated within hours of acquisition at the isolated site, allowing operators to immediately move the data to the customer’s INEXA Cloud business account running on the nearest AWS Region for deep analytics and data storage.

“One of the biggest challenges for remote site inspection and data management is the word ‘remote,’” said Jon Damush, Insitu’s Chief Growth Officer. “By definition, remote implies ‘removed from infrastructure,’ which in our world means little to no internet connectivity. The scale of this type of work means we needed to collaborate with a company that could help us find a path forward, and AWS was that company. With the combination of INEXA Cloud and AWS Snowball Edge, our customers can load terabytes of data, process the data on-site, pre-check and validate the results, send it to INEXA Cloud, and evolve the data with ongoing analysis, confident that the data’s integrity has been corroborated.”

Insitu’s INEXA Cloud platform delivers secure, integrated and extensible services, tools and application program interfaces (API) to present data to a growing repository of applications. These applications process many data types including images, day-and-night video, multi-and-hyper spectral imagery, and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). The data also can be exposed to a growing family of algorithms which extract precise information such as 3-D Digital Surface Models (DSMs), volumetric assessment, automatic object detection and classification, vegetation encroachment and change detection, machine learning, and deep learning. Informed decisions then can be made rapidly, particularly in mining, oil and gas, energy, water, and other large critical infrastructure management industries, resulting in optimized business operations and increased safety.

“Thanks to this collaboration, customers can easily and quickly move huge amounts of data to INEXA Cloud, avoiding the expense of building and maintaining high speed networks, or building, securing, encrypting, maintaining and shipping rugged storage devices and computer systems,” explains Rahul C. Thakkar, Director of Insitu Commercial Cloud. “This new capability can solve a major problem that large enterprise customers operating in remote areas have faced on a daily basis. We are pleased to offer this simple, powerful, and cost-effective solution to our customers.”

As a pioneer, performer, and leader in the aerial and remote sensing spaces for more than 20 years, and since acquiring 2d3 Sensing in 2015, Insitu continuously expands its extensive computer vision and machine learning capabilities to develop custom, autonomous, end-to-end solutions for customers.

About Insitu
Insitu is an industry-leading provider of information for superior decision making. With its headquarters in Bingen, Wash., and offices in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, the company creates and supports unmanned systems and software technology that deliver end-to-end solutions for collecting, processing and understanding sensor data. We proudly serve the diverse needs of our global customers in the defense, government and commercial industries. To date, our systems have accumulated more than one million flight hours. Insitu is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company.

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Drones come in many names to different people: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and the Flying robots, just to mention a few. The arrival of drones over past few the years has paved the way for innovations and use of the device by many experts and in the yea…