Iprosurv takes another stride forward with new thermal imaging partnership

Iprosurv takes another stride forward with new thermal imaging partnership

Iprosurv, one of the UK’s leading commercial drone providers, has bolstered its portfolio of drone services with the announcement that it has entered into a strategic partnership with thermal imaging specialists, iRed.

Established in 2002, iRed is the UK’s leader in thermal imaging, remote sensing and enterprise drone solutions and is certified by the Civil Aviation Authority for commercial drone pilots.

Under the partnership, iRed will provide Iprosurv with the latest, most accurate infrared imaging services on the market, expanding the drone operator’s existing broad range of services even further.

Best in Business Partners

Commenting on the deal, Rebecca Jones, co-founder and CEO of Iprosurv, said: “From the day we launched in 2014, we have always placed a huge amount of emphasis upon professionalism and setting the highest standards in training and technology use.

“We know where our specialisms lie and we will continue to build on them but where we don’t have the necessary level of expertise or experience, we will look to partner with the best in the business which led us to explore partnership possibilities with iRed.”

While thermal cameras are relatively commonplace in the commercial drone market, standard cameras lack the accuracy and sophistication required to provide businesses and individuals with the necessary insight.

“By partnering with iRed, we know that we are giving our clients the most up to date, accurate and detailed thermal capability on the market. We can’t reproduce that level of expertise, so we decided to partner with the best instead and make that expertise available to all of our client base.”

Commitment and Quality

Commenting on the deal, Jack Bloomfield, Marketing Manager for iRed, said: “All of our best clients come from long term partnerships. We always look to build sustained, long-term partnerships with the firms who have the same commitment to quality and professionalism that we do – and Iprosurv ticked all the boxes.

“The drone industry is still young but by sharing best practice, technology and expertise, we are working together to create the professional sector that we all want, and our clients deserve.”

The iRed is Iprosurv’s latest strategic partnership following the deals with agricultural specialist Sentera and UTM provider Altitude Angel

Posted in Drone Tech, Information, Iprosurv News

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Wherever the economy goes, drones will lead the way

Such is the flexibility of commercial drones, they are being adopted in more sectors and in more ways than ever before. So much so that it can be hard to keep track of all the applications, so we asked our friends at Coptrz, experts in commercial drone technology, to give us their view on the most important and exciting applications of drone today.

The drone market is set to grow steadily in the consumer, commercial and public safety sectors over the next few years. In many business practices, drones can substitute traditional methods of operation. For example, the inspection industry is benefiting greatly from the use of drone technology.

Thanks to their ever-improving accuracy, greater efficiency, cost savings and enhanced safety features, drones are changing the way that companies around the world perform inspections. In fact, the drone inspection market continues to grow as technology enables more and more applications.

George Burne, Business Development Manager for the Inspection Industry at Coptrz, commented: “The UK inspection industry, like all industries is a constantly evolving market which has welcomed the use of new technology such as UAVs with open arms. What is great about the use of drone technology is it allows business owners to deliver high quality data while near eliminating risk to any of their crew members. Be this internal or external, choosing to put a robot at height or into a confined space is always the best decision.”

George Burne Business Development Manager Coptrz

Inspections, Surveying, Health and Safety, Reducing Risk

Drones are transforming industrial inspections in critical infrastructure. Using drones for inspection allows for efficient inspections at speed where you can acquire high-quality data from dangerous environments. The benefits to organisations of using drones for inspection included reduced risk to workers, cost savings and reduced downtime. Utilising a drone to undertake a visual inspection uses the drone’s camera quite simply to act as the inspector’s eyes.

Along with the inspection industry, the surveying sector has seen a vast improvement on the accuracy of data collected when using drones. The drone survey market continues to grow as technology enables applications such as 3D modelling, site progress and site inspections. The use of drones can significantly reduce the costs of both equipment and labour in medium to large surveys. In most cases, a single drone survey will only require one qualified pilot. Time on site for data capture can be increased up to 80%. The data captured can be used for multiple applications.

Drones can provide the same data output as traditional surveys, but in a fraction of the time. A job that would once take multiple days can now be done in a matter of hours, without compromising on data output. After a quick data process before leaving the site, a surveyor can perform the necessary processing with the knowledge that no data has been missed.

Drones are also revolutionising the police and public safety sectors. Unmanned aircrafts have become a force multiplier for law enforcement teams, providing unprecedented views of a scene or incident – helping to fight crime, plan an effective response and keep officers safe. Police are deploying drones and sophisticated payloads, including zoom and thermal cameras, for a range of thermal missions such as search and rescue, crowd control, evidence-gathering and accident reconstruction.

Agriculture

The use of drones in the agriculture industry is steadily growing along with other industries. Drones are being used in agriculture as part of an effective approach to sustainable agricultural management that allows farmers to help streamline their operations, using data analytics to gain effective insights into their crops. UAVs are particularly useful for the careful monitoring of large areas of farmland, considering factors such as slope and elevation. The technology has also proven useful in gaining an extensive overview of plan emergence and population, as more accurate data can help with replanting decisions, as well as thinning and pruning activity.

Jamie Cording, UAV Strategist at Coptrz commented: “Agriculture is arguably the most exciting area of the UK drone industry right now. With the release of the DJI Phantom 4 Multispectral not so long ago, we felt real strides being taken in terms of research, data and analysis in the field. There’s no stopping where this sector of the industry can go when we look at other parts of the world. The UK agriculture sector is still very young compared to other areas that are using drones, but there is so much that a drone can be used for within this market that makes it so fruitful. There is huge opportunity to revolutionise processes using drones in agriculture.”

Jamie Cording UAV Strategist coptrz

The drone industry is still in the infancy stage in terms of mass adoption and usage, but drones have already broken through rigid traditional barriers in industries which otherwise seemed impenetrable by similar technological innovations. The likes of Royal Mail are piloting the delivery of packages and letters using drones – the possibility for what the technology can do is endless.

Construction

It is said that the construction sector will be the largest commercial buyer of UAVs. Although drones are being actively used in the architecture and construction industry today, business application of drone technology in construction is increasing. The cameras and sensors that can be attached to drones mean that they can make a digital model of real objects from multiple angles that allow a computer to create an accurate 3D model. This building information modelling helps prevent construction mistakes and distribute resources effectively. Flying drones above construction sites can allow for high-definition surveys before projects start, tracking of progress and better management of processes.

There is without a doubt a place for drones in the modern digital world. Today, you can see drones inspecting, surveying and monitoring. The business applications of drone technology is growing thanks to the benefits that the technology brings.

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Information, Iprosurv News

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A brave new dawn in the world of engineering with the advent of drone technology

In a series of interviews to inform and educate businesses on how drones could enhance their customer proposition or enhance the workflow of an existing business, Iprosurv are conducting interviews with key stakeholders and business influancer’s who have experienced drone technology and the benefits they have brought.
In this interview Iprosurv interview chief engineer of British Engineering Services – Andy Kidd

Engineers aren’t known for taking risks lightly – what we do doesn’t really allow for error and taking a risk brings in too much scope for error. And if engineers are slightly cautious, engineer surveyors are even more so.

But being in a traditional, perhaps even cautious sector, doesn’t mean that we aren’t always looking for new ways to solve old problems. And increasingly, those new ways are tech-based. One of the most exciting applications of new technology I have encountered is drones.

Andy Kidd Chief Engineer at British Engineering Services Ltd

Clear Regulations

Safety always has, and always will be, paramount when it comes to engineering – not just at the design and build stage but throughout the lifetime of the equipment. Which is why there are very firm and clear regulations around the inspection and upkeep of equipment such as cranes and other lifting equipment.

Periodic, thorough examinations of lifting equipment must be completed every six or twelve months unless a risk-based examination scheme is in place. But for most, this regular and necessary examination requirement can mean undertaking a lengthy and expensive process, usually involving MEWPs or erecting scaffolding every single time.

Which is fine because it’s necessary, but I said, we are always looking for new ways to solve old problems and drones have shown themselves to have an important and cost-effective role to play in equipment examinations.

We have been exploring the potential role for drones for some time, but it is a conservative sector, so it took a while before a client willing to try them appeared. In 2016, that innovator presented themselves and asked us to explore the use of drones to examine their crane equipment.

Reducing Risk, Cost and Time

Their motivation was not only to save time and cost but to reduce the risk of working at height in completing the examination. So, sending a drone up to do the job seemed like the best option. And it was – the client was able to have the examination completed within hours rather than days and at a fraction of the cost. The future for drones in engineering examinations had just been opened up.

But before engineers run towards drones en masse to solve their examination problems, there are limitations to what drones can do. A thorough examination requires all our senses of which drones can only (currently) replicate one – vision. But even having that one sense digitised can bring huge benefits.

One recent example is where I had to examine a number of runway tracks and overhead cranes for a company – trouble was, they were incredibly awkward to access.

Traditional Access Methods

We looked at other options such as a cherry picker but even that wouldn’t provide the necessary access and the hope was that we could avoid the cost and delay of bringing in scaffolding. Thankfully, during the initial accessed examination, nuts and bolts were marked with contrasting paint to help identify any movement in the structure. Something that a drone-mounted camera could monitor with ease and impressive precision.

The realisation that the drone could help manage this aspect of the examination, led us to investigate how they could reduce the need for annual, hands-on examinations. In the end, were able to develop an examination scheme that used drones on an annual basis to check for movement with the full, accessed examination taking place every three years.

Significant Savings

The savings made by removing the cost of scaffolding in two out of every three years is significant. And if no deterioration is noted during the three-year cycle, we believe we can extend the period between accessed examinations and all the cost that entails, to five years.

That is significant whichever metric you are using to measure effectiveness, but it is only scratching the surface of how drones can assist examinations. And while the applications may be somewhat limited today, I have every confidence that drones will play an increasingly significant role in engineering examinations as the tech develops and as engineers see just what they are capable of.

Andy Kidd is Chief Engineer at British Engineering Services

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Information

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A Daunting Task – High Rise and Tower Block Inspection

In the last five years, drones have been making their presence felt across the economic landscape from agriculture and architecture to environmental monitoring and supporting the emergency services.

They have been adopted so easily in so many markets because they are a fast, cost effective and safe alternative to traditional methods of working. And they have proven themselves to be effortlessly adaptable to any natural or built environment.

Wherever drones go next, and we’re sure it will be far and wide, one of the original uses for this technology was in building inspections, a use that is more pertinent than ever in the post-Grenfell landscape.

There is a huge challenge facing the UK Government and property managers up and down the country, to inspect and survey the nation’s high-rise residential buildings to ensure they are safe, secure and fit for purpose.

It’s a daunting task but one that can be tackled quickly, effectively and at a vastly reduced cost with the support of drone technology.

Let us show you how …

THE PROBLEM

The Grenfell Tower tragedy has exposed the vulnerability of thousands of blocks of flats up and down the country. That vulnerability lies almost entirely within the use of cladding that was applied to improve heating and energy efficiency and to improve the appearance of buildings, many of which had been constructed in the 60s and 70s.

CLADDING

While the use of cladding may have delivered on those needs, the Grenfell fire showed just how dangerous the use of certain types of cladding is. Every single block of flats in the country that has been cladded has to be surveyed and inspected to understand the risk profile of each one.

Which creates a huge challenge for the Government and property managers. An estimated 1,700 high rise blocks of flats have to be surveyed and the cladding removed to make them safe to live in. And they need to do it quickly.

TRADITIONAL METHODS

The Government has pledged billions to facilitate this nationwide structural survey but the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has estimated that as large as this fund is, it will only be enough to repair a third of the properties currently considered unsafe.

The reason? A huge chunk of that cost is because the traditional method of inspecting high rise buildings is to erect scaffolding around the structure, a process that takes months to complete and costs on average £250,000 per building.

Technology-Led Methods

But there is another way, a way that is led by, facilitated and completed by drone technology. A method that could reduce the cost of inspection by a factor of 100. Sound too good to be true? It’s not, it’s reality and we are helping clients across the country bring those theoretical savings to life.

THE SOLUTION

Like anything in life, there is no quickfire solution to the UK’s high-rise living problem. But with a little creative thinking and the smart application of technology, a real difference can be made to the way we approach it.

Which is exactly what Iprosurv has been doing with our property management clients.

WHY DRONES

Put simply, drones are a faster, cheaper and safer way to conduct surveys at height but their ability to provide the necessary data digitally, in a secure fashion, means that they can deliver a high-quality result in days, rather than the months the traditional method requires.

So what does a high rise drone inspection involve?

  • Our pilot will attend the site, secure it and be airborne within an hour
  • They will conduct a full survey using RGB – Optional Thermal Technology
  • Depending on the size or complexity of the structure, the flight and gathering of all the necessary data will be completed, on average, in 1 – 6 hours
  • The data is then shared with all relevant parties via Iprosurv’s proprietary, GDPR-compliant data delivery system
  • Clients receive the data in the form of a detailed, interactive 3D model of the building which can be analysed down to 5mm per pixel.
  • All of this is delivered for an average cost of a £2,500 compared to the average £250,000 cost for the traditional scaffolding approach
  • And there is no need to involve or disturb tenants beyond informing them of the flight taking place

INSPECTING YOUR BUILDING

While the drone does the hard work, our clients still have to bring their expertise to bear in analysing the drone data and planning the next steps. And we make that as simple or detailed as necessary with the creation of our interactive, 3D models.

3D MODEL

With the 3D model, delivered directly to their desktop, Iprosurv clients can:

  • Make detailed measurements of the building
  • Gain a full 360 view of the building
  • Annotate the model and the individual images of the site to share with others, assign tasks or share insight
  • Compare condition of the building pre and post-works
  • Create risk ratings on different aspects of the building
  • Share the data with other stakeholders with the click of a button, all fully secure and compliant with GDPR regulations
  • Access our proprietary software for ordering, case tracking and case delivery
  • Make detailed measurements of the building
  • Gain a full 360 view of the building
  • Annotate the model and the individual images of the site to share with others, assign tasks or share insight
  • Compare condition of the building pre and post-works
  • Create risk ratings on different aspects of the building
  • Share the data with other stakeholders with the click of a button, all fully secure and compliant with GDPR regulations
  • Access our proprietary software for ordering, case tracking and case delivery

Click Image Below to inspect a 3D Interactive Inspection Model

This is a genuine revolution in the inspection of high-rise buildings, one that not only does the job faster, cheaper and more safely than traditional methods, it provides more granular data that can be accessed, manipulated and shared securely in real time.

“The answer to your and our nation’s high-rise problem is here, so what are you waiting for? Contact one of our advisors today to find out how you can become part of the drone revolution”.

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Information, Iprosurv News

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Adjuster’s perspective: How one drone flight saved an insurer in excess of £200K

When it comes to using tech in insurance, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. So many claims are made about how technology will enable adjusters to be more efficient and effective but with so much noise in the insurtech space and, regrettably, a number of false dawns, it can be difficult to know who or what to trust.

But taking a conservative, defensive posture in the face of digital progress simply isn’t an option – that is a sure-fire way to get left behind. Which is why at Crawford we carefully analyse, select and trial the range of tools we believe will make a real, practical difference.

This has always been our approach to restoring and enhancing rural lives, businesses and communities and one of the most effective tools we have adopted over the last couple of years is drones.

Think outside the box:

Adjuster's perspective: One drone flight saved insurer £200K

There is an assumption that they are best utilised in flood situations or major loss property claims – basically enabling quick and safe access to areas that humans can’t easily reach. And while that is correct, the applications of drone surveys also go far beyond providing access, as we have found. We started out using drones for flood and property damage claims but recently, we have been using them for core agricultural claims and with impressive results.

For instance, we were recently instructed on an agricultural claim that arose from hailstorm damage to an oil seed rape crop. Just before harvest, the crop was hit by a storm and the hail severely damaged the fragile pods that contain the rapeseed on a large portion of the open fields.

Traditional Approach:

The traditional approach would have been to get the wellies on and measure the perimeters and walk through the entirety of each affected field in a ‘W’ fashion to cover as much of the crop as possible, assessing the severity of damage. Our findings would then be reviewed in conjunction with the combine harvester readouts to try to obtain an estimate of the loss.

Back in 2018, we had discussions with Iprosurv about hailstorm damage to oil seed rape crops and whether drone inspections could assist, and two years later, with this instruction, the perfect claim arose for a trial.

Timing:

It was fortuitous timing as Iprosurv had recently added new equipment to their drones, namely Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) cameras. In simple terms, these cameras analyse the different light colour spectrums reflected by the chlorophyll within crop vegetation – healthy plants reflect at a different light frequency to damaged or unhealthy plants.

Open Field Claims:

We are the first adjuster in the UK to use NDVI technology on open field claims, so it was a bit of an educated leap into the unknown, but the tech not only gave us a quick and accurate measurement of the damaged crop but also the overall health and expected yield of the standing crop. This allowed us to compare the expected yield with the yield achieved and indeed the ‘expected’ yield claimed by the Insured.

Enhanced Data:

That is a level of detail we have never been able to achieve before and, for an outlay of around £2,000 for the drone survey, footage and imagery, the insurer was able to make a £220,000 saving on the initial amount claimed. While that was something of a difficult conversation with the policyholder, the rationale for the settlement offered was all there in the data. As they say, the data doesn’t lie.

Despite what anyone might think, the main motivation for any insurer in any claim is to get to a settlement that is accurate and fair – using a drone fitted with an NDVI camera allowed us to do that with pinpoint accuracy in a relatively short timeframe.

Success:

Such was the success of this, we have started exploring other uses for drone inspections and we believe that it could be of huge benefit in environmental damage, aquaculture, spray drift and forestry claims. We could even use it to analyse the health of a potato crop without having to go through the disruptive, time consuming process of digging up the field. The possibilities are almost endless.

Exciting Times:

It’s an exciting time in the world of claims with more and more digital tools playing an increasingly important role. Whilst it’s true that tech isn’t the answer to all our questions, working with the right partners and with the willingness to try new things, we’ve found that you can effectively separate the wheat from the chaff, both figuratively and literally.

Max Perris is an Agricultural Consultant for Crawford & Company

Posted in Drone Tech, Information, Iprosurv News

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What changes to drone regulation really mean for our sector …

It’s been a long time coming but finally, the new drone regulations that will bring the UK and EU countries in line with each other, came into force on the 1st January this year.

While this is a welcome change to the regulations and shows how far the industry has come in such a short space of time, as is often the case with regulations, the devil is in the detail.

The new regulations do away with the distinction between commercial pilots and hobbyists and instead focus on the type of drone used and defining what the flight risks are. Under the old rules, professional drone operators such as Iprosurv, had to have something called Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) but that will be replaced with an Operational Authorisation.

The new regulations are broken down into three distinct categories, open, specific and certified, all of which have varying pilot competency requirements. I could go into all the detail of the regulations here but there are better qualified people to explain them and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) website is a good place to start for my fellow regulation nerds.

What I do want to dig into and hopefully provide some clarity around is the perception that these new rules blur the boundaries a between commercial providers and hobbyists. There is a perception that once the new rules are in place, anyone with a drone can get it registered, apply for their A2 Certificate of Competence, complete the online training course and sally forth into the commercial realm.

Strictly speaking, they could but anyone considering that or considering hiring such an operator to conduct an aerial drone survey, needs to be aware of the limitations that still apply. For example, under the transitional arrangements, a drone pilot operating under the minimum A2 Certificate of Competence must maintain a horizontal distance of at least 50 metres from any uninvolved individual or occupied building, severely limiting the drone’s scope and effectiveness.

In addition, there are limitations of the type of drone such operators could use to conduct drone inspections. Under an A2 certificate, the drone must weigh less than 4kg which limits the amount and nature of any equipment it can carry, again, limiting its effectiveness.

So, from my perspective, the idea that these rule changes are going to revolutionise and open up the commercial drone market are a little wide of the mark. These changes are undoubtedly important – they bring a much-needed focus on safety and professionalism to our sector which will, in time, normalise the use of drones in public and commercial life.

Rebecca Jones, co-founder and CEO of Iprosurv

Which is a great thing as the more we do to introduce drones to society in a safe and controlled way, the more everyone will feel the benefits they can bring. But it is incumbent upon everyone operating in the drone sector and those companies who use our services, to be very clear about what these new regulations mean.

For me, it is absolutely clear that the man (or woman) on the street won’t suddenly be able to replicate what we have been doing at Iprosurv over the last six years. Why? There are many reasons but chief among them are:

  • We have worked hard to become a key stakeholder with the CAA and to secure operational exemptions that a single operator can’t replicate
  • The limitations around line of sight and distance to individuals or occupied buildings really limits the operational capabilities of the pilot
  • The kind of lightweight drones that can operate under an open category A2 certificate, are limited in terms of the drone platforms they can utilise
  • Lighter drones are also much more susceptible to changes in the weather and more vulnerable to mid-flight drift in stronger winds
  • Data security, when storing or transferring the outputs of a flight, cannot be guaranteed by a single operator in the same way it can by an established, professional firm like Iprosurv
  • Everyone in Iprosurv’s network of pilots has to undergo rigorous training and testing, the kind of education that cannot be replicated by an online questionnaire

These are just a few of the considerations any company thinking about using drones must take into account, whether they are outsourcing that activity or setting up in house. Drones are a complicated piece of kit and are now controlled by increasingly complicated regulations and it will take some time for the market to bed them in.

But the responsibility for making these regulations work doesn’t just lie with the drone community. Anyone who engages with drones on a commercial basis also has, I believe, a responsibility to ensure that a misinterpretation of the rules doesn’t result in the kind of incident they are specifically designed to avoid. No company wants to be at the centre of another Gatwick incident.

So, while the rule changes are a hugely positive step forward for anyone cheerleading the development of drones, we need to be careful that the enthusiasm for this opening up, doesn’t inadvertently lead to the kind of incident that puts drones (and a brand’s reputation) in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

If you are considering engaging a third party to access drone technology, ask yourself the following:

  • Am I engaging with an established, professional drone operator with the relevant qualifications, authorisations and insurance?
  • Can they do what I need them to do while staying within the rules and maintaining public safety?
  • Can they keep me and my customers’ data secure immediately after collection and during any transfer?

If you can’t satisfy yourself of even these three most basic questions, you have to ask yourself if you are willing to risk compromising public safety, the reputation of your firm and the further development of drone technology.

Rebecca Jones is the co-founder and CEO of drone inspection specialists, Iprosurv

Posted in Drone Tech, Information, Iprosurv News

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What next for drones and Iprosurv? Our clients will always guide us …

When we set up Iprosurv back in 2014, the number one priority was to convince the industry that drones in insurance were the future and that they had a huge role to play in claims and risk management. We believed that then just as much as we do today.

And as we come to the end of our sixth year, I find myself thinking (tentatively), that in the last year the market has finally had its eyes well and truly opened to the possibilities presented by tech and by extension, drones.

In those early days when Shane and I first set out, it was a hard slog convincing insurers and adjusters that there was a better, cheaper way for them to manage their claims using drones to conduct aerial surveys. But a brave few souls took the leap (you know who you are!) and when they did, their peers saw what was possible and more and more have turned to drones for the proven cost and time savings. 

So much so, that drones are now a regular point of discussion in the claims and risk management community and they have recently become part of the general market discourse in the trade press. 

We are nowhere near full adoption of unmanned aerial vehicles yet, but the momentum is there – it’s only a matter of time before every insurer and loss adjuster is using drones as standard. And I’m not shy to admit that this gives me a huge sense of satisfaction. To imagine a different way of doing things and then to see that actually take place … it’s something else. 

But even though I was sure drones could make a big difference in insurance, I am still constantly surprised at the applications businesses find for them and the inspections our pilots undertake.  

We always knew drones were perfect to assess the scale and impact of a major flood with their ability to get a bird’s eye view of a landscape. But we hadn’t considered that they could be used by farmers to assess crop damage by taking the colour temperature of their crops. 

We hadn’t considered that a water supply firm would want to use drone mapping software to detect leaks in a water pipe rather than dig up the landscape in a time-consuming and expensive search. 

We hadn’t considered that a security firm would ask us to survey the security measures at a port facility to help them identify weaknesses in that security. 

And we hadn’t expected to be called in by the emergency services to provide crucial support in search and rescue operations. 

But all of these instructions and more have come in this year – from statutory LOLER inspections to thermal renewables for hospital refurbishments to site surveillance in support of a criminal prosecution of fly-tippers. All of these have opened our minds to the huge array of potential applications for drone technology.

The interesting thing is, other than using different types of cameras (LIDAR, thermal, photogrammetry) and tailoring the pilot skill with the job, Iprosurv hasn’t actually moved far from our core offering – collecting, translating and delivering data to our clients in a fast, cost-effective and completely secure way. 

What is different is the mindset of our clients and the profile of our new clients. It feels like we are well beyond the first hurdle of introducing drones to the commercial world and are now faced with a different challenge – managing the demand and adapting our skills to those new demands. 

But the flexibility of drones actually makes that side of things quite straightforward – whatever the request, I can pretty much guarantee that we have a pilot and the equipment to meet it. Just last week we were instructed by an insurer on a business interruption claim and using our imagery and data, the insurer was able to save over £1m by instructing us for less than a thousand pounds. This case, coming in at the end of a hectic year, pretty much encapsulates what drones can do for the insurance industry.

So, where next for Iprosurv and drones after a momentously challenging and rewarding year? Based on what we expected compared to our experience today, I wouldn’t dare hazard a guess but what is certain that our ever curious and creative clients will continue to find more uses for drones and continue to surprise the Iprosurv team in the process. 

Whether you are a current or a future client or just an interested observer, I hope you all manage to experience some kind of festive joy during a very different festive season and that when we all return after the break, we will see some light at the end of an often very dark tunnel.

Happy New Year everyone!

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Iprosurv News, Uncategorised

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Drones, data and digital: the changing face of farming

Our traditional view of farming owes more to childhood tales than reality with the harvesting of data almost as important as the harvesting of crops. Greg Emerick, co-founder of Sentera, an agriculture mapping software firm, tells Iprosurv how the future of farming is digital and how Sentera and Iprosurv are bringing that future to UK farming.

Our view of agricultural is often a romantic one, jolly farmers tending to their crops or their livestock and being one with the nature that surrounds them. But that owes more to the storybook version of farmers we are given as children than it does to the reality of making a living from the land.

The real face of farming is big business, worth billions to the UK exchequer, employing hundreds of thousands of people and providing 64% of the food eaten in the UK alone. Farming is serious stuff with serious consequences if anything goes wrong.

And when you’re reliant upon Mother Nature’s benevolence for your success, you’ll try everything possible to reduce the impact of her volatility.

Farmers have been finding innovative ways to do just that from the earliest times. Managing water through irrigation began around 3100Bc; harnessing the energy of animals with the plough was introduced in 3500BC; getting the most out of the land with crop rotation started somewhere in modern Belgium in the 16th Century; the widespread commercial use of fertilisers on soil really kicked off in the late 19th Century; the mechanization of tractors and implements began in the mid 20th Century; and seed breeding and traits accelerated in the late 20th Century.

None of this will surprise you but the point is that farmers have always been innovating and today is no different.

The only real difference is the form that innovation takes. Where once it was strapping a plough to an ox, now it is strapping a high-tech light sensor to a drone to conduct an aerial survey. But the motivation is the same – using any means or tools at their disposal to profitably improve production and quality while reducing risk as much as possible.

Greg Emerick, co-founder of Sentera

This focus has manifested itself in the last ten years or so in precision agriculture which in short, is the practice of precisely managing nutrients, water, seed and other agricultural inputs to improve economic outcomes in a wider range of growing conditions.

But it also encompasses the use of automated farm equipment like tractors, guided by GPS systems. And farmers in the US, where Sentera is based, have really embraced this new approach to agriculture. They’re applying tech to gain insight into a range of issues including:


• electromagnetic soil mapping
• soil sample collection
• crop yield data collection
• remote sensing or aerial imagery
• crop or soil colour index maps
• soil types
• soil characteristics
• drainage level
• potential yields

Not quite the picture of the jolly farmer ploughing his fields in his trusty red tractor that we all grew up with. This is the face of modern agriculture and it is changing all the time. When you look at that list of applications for the tech being used, one thing is common throughout – data. Agriculture experts are always looking for new and more efficient ways to gather that data and, most importantly, to act on it.

At a basic level, Sentera gathers and analyses data. The way we gather that data is with simple-to-use sophisticated sensors on drones or satellites and analytic tools, but when you boil it down to the basics, that’s what we do.

Farmers and their advisors use the analysed data Sentera’s sensors gather to manage their operations more efficiently – be that to measure the germination and emergence of their seed, evaluate the health and viability of a young crop or produce weed maps for precision spraying applications.

But there are broader applications. For example, asset managers use it to track and understand the value of their investments and to predict crop yields allowing for better crop marketing decisions.

And insurance companies are using drone surveys to gather the data to provide a more accurate view of what they are underwriting and, when there is a claim, calculating the most accurate payment.

In fact, the data is completely agnostic – it can be used by a range of people involved in the sector but the most important thing, and the biggest benefit, is that everyone is working from the same data.

This approach to agriculture is becoming increasingly more common in the US. With our recent partnership with Iprosurv, we are now bringing this drone mapping capability to the UK.

Because what drones do is make the application of our technology so much easier and accessible for farmers and their affiliates. Top of the rage equipment, well trained and experienced pilots and a platform that allows for quick, efficient and accurate collection and delivery of the data, allows growers or analysts, asset managers or insurance companies, to act quickly and effectively, whatever the situation is.

It may seem like science fiction stuff now, but I can assure you that tech is the future of farming. In the US it’s the present and it is fast becoming the same in the UK.

Today, agriculture is the least digitised industry globally. However, it is quickly changing into a sophisticated, tech-enabled industry that has, since its inception, been all about innovation. Now is an excellent time to be adding these capabilities to your operation.

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Iprosurv News

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Drones and data set to revolutionise the UK agricultural insurance market

Iprosurv, the UK’s leading aerial survey, inspection and mapping provider, has entered into partnership with US-based agricultural surveying specialists, Sentera, in a move that will change the way agricultural risks are managed and insured in the UK.

The deal sees the full Sentera suite of sensors, software and analytics made available to Iprosurv’s existing fleet of over 400 drones. The new capability, a UK first, will enable Iprosurv to bring a new level of analytical detail to crop management and provide growers with the insight necessary to react before a crop is lost.

Using colour and multi-spectral imagery to create a field ‘heat map’, the new tech gives growers and their insurers a level of data and insight that has not been available previously.

The sensors provided by Sentera determine the health of a crop by analysing the light reflected by the crop leaves, down to individual plants. This allows the software to map out the health profile of a crop, enabling growers and insurers to take immediate and targeted remedial action.

This allows insurers to underwrite at a much more granular level which should lead to more accurate premium pricing and claims pay-outs for growers.

Rebecca Jones, CEO and co-founder of Iprosurv, predicted that the new capabilities would fundamentally change the way agricultural risks in the UK are managed and how insurers understand and price them.

Rebecca Jones, CEO and co-founder of Iprosurv, predicted that the new capabilities would fundamentally change the way agricultural risks in the UK are managed and how insurers understand and price them.

“The traditional approach to surveying crops requires boots on the ground, visual inspection and often lengthy analysis of individual plants. This is time consuming and, more importantly, can often be inaccurate but this partnership with Sentera means our drones can provide growers and their insurers with a detailed analysis of a crop’s condition, and it’s likelihood of failure, within hours,” she said.

“With Sentera’s tech on board, our drones can provide minutely specific data on a crop’s condition, predicting the yield and extent of any damage. Farming is becoming more and more automated and specialised and this technology is a significant addition to the modernisation of farming in the UK.”

In a recent Proof of Concept flight, an Iprosurv drone fitted with Sentera’s tech was able to help a farmer’s insurer establish that liability for their crop failure lay with a neighbouring farmer, avoiding a potential £1.5m claim on their record in the process.

Commenting on the partnership and the implications for the UK agricultural sector, co-founder and Director of New Strategic Ventures at Sentera, Greg Emerick, said:

Commenting on the partnership and the implications for the UK agricultural sector, co-founder and Director of New Strategic Ventures at Sentera, Greg Emerick, said:

“We’re excited to be working with Iprosurv to deliver the precision and efficiency of Sentera’s technology to agriculture professionals. Sentera’s solutions provide insights to growers, agronomists and retailers driving economic value up across the agriculture sector by reducing costs and improving production. 

“This same data is also being used to drive efficiencies for crop insurance claims adjusting and policy writing.”

The partnership is now live and the technology available to Iprosurv’s fleet of over 400 drones covering the UK. The capability will also be made available, via Iprosurv, to other drone operators on a commercial basis.

Contact For further information, contact martin.friel@iprosurv.com

About Iprosurv

Established in 2014, Iprosurv provides companies with the in-house capability of drone and data/media delivery services. Our CAMERA system and optimum drone operator platform provides bespoke services be that an on-demand, fully managed service to independent data/media delivery services.

Iprosurv is a pioneer in the provision of drone technology across a range of industries. Its current network of pilots, covering the entirety of the UK, use a proprietary system to record, store and deliver drone data to clients in a fast and secure way. From building surveys to flood response to assisting emergency services, Iprosurv continues to push the boundaries of how drones can be used in business.

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Information, Iprosurv News

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