Training and professionalism come to the fore as Iprosurv hires former CAA drone sector lead

Training and professionalism come to the fore as Iprosurv hires former CAA drone sector lead

Andrew Hamilton, former Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) sector lead for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has joined one of the UK’s leading drone services providers, Iprosurv as Training and Development Director.

Ongoing Training and Mentoring

In his new role, Hamilton will be responsible for providing practical and theoretical training in the use of commercial drones to members of Pilot Partnerships, Iprosurv’s growing drone pilot network.

With nearly a decade’s experience in commercial drone flight, Hamilton brings a huge amount of training experience to Iprosurv having set up the UK’s first dedicated police drone unit with Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and having acted as lead instructor for a Recognised Assessment Entity on behalf of the CAA.

As all Iprosurv pilots are fully trained and licensed, Hamilton’s role will focus on providing ongoing training and mentoring in new technology and deployment techniques, education on developing regulation and providing practical training for new pilots.

Pilot Partners Highest Industry Standards

Commenting on the appointment, Rebecca Jones, CEO and co-founder of Iprosurv, said: “Andy brings a huge amount of personal flight experience and, most importantly, in training other pilots so we are delighted to have him on board.

“Iprosurv has always had a clear mission to hold ourselves and our pilots to the highest professional and technical standards and with Andy joining us, we can take that to the next level.”

While Hamilton will start work with members of Pilot Partnerships with immediate effect, he has begun the approval process of securing CAA approved training entity status for Iprosurv.

“After gaining your CAA Operational Authorisation, technically, a pilot is eligible to operate a drone in a very congested area like central London,” said Hamilton.

“The standards set by the CAA are high but the opportunity to gain the skills and experience after qualification is missing at the moment and that is the gap I hope to help Iprosurv fill. In much the same way that the Pass Plus is often used by new drivers, we want to introduce the Pass Plus for drone flight.

Training Consistency

“There are many thousands of commercial drone pilots operating in the UK but there is still a huge variation in quality and flight experience. We have to tackle that lack of consistency if we are going to earn the necessary trust of the public and the private sectors.”

Pilot Partnerships was set up earlier this year to provide a professional home for the thousands of independent pilots across the country, delivering consistent training and flight management processes and embedding strong professional standards.

“We are just one of many commercial drone providers in the UK, but what makes Iprosurv pilots stand out is the level of experience they have and the rigorous and continuous training they undertake,” said Jones.

“With Andy joining us, our pilots now have access to one of the most experienced individuals in the market in training and development and we look forward to introducing his expertise to more and more pilots across the country.”

Contact

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

About Iprosurv

Established in 2014, Iprosurv is a pioneer in the provision of drone technology in the insurance industry and beyond. 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 manner. From building surveys to flood response to assisting emergency services, Iprosurv continues to push the boundaries of how drones can be used in business.

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Drones Mitigate Damage to Land and Properties During Extreme Weather.

Dr Monica Rivas Casaldo, senior lecturer in Integrated Environmental Monitoring at Cranfield University, discusses how Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can quickly capture data on urban flooding to give an accurate picture of property damage – meaning interventions to limit damage can be made immediately.

The average annual cost of flood damage to property in England is more than £1bn and rising. One in six properties are at risk, and the average cost of the repairs for each property ranges between £10,000 and £50,000.

It’s a cycle of threats, misery and repairs that’s exacerbated by the time involved in assessing costs for insurance claims. Residential and commercial property owners are advised not to undertake any clearing up activity until the damage has been assessed by the insurance company, which is time-consuming and costly to undertake. There can be substantial further costs if any dwellings become uninhabitable and the residents have to move into alternative accommodation.

Flooding North Yorkshire Hebden Bridge 2020

There needs to be detailed understanding of the likelihood of flooding, its likely magnitude and impact in order for there to be the most reliable and effective insurance provision available, with appropriate premiums, excess and loss adjustment. Costs for property owners can be mitigated by adopting different measures, such as resilience and resistance measures (flood guards, hard floor surfaces and waterproof plaster etc) and by making use of insurance products that spread the risk and ensure coverage to as many properties as possible. These will typically cost in the range of £3000 to £10,000 but can significantly reduce the impact of flooding.

Current flood damage assessment

Current flood damage assessment by the insurance industry following an event relies on a combination of door-to-door inspections and remote sensing techniques. Many Canadian insurers, for example, use satellite imagery pre- and post-event to assess risk exposure, estimate the number of claims in an area and assess the need for loss adjusters. Similarly, Swiss Re relies on CatNet, a software system that overlays satellite images onto Google maps enabling an assessment of the extent of the flooded area to be made and to determine where claims will arise. But there are a number of factors that limit the effectiveness of remote sensing methods: spatio-temporal coverage may not be available for the required zone and period; optical imagery cannot provide information if there is low cloud cover; satellite data that can penetrate cloud cover has an oblique viewing angle which makes it difficult to discriminate water from other urban features. Also, current remote sensing approaches don’t provide enough detail to assess the effects of micro-topography in streets and the presence of property flood resistance measures.

New UAV Studies

New results from a study of the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to capture data on urban flooding has demonstrated their potential as a more effective alternative. UAV aerial imagery offers both timely (on-demand) and increasingly detailed (higher resolution) information than comparable satellite or aircraft imagery. UAVs can also be deployed to assist in the response to flooding in conditions and areas that are not accessible by manned aircraft or helicopters. In the last five years, the use of UAV technology has increased exponentially with a varied range of commercial platforms (rotary blade, fixed wing, and nano and hybrid drones) and sensors. An estimated 600 UAVs were used globally in 2015 by police, firefighters, humanitarian relief, and disaster management, with the number being used doubling on a yearly basis.

Initial research

Initial research was carried out at the time of the major Cockermouth flooding at the end of 2015. As a result of storm Desmond, a total of 466 properties were flooded due to flood risk management structures being overtopped and outflanked. The event was a consequence of heavy rainfall over an extended period with more than 300 mm of rain falling over a 24 hour period, which translated into flows in the Derwent River of 395 m3 s−1 at the Ouse Bridge gauging station and 170 m3 s−1 at the Cocker Southwaite River gauging station. The estimated annual exceedance probability for the observed event was less than 1% for both rainfall and river flows.

Fixed Wing Drones

A fixed wing platform UAV was selected for the survey to maximise area coverage under the rainy and gusty conditions. The Sirius-Pro platform had a 163 cm wingspan and a length of 120 cm, able to fly for up to 50 minutes, and equipped with a16 megapixel Panasonic GX-1 on-board camera. Images were used to identify the flood impact and extent, with each point being assigned a confidence level (high, medium, or low) describing the uncertainty associated with its impact classification and the potential for the impact to have been generated from any other source rather than flood. The raw UAV high-resolution imagery was used to reduce the level of uncertainty when possible. The resulting flood impact point database was used to identify residential property that could have been flooded during Desmond.

The direct tangible losses (domestic clean-up, household inventory damage, and building fabric damage) for the affected properties were calculated using a UK specific methodology. The losses (without VAT or other indirect taxes) for a residential property of a given type and age (for example, pre-1919 detached, 1975–1985 semi-detached, and 1919–1944 flat) were estimated based on the flood water depth within the property. Residential properties with directly observable resistance measures (i.e., flood aperture guards for doors and windows, flood resistant airbricks, and raised doors or steps leading to a property) were also taken into account, alongside the type of flooding (overbank topping, pluvial run-off, and groundwater) affecting the property.

Results

The results from the UAV analysis were compared with those from the classic door-to-door approach (assumed to deliver 100% accuracy). The UAV framework was found to provide an accuracy in the detection of flooded properties of 84%. The results also highlighted the importance of considering all sources of flooding even when an event is largely thought to be fluvial in nature. It is important in the initial evaluation of an event to consider flooding from all sources not just from the overtopping of flood risk management structures. There were significant levels of pluvial and lateral flow flooding, with a total of £3.6 million in direct tangible losses assigned to 168 properties outside the fluvial flood extent. This comprises 36% of the total direct tangible losses associated with all sources of flooding in Cockermouth during this event. These properties were not initially identified as being flooded as the initial responses focused on the fluvial flood extent. Resistance measures present within the area resulted in a considerable reduction in direct tangible losses (£4 million). The work presented here also highlighted the importance in selecting accurate remote sensing loss-adjustment approaches, with a discrepancy in direct tangible losses between the two approaches tested of around £1 million.

The UAV approach will facilitate a better and faster estimation of the extent and impact of a flooding event, a more rapid evaluation of the affected area and the associated damage costs, also enabling loss adjusters to prioritise their individual household impact assessments. What’s needed now is further development of the system to allow for a more automated process and near-real-time data.

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Iprosurv “Pilot Partners” now adding new professional drone pilots.

Iprosurv, one of the UK’s leading commercial drone providers, has today launched Pilot Partnerships, an ambitious new proposition to bring together the nation’s independent operators and drive greater levels of professionalism across the sector.

Co Operative Approach

Billed as a co-operative for commercial drone pilots, Pilot Partnerships aims to bring together the huge number of independent operators to provide mutual support, share best practice and work together to drive greater levels of professionalism and public trust in the sector.

Using Iprosurv’s proprietary software platform, members of Pilot Partnerships will have access to case management and flight planning software, data security, safety and environmental compliance support, tailored training, bespoke websites and a host of marketing and client prospecting support.

Commenting on the new initiative, Rebecca Jones, CEO and co-founder of Iprosurv, said: “The commercial drone industry is growing fast as more and more businesses look to new technology to solve old problems.

Fragmented Market

“But the commercial drone market is fragmented and made up of sole traders and micro-SMEs and the introduction of new regulations has made life tough for many. If we are to become the mature, professional industry that more and more sectors expect us to be, we have to come together, work together and grow together to create that.”

Iprosurv has a well-established network of drone pilots and has made a significant investment in ensuring that Iprosurv and its partners have the latest, safest technology available to help establish drones as a permanent feature of doing business.

Professional Operators

“We have huge ambitions for our sector, but we know we can’t do it on our own and we don’t think the hundreds of independent, professional operators we want to work with across the country can do it on their own either,” said Jones.

“Which is why we have set up Pilot Partnerships. We hope that, in time and with the right partners, Pilot Partnerships will become the gold standard in the industry and a guarantee of quality and professionalism to clients of all shapes and sizes.”

Mutually supporting

Pilot Partnerships is the first mutually supportive, network proposition in the commercial drone sector in the UK. The target profile for potential members is sole operators and organisations that have a specific sector or technical expertise.

“As Iprosurv, we have made great inroads into our chosen sectors but as our profile has grown, the huge potential in other markets is becoming apparent and we want to bring all our compliance, operational and customer service expertise to as many sectors as possible,” said Jones.

Partners

“We are looking to partner with drone operators who have technical and operational experience but require the support of a larger organisation to exploit the opportunities they see or sector experts who can help introduce us, and our partners, to new markets.

“Together, we can make a mark on the economy and ensure that drones have an integral role to play.”

Entry into the Pilot Partnerships community requires a small one-off fee and small percentage share of fees.

find out more about pilot partnerships

Article written by Iprosurv journalist Martin Friel:  martin.friel@iprosurv.com

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Drones Take on 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”.

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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.

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For drones to thrive we all have to professionalise

Our co-founder and CEO Rebecca Jones recently wrote a blog on professionalism in the drone sector for our friends over at Coptrz, an organisation doing more than most to transform industry with drones. We encourage you to head over to their site to see what they are up to but in the meantime, we thought we’d share the blog with you. 

Co-Founder and CEO of Iprosurv Rebecca Jones

After several years of hard slog, constant cajoling and buckets of patience, it feels like we, as a commercial drone community, are finally making some headway in opening up more and more sectors to the benefits that drones can bring to their operations.

Let’s not kid ourselves though – we effectively started from the bottom, working on each prospective client individually, convincing them one by one that drones aren’t just toys but essential tools in the day to day operations of many sectors.

But for all those individuals and firms we have collectively won over, we still face an uphill struggle in making drones an accepted, everyday aspect of the business landscape.

According to a piece of research conducted by PwC in 2019, Building Trust in Drones, less than a third (31%) of members of the public feel positive about the commercial use of drones. When researchers dug deeper to understand that lack of positivity, they found that the top concerns for the public were the improper use of drones (42%), the risk of use by criminals (27%) and the risk of accident (26%).

The public appear to be far more accepting of drones when they are used for search and rescue (87%), identifying and tracking criminals (80%) and supporting other emergency service efforts (84%).

The public only seem open to the use of drones in extreme circumstances rather than for day to day business use but the real threat for commercial drone operators is that this public perception is leading to reticence within the business community to deploy drones.

The same PwC study found that more than a third (35%) of business leaders believe drones are not being adopted in their industry because of negative public perceptions. That is despite the fact that 43% of those same business leaders believe that their industry will benefit from drone use.

A separate report from PwC sought to estimate the economic benefit of the widespread use of commercial drones predicting that, by 2030, drones could have increased the UK GDP by a huge £42bn. More than that, the report predicted that drones could deliver £16bn in net cost savings to the UK economy while creating 628,000 jobs.

The potential upside of commercial drone use is huge, but we seem to be caught between business appetite and public fear. So, the question we all have to try and answer is one that has dogged the drone sector from the beginning – how do we get the public to trust drones?

According to Elaine Whyte, UK drones leader at PwC, the answer lies in all of us: “The drone community across industry, government and civil society needs to change the public discourse from one of uncertainties and toys, to one of opportunity and accountability.

“This can be achieved through better education on the wealth of use cases for drones, as well as increasing understanding of regulation and accountability. The public will only trust a new technology if they understand who is regulating and providing oversight.”

I wholeheartedly agree with her but since these reports came out, the Civil Aviation Authority has bent over backwards to accommodate drones, making them more and more applicable to more and more sectors. The regulator has done its bit – now it is time for the drone sector itself to step up and accept the responsibility of changing public perception.

There have been many calls over the years for greater education of the public which is fine. However, we can tell them about the benefits and safety of drones until we are blue in the face but unless they are convinced about the individuals and organisations operating in this sector and their levels of professionalism, there will always be distrust.

So how do we address that lack of trust? For me, it has to be all about professionalism, setting and meeting minimum standards of operation and accountability. I’m sure there isn’t a commercial drone operator in the country who doesn’t think they operate in a professional manner but what is deemed professional by one person could be seen as completely unacceptable by another. Which is why we need standards and targets to reach creating a baseline of competence and professionalism that the public can look to and rely upon.

Prior to setting up Iprosurv, I worked as a mortgage advisor and through that was exposed to the insurance industry, an industry that has struggled for many years with its public perception. While that industry has had a professional body, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), since 1912, its reputation has continued to suffer from public distrust.

So, around a decade ago, they introduced the concept of Chartered Status for firms (rather than just individuals) through which organisations had to commit to attaining certain levels of training and competence in their workforce to try to establish a baseline of what professional conduct and operation looked like.

Now I’m not suggesting that the drone industry needs the same approach but crucially, a consumer survey conducted by the CII found that 58% of consumers agreed that they would have more trust in advice from a chartered firm than one which is not.

But what relevance do the standards of a financial services sector have to how we operate in the commercial drone sector? The underlying principle is professionalism and we as a sector have to rapidly professionalise our individual operations and the conduct of the wider community if we are ever to realise that £42bn worth of benefit on behalf of the economy.

When a sector professionalises and does so publicly, trust follows as naturally as night follows day. So, where do we start?

Of course, we already have the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (ARPAS) acting as a trade body for UK commercial drone operators and they have an existing code of conduct. They are our sector’s central hub connecting drone operators with each other and the regulator and establishing standards that can and should be met by all individuals and firms.

Of course, we already have the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (ARPAS) acting as a trade body for UK commercial drone operators and they have an existing code of conduct. They are our sector’s central hub connecting drone operators with each other and the regulator and establishing standards that can and should be met by all individuals and firms.

This is a great start, but they can’t do it on their own – the regulation is there, the trade body is there and now it’s up to all of us to make every effort necessary to show how just how professional each of us and, by extension, our sector is.

Whether that is engaging with ARPAS – and I urge everyone to do so – or committing to certain levels of training or partnering with like-minded, professional-leaning drone operators, whatever it is, any operator that cares about the future of our sector needs to do it and do it quickly.

Greater formalisation of operations and behaviours will come naturally as the sector matures but it won’t arrive by magic. Getting to the stage where drone operators and the sector are seen as inherently respectable and professional requires the effort and commitment of every operator to get the momentum going.

And as we get the momentum going and begin to adopt those minimum standards of operation and professionalisation, it will help start to drive out some of the rogue operators that all of us see out there.

The ones who care more about quick income than creating a sector that the public can trust and rely upon, one that we can all be proud of. And I think it is incumbent upon all of us to call out those kinds of operators out, making it clear they don’t represent our industry.

I’m not having a go at people having a go at making a living out of drones but if we want to get that public trust and the business success that will flow from that trust, we have to not only hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. We have to hold each other to those same high standards.

I’m not having a go at people having a go at making a living out of drones but if we want to get that public trust and the business success that will flow from that trust, we have to not only hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. We have to hold each other to those same high standards.

If we let these rogue operators represent our industry, it would be a disaster. Not only for the wider commercial drone sector but for the wider economy and society as a whole.

This is a truly exciting industry to be operating in but being involved at these early stages of its evolution also brings a huge amount of responsibility to all of us. The regulator can guide us and ARPAS can support us and give us a voice. But neither of these bodies can professionalise us. That responsibility lies with us as individuals and as a community.

So, let’s not shirk that responsibility and instead embrace it, come together either through ARPAS, or other formal and informal networks, to work together and challenge each other to meet the highest professional standards we can.

The time for dreaming of a professional drone sector has passed – the reality of it and need for it is closer than we might think. Now is the time to turn that dream into a reality.

It requires all our efforts and focus to make it happen and it won’t appear overnight. We are in it for the long haul, but I am convinced we can and will do it. With the right motivation, willpower and yes, applying the necessary levels of professionalism to every job we do, every interaction we have with business and the public, we will get the reputation we want.

It is only through those individual efforts and by coming together as a genuine community that I believe we will make the potential benefits of commercial drones a reality for more and more sectors, up and down the country.

Rebecca Jones is the co-founder and CEO of Iprosurv, one of the UK’s leading drone services providers.

Credit for the original article Coptrz

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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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Will insurance slip back to an analogue world?

As more and more providers turn to remote technology to keep the claims process going we asked Waseem Malik, Executive Managing Director of Claims for AXA Insurance to give us his view and why he thinks greater use of tech and increased digital capability is finally here to stay in

It’s hard to find positives in a global pandemic but I’m an optimist so hear me out.

The insurance industry isn’t known for its revolutionary tendencies. We prefer to change things incrementally, safely and surely. We get there eventually, but it often takes time.

And it has been no different with the digitisation of the industry. There isn’t an organisation worth its salt that is not going through some kind of digital transformation but if I’m honest, none of us have done it at any great speed.

But this is where the positive in the pandemic comes in. Of course, insurance isn’t alone in this but by being forced to work remotely, we have all had to find new ways of doing that, from managing claims to conducting risk assessments and everything in between. And we’ve had to do it quickly.

The answer to that problem has, almost every time, been tech and I’m glad to say that we have embraced this wholeheartedly at AXA where we have been accelerating our use and deployment of this.

For example, customers can report and submit their claim, complete with damage and incident details, via their phone allowing the claim handler to get moving as soon as the data is in.

And for large losses, particularly in property, we have been able to use tech such as drones, rather than people, to safely assess the damage and get the claim moving.

Neither of these processes are new. The difference now is that rather than seeing tools like these as an option, they are the first port of call and whenever we emerge out of this pandemic, I think they will remain vitally important.

Because it’s not just the industry that has had to adapt to this – customers are also getting used to a new way of doing things. And the feedback we are getting on these tech-led approaches is extremely positive. The smart use of tech speeds the claims process up, it makes our decision making much more transparent and it makes their experience of dealing with us much easier.

They have seen what is possible and how our use of tech positively impacts their experience, so they’ll expect more of the same and we need to deliver it. But I am acutely aware that the conviction of one insurer isn’t going to give our customers the experience they or we want.

All parties need to understand the value of this tech. I can easily imagine an underwriter offering preferential terms to a broker who comes armed with detailed drone data on a risk. Why wouldn’t they? The data doesn’t lie.

And for adjusters, not only does it allow them to assess a site quickly and safely, it is cost effective too and in a sector of the market where margins are wafer thin, that has got to be a benefit they and insurers want to embrace.

It’s not just about drones – they are simply an example to illustrate my point. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has forced many of us to adopt tech more broadly and with greater speed than we would perhaps have imagined – just look at all our kids using Microsoft Teams, better than us in many cases, for their online lessons!

But for customers and the industry to get the full benefit, we all need to understand and accept the value it offers. This is an opportunity, driven by tragic events, but an opportunity nonetheless and if we don’t take it, we will have let our customers down.

Not only that. We will have let the next generation of insurance professionals down, those people who are looking to us to create the industry of the future, and we will have let them down badly. I for one don’t want to be here in five or ten years’ time saying “I told you so”. I want to be here saying “I was part of the revolution”.

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Information

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Drones could form key part of next generation of UK search and rescue

From accidents off the rugged cliffs of the Atlantic coast to casualties in the high waves of the North Sea, drones could be used in the future to help save lives across the UK

A new project will investigate if drones could also boost missions by visiting rescue sites ahead of air, sea or land based recovery teams; by providing a full picture of the situation and helping to develop the appropriate response.

Announced Wednesday 5 February by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), the project will explore how current regulation can be developed to unlock the potential for drones to help those in distress on the UK’s coastline, making rescues safer and more efficient.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Drone technology has enormous potential for our search and rescue teams, who save lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This ground-breaking project will not only hope to boost the capabilities of our already fantastic teams but will also boost our ability to spot pollution hazards and protect our precious marine environment.”

Last year alone, the MCA’s civilian search and rescue helicopters responded to seven missions a day on average, saving more than 1,600 people. In total, the MCA coordinated over 22,000 incidents and rescued over 7,000 people.

Phil Hanson, aviation technical assurance manager at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said: “I am extremely proud and excited that the MCA has taken the brave step to take the lead in the development and implementation of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones in UK airspace.

“The use of drones in search and rescue, counter pollution and maritime aerial observation operations will potentially increase overall efficiency and also reduce the risk to our personnel – allowing the MCA to discharge its international obligations effectively.”

Source: Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Posted in General Interest, Information, Iprosurv News

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