Iprosurv: Leading the way to a more professional sector

Iprosurv: Leading the way to a more professional sector

Andrew Hamilton, Iprosurv’s new Director of Training and Development, talks about how he believes training and practical experience are the only way the commercial drone sector will secure the public trust that it needs to thrive.

It’s always exciting to start out on a new part of your career but joining Iprosurv as Director of Training and Development is particularly exciting as it feels we are on the cusp of something big.

Rebecca, the CEO of Iprosurv, will tell you that getting industry switched on to the potential of drones wasn’t an overnight thing and she and co-founder Shane have spent the last seven years convincing the world of business, one sector and one organisation at a time, that drones can revolutionise their operations.

And of course, they’ve not been alone in that – there are a growing number of commercial drone operators up and down the country doing the same and it is great to see them turning more and more organisations on to drones.

But that growth comes with a risk. There is still a general wariness of drones and while some organisations have plunged in, the majority are still dipping their toe to see what happens.

What every company experiences when they try drones for the first time, will have an impact on their perception of the drone sector and that one experience with one pilot can have serious consequences for all of us. Our collective reputation is at risk with every flight undertaken which is why it is so important that every flight is performed to the highest standards.

While it is a concern, it is also a huge opportunity for everyone in the sector which is why I’m so excited to have joined Iprosurv and to get started on the training.

My introduction to drones

I got into training by accident really. In 2013, I bought my first Phantom 1 with GoPro Hero 3 camera attached and after completing my drone training I was awarded my first PfCO in October 2014.

At the time, I was a serving Police Officer on the Roads Policing Unit where I was involved in investigating fatal road traffic collisions. At the time, we relied on the police helicopter to provide the aerial footage for our investigations but during one investigation the police helicopter was redeployed to a life-threatening incident and I was unable to get the aerial footage I needed.

So I decided to bring my drone out on patrol with me. Looking at the data the drone had collected was a big moment as we could all see in that one deployment how much more efficient and effective they could be.

I retired from the Police in 2016 but returned in 2017 to set up the first dedicated Police drone unit in the UK with up to 40 pilots and 15 drones. After their initial PfCO courses the drone unit would then teach the officers to fly drones in policing situations which is when my passion for teaching and training revealed itself.

That passion took to me to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as their UAS Sector lead, where I led a team dealing with OSC applications, auditing, oversight and enforcement of drone operators.

From there I became the Lead Instructor for an RAE delivering drone training on behalf of the CAA. The role of an RAE is to assist the CAA in assuring the competence of remote pilots that require an Operational Authorisation through the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate (GVC).

The competency of UA pilots involved in the operation of an unmanned aircraft is one of the main factors in ensuring UA operations remain tolerably safe and give confidence for this industry.

And that was me – hooked on training new drone pilots and providing real flight time experience to them.

It’s all about professionalism

One of the key things that attracted me to Iprosurv was Rebecca and Shane’s commitment to high standards of training for all their pilots and their insistence that the sector had to become more professional if it was ever to fully realise its potential.

The training and development of all pilots in the Iprosurv network, supporting them as they take the step in flight ability and safety, is my number one priority and the more training we provide in new technology, techniques and regulatory requirements, the more professional our pilots will become.

As that professionalism starts to act as a differentiator for Iprosurv, others will hopefully be galvanised to similarly invest in best practice and training. Everyone operating in the commercial drone sector needs to continually challenge themselves and their peers to achieve ever higher standards.

If we do that for ourselves and for each other, I am convinced that we will all secure the trust from the public and from business that we need to ensure that commercial drones secure their rightful place as an intrinsic part of the economy.

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.

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

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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.

Posted in General Interest, Information, Iprosurv News

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Iprosurv Internal 360 walkthrough technology

Iprosurv, the award-winning, national drone solution is adding Matterport operators to its supply chain. But what is Matterport and how can it help your business?

Matterport is the gold standard for 3D space capture. It is used to obtain accurate and entirely immersive virtual experiences. It offers so much more than panoramic scans. All viewers can investigate the site from the comfort of their own offices, without the need to travel to those specific locations. The visual reproductions are interactive without forfeiting the quality of the images. Moreover, viewers can observe the space from essentially every angle securing 360-degree viewpoint whilst investigating from a first-person perspective.

How does it help me reduce the manual tasks and difficulty of creating 3D models?

Matterport automatically processes customer scans swiftly to generate feature-packed 3D models. The dimensional precision of its models facilitates correct measurements for planning and assessing purposes. Tags can be embedded to emphasise important aspects throughout the model.

How can you benefit from using Matterport?

Matterport provides you with incredibly precise renderings of the inspection site, allows you to share the media with your colleagues and pinpoint the areas of interest, all from the comfort of your desk. You can share your model and linked assets with anyone on any device. It’s as easy as sharing a photo. You’ll be able to speed up collaboration and efficiency, as well as enlarge your customer engagement and reach. As well as residential property inspections, Matterport also covers larger commercial properties. You can rest assured that all the data of interest will be in one place, ready to be accessed at your convenience!

What can you use Matterport for?

In this case, the sky is the limit! You can use Matterport for a variety of projects. Engineering, construction, major loss and risk management and facilities management are just a few of the areas where it excels but we’re constantly pushing to discover more applications for the tech. Why not contact us and find out if Matterport is a good solution for your business!

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How drones are revolutionizing the telecom industry

From agriculture to engineering, insurance, and infrastructure, the enterprise use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, is on the rise.

PwC estimates that the total market value of drone-powered enterprise solutions will exceed $127bn, with the value of drones to communication service providers accounting for nearly $20bn.

For telecom operators, drones open the door to a range of opportunities. Due to the costs and expertise required to provide these solutions, it is not viable for individual organizations to establish their capabilities; and there lies the opportunity for telecom operators.

The benefit of drone technology is not a new concept in the telecom industry. In 2016, Etisalat won a prestigious Glomo Award at Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, in recognition of the “Drones 4 Good” initiative. Etisalat’s “Drones 4 Good” came first in the ‘Best Mobile Innovation for Health’ category, as it demonstrated the use of specialized drones to transport polio vaccine to remote locations.

The benefit of drone technology is not a new concept in the telecom industry. In 2016, Etisalat won a prestigious Glomo Award at Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, in recognition of the “Drones 4 Good” initiative. Etisalat’s “Drones 4 Good” came first in the ‘Best Mobile Innovation for Health’ category, as it demonstrated the use of specialized drones to transport polio vaccine to remote locations.

Telecoms operators are well-positioned to develop these capabilities by building on their existing strengths in connectivity, cloud, big data, and analytics, as well as capitalizing on the partnerships they already have in place to augment these capabilities.

As connectivity improves and automation increases, we can expect to see drones at the edge, completing autonomous missions, and uploading data directly to the cloud, bringing substantial business benefit to telcos and other enterprises.

Drones make it possible to perform remote engineering and network planning tasks, automate tower inspections, and enhance the measurement of wireless coverage and performance. They will help accelerate the rollout of 5G networks and enable new use cases leveraging 5G connectivity.

It appears as though the future of drones is now. And the coronavirus pandemic has certainly helped to speed up adoption and use cases for aerial fleets.

Automating inspections

The key application areas for drones in telecoms are maintenance monitoring and keeping infrastructure and installations in good condition. 

In the past, technicians had to climb to the top of towers and complete a manual count on the different installed equipment. Manual inspections are usually conducted on a limited portion of the tower, meaning that many telcos don’t have a complete record of the equipment mounted on their towers or comprehensive data on whether towers have available space to host new equipment.

As a result, these companies often find themselves without a central digital repository for processing insights – and no easy way to gain meaningful, portfolio-wide intelligence.

Automated drone inspections offer a powerful alternative. Using high-precision flight planning, automated capture, and intelligent data processing, telcos can automate the tower inspection process and use drones to autonomously survey their assets.

Drones can inspect installed equipment at the top of towers or over large areas with greater speed – lowering costs and reducing the risks to staff. The drones can take pictures, videos, measurements, and readings, and store the data for later use.

AT&T launched a programme in October 2016 that uses drones to inspect cell towers. Verizon also uses drones to inspect tower sites affected by severe storm flooding. AT&T uses drones to test signal strength across different regions in the US. Nokia has performed similar experiments in the UAE.

According to the GSMA’s latest Mobile Economy report, operators will spend $1.1 trillion globally in CAPEX between now and 2025, 80% of which will be on 5G networks. These 5G networks will require telcos to build, inspect, and maintain more sites, which will ultimately serve as locations for drone technology.

Drone-powered solutions

With the telecoms market evolving and operators seeking new commercial opportunities, the potential market for drone-powered solutions (DPS) is significant.

In addition to the benefits DPS can provide to telecom operators, there is also an opportunity for telecom operators to provide these solutions as services to other organizations.

Telcos have deep expertise in connectivity, cloud computing, and big data, and already have network infrastructure in place. This means they are uniquely positioned to monetize enterprise drone operations and become expert providers of automated drone solutions to private enterprises and the public sector.

Telcos could offer DPS by building partnerships in areas related to drone procurement, data processing, and data delivery, and by leveraging their internal capabilities across the value chain.

According to a Vodafone white paper, because telcos already possess the cloud infrastructure and network capacity needed to manage, store, and archive high volumes of data, it won’t take much for them to meet the need for data live-streaming, analyse drone-collected data, and provide their customers with unique insights.

A PwC report also states that the market for DPS, excluding drone procurement, in the Gulf Cooperation Council is expected to reach US$1.5 billion by 2022. This market can be served through multiple business models, such as end-to-end commercial drone services, on-demand live video data acquisition, or a fully autonomous system operated at a client’s premises.

Drone traffic control centers

Telecom operators could help to establish a drone traffic control center (DTCC) that would enable control of drone operations, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Telecom operators can provide the connectivity required for data transfer so that drones can be tracked by airspace regulators and receive real-time air traffic information.

Telcos could facilitate the technology components of the DTCC, from end to end, by supplying and managing data storage, connectivity, cybersecurity, professional services, and applications, including a drone traffic management system and real-time reporting and analytics.

By becoming a provider of these services, telecom operators will be able to meet their own needs, quickly gain a critical mass of skills and experience, and then offer these services to the market – achieving economies of scale and building new revenue streams.

Challenges

Before telcos can seize on the efficiency and revenue-generating opportunities that drones provide, they must first be able to conduct safe and compliant drone operations. Drones fly in low-altitude airspace, which can introduce new safety and compliance concerns.

To realize the full potential of drone technologies, it will be vital to have air traffic management systems in place that prevents collisions between drones and other aircraft.

Along with the benefits with drones to the telecom industry comes a responsibility to operate them in ways that respect personal privacy. As drone operators perform flights over various types of sites, the vast amount of data they collect could include sensitive or confidential information about private property or behaviour.

Given this risk, there is a need for clear international laws and guidelines on how companies should store data, and how individuals and companies can defend their privacy rights.

The lack of clarity on this vital issue of privacy is discouraging some companies from adopting drone-powered solutions.

Article by Telecom Review

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Information

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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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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 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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Operation “foreverwing” to combat illegal drone use.

HOME OFFICE, POLICE AND CAA JOIN TOGETHER TO ACT ON DRONE CRIME

  • Operation Foreverwing will raise awareness of enforcement work taking place around drones
  • More than 330 drone-related incidents recorded during the last five months

LONDON, 22 March 2021: The Home Office, Police and UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today announce a new campaign aimed at clamping down on drone-related crimes, after 336 drone-related incidents were recorded during the last five months in the UK.

LONDON, 22 March 2021: The Home Office, Police and UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today announce a new campaign aimed at clamping down on drone-related crimes, after 336 drone-related incidents were recorded during the last five months in the UK.

New Campaign “Foreverwing”

The new campaign, Operation Foreverwing, will see the three organisations work together to show the work the Police is doing around tackling drone crime, in a bid to deter drone owners from breaking the rules.

The Police has dedicated drone teams located across the country, tasked with enforcing the law by handing out fines and confiscating drones if people fail to stick to the rules.  With the CAA setting the rules for drone flying, the campaign will raise awareness of the rules while reminding those tempted to break them of the consequences.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for counter Drones, Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi, said:

“The use of drones has increased dramatically in recent years and as a result of that we are seeing instances of dangerous and irresponsible flying.

“If you are a drone owner it is your responsibility to make sure you are following the rules for your own safety and that of others around you.

“These rules can be found in the Drone Code on the CAA website.”

CAA Registration

UK law now dictates that CAA registration is mandatory for operators of drones over 250 grams and all drones other than toys that are fitted with a camera. Failure to register leaves drone users at risk of penalties up to £1,000.

The campaign will see more cooperation between the bodies and joint education targeting drone users.

Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications, CAA, said: 

“With close to 200,000 registered drone owners across the UK, the skies are becoming increasingly busy. Our objective is not to stop people having fun or using their drone for business, it’s to make sure that everyone can share the air safely and that means sticking to the rules outlined in the Drone Code.

“Drones can cost thousands of pounds, and with fines for breaking the rules, the costs can quickly add up for those failing to comply.”

For more information on UK drone regulations, registration and the Drone Code please visit www.caa.co.uk/drones

Media contacts

For further information please contact the CAA at 0333 103 6000 (08:30 – 17:30 Monday to Friday). Out of hours: 07789 745 636.

Alternatively, you can email on: press.office@caa.co.uk (monitored during office hours) 

Posted in General Interest, Information, Iprosurv News

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