The Property Drone Consortium, a collaboration of insurance carriers, construction industry leaders and supporting enterprises this week announced its roster of charter members.
The members, which include Allstate Corporation, American Family Insurance, Auto-Owners Insurance, EagleView Technologies, Inc., Erie Insurance and Pilot Catastrophe Services, have agreed to work together to promote the development of standards and specifications for the safe use of unmanned aircraft system technology in the insurance and construction industries.
Consortium officials said the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) serves as the group’s technology adviser, the National Roofing Contractors Association serves as an honorary member, and the Rochester Institute of Technology serves as a technology member.
“The multi-faceted collaboration to enhance commercial use of unmanned aerial systems is exciting, said Gary Sullivan, the consortium’s chairman. “The PDC expects to develop technology enabling safe operations and inspections that will benefit its members and members’ customers.”
Within the past year, the PDC has secured a number of FAA regulatory approvals including Section 333 exemption grants, a 333 amendment and blanket Certificates of Waiver or Authorization to permit the use of a variety of UAS platforms for aerial data collection, including the inspection of properties for the insurance and construction industries.
Officials said the group is working closely with IBHS to lead the research effort that focuses on the collection and processing of “intelligent” images for the assessment for property exteriors, specifically roof damage detection, but they said the research goes beyond just inspection.
“The PDC is also focusing on research into ongoing safety initiatives for collision avoidance, visual line of sight and automated flight planning as well as looking into how to integrate resulting data from UAS inspections into existing workflows,” the consortium’s president, Charles Mondello, said.