Sponsored by DroneDeploy —
A number of companies are competing in the growing market for aerial mapping, data capture, and analysis that appears t0 be ripe for reaping revenue in the drone enterprise space. Construction, mining, and agriculture are all industries that are primed for rapid adoption of drone-enabled resource monitoring and intelligence gathering.
Of those industries, the highly cited AUVSI Economic Report 2013 wrote that “. . . almost all respondents considered agriculture to be far and above the largest market.” One firm that is focused on that market is DroneDeploy. Out of San Francisco. DroneDeploy marries commonly available drones with the powerful processing capabilities afforded by cloud-based computing to deliver aerial monitoring, inspection, and intelligence-gathering capabilities that previously have been cost prohibitive.
Mike Winn, DroneDeploy’s CEO, comments that, “We build software compatible with any drone capable of capturing geo-tagged imagery.” Using their map engine, a client “can obtain a bird’s eye view of what they care about. . . With a $1k tool and a press of two buttons, they can get high-res precise data of their environment.” The goal for Winn is to develop software that makes drones accessible to everyone not just those with specialized knowledge and technical skill. Their cloud-based drone software is designed to minimize the learning curve and reduce the costs associated with deploying drones to create maps, gain knowledge and run agricultural operations more efficiently.
According to Winn, the take rate of drones on farms is growing exponentially as farmers can now make data-driven decisions about their crops – how they are irrigated, fertilized, harvested, and managed. The ability to generate repeatable data sets that can be shared week to week enable conservation of resources and economic savings through examination of water, fertilizer, and pesticide use.
Winn noted that the DroneDeploy platform working with a simple drone can create maps in a short amount of time that deliver value without requiring advanced technical skill.
The following map of a 110-acre area was made with a DJI Inspire drone and DroneDeploy. The flight time was 7 minutes and the processing time was 45 minutes.
This is not an expensive solution. A DJI Phantom 3 drone costs $999 as of this writing, and the base level of service of DroneDeploy (Explorer) is free. DroneDepoy offers a 3-tier service plan (see link below) . As Winn explains, “a farmer can get easy-to-access on-demand aerial data of a farm with RGB images and then get more sophisticated with 3D models and move on to thermal or near-infrared imaging and maps.
DroneDeploy, started in March of 2013, is now used in 100 countries and has mapped over 2,000,000 acres.. It assists farmers with how to irrigate, how and when to harvest, assess crop damage, and develop improved drainage plans. While currently focused on the agriculture industry, Winn sees opportunities to collect and display data from other types of environments: golf courses, construction sites, manufacturing plants, and stadiums.
“We are helping real people generate real value and seeing exponential growth.”
- DroneDeploy web site with links to service plans
- DroneDeploy Case Study: Agriculture Drones Bring Big Value to Potato Growers
- DroneDeploy Guide to Making Successful Drone Maps