Using drones as an inspection tool is a fairly new economic way of controlling the work environment. More and more companies are starting to acknowledge the benefits of applying the use of drones for this purpose. Drone Inspection comes in handy for many activities, but it’s most popular use is on the oil platforms, construction and manufacturing sites, refineries and more.
Inspection site is the first objective when you are thinking about starting Drone Inspection as a business. Having this on mind you can choose how deep in the profession can go.
The technical and operational capabilities of the drone and the pilot are the next steps.
The business potential with Drone Inspection is high. However, it depends on how far you want to go.
Types of Sites Inspected by Drones
There is a variety of types of drone inspections. Some sites are easy to inspect and don’t require much equipment. Such inspections as roof inspections, agricultural fields, and real estate sites. These kinds of inspections can be done with the usual average low-cost drones equipped with high-quality cameras.
On the other hand, some inspections require a lot more and cannot be performed by everyone. Such sites are the oil platforms, manufacturing sites, refineries, and nuclear sites. These inspections require a high level of professionalism. Whit this in mind, these drone inspection is performed by big companies such as Measure, Cyberhawk, Sky-futures, Aerodyne and a few more.
Requirements for a successful Drone Inspection
According to Sitemark, Drone inspection’s objective is clear. Providing accurate, relevant intelligence about the required site is the only helpful information for the enterprise. Therefore, some requirements are meant to be fulfilled for the inspection to be just right.
Choosing the right equipment is the first step. Depending on the site, the drone inspection company uses the most suitable drone. For example, some inspections require ground control points, real-time kinematic (RTK) or thermal cameras. Most companies jump to the world’s leading drone companies such as DJI. Others make custom drones suited for the inspection.
The next crucial step is the operator. The inspection team needs to have an experienced and well trained pilot. Some of these drones are meant to operate in extreme conditions. If the pilot doesn’t match the traits needed, then a good quality drone may go to waste. The operator needs to have skills in image processing software. Depending on the company, some may only provide the software and hardware and leave the finding of the pilot up to you.
Image processing is another important step. The pilots need to have enough skill in image processing. They need to process the images from a raw to a consistent format. If the data input is bad the data output will also be bad. Some providors may finish the whole process, whereas others specialize in only providing the right type of software.
The last step is the level of business intelligence. After the images are processed, the company needs to be able to make clear models and make the right analysis of the observed site. This is the main trait that distinguishes the high-end from the low-end companies.
Drones used as inspection tools
The drones used as inspection tools are not the everyday-type drones that sell for 100USD. These drones operate in extremely harsh environments. Therefore, their price is high as well as their endurance. However, with the increase in popularity in using drones in many activities, the prices come down day by day. For example, the YUNEEC Typhoon once sold for around 1300USD. Today, this inspection drone costs around 350USD.
Most of the drones used are made from metal elements and constructed for harsh environments. The leading inspection drone is the DJI Inspire with a price at around 3000USD.
Most of these drones have a battery-life far greater than the average ones. This allows them to enter and film in detail hard to enter sites like pipelines, tall unsafe towers, roofs and much more.
How much can you make by doing Drone Inspection
As a business idea, the drone inspection service is a growing trend. No matter which way you choose, the companies are ready to pay good money for good quality inspection. A simple inspection costs from 200USD per hour to 5000USD per session. However, many big companies make long-term contracts with the inspection service provider.
The starting price for a one-year contract usually starts from 100,000USD. That being said, the opportunities in this field of the drones world are almost limitless!