3DR shares progress updates on commercial sUAS work

By Luke Geiver | April 13, 2017

The issue with 3D Robotics efforts to move from serving the hobbyist market to the commercial enterprise space hasn’t been related to its unmanned aircraft system or software performance. The highly publicized drone entity is instead faced with an information-dispersal situation that it—along with many drone tech firms—is working to face today: how to inform and educate potential clients on the merits of drones. “There is so much potential with what we’ve got,” said Hugh McFall, marketing specialist at 3DR. “We need to continue to help drive the stories of what the true value of our systems are.”

Since launching its Site Scan software and analytics offering last year—a product suite that includes its Solo drone quadcopter, Sony camera, access to Autodesk and a mapping software system equipped with access to the cloud and service help—the 3DR’s enterprise team has been working with clients that have utilized 3DR’s offerings to help the clients reap the rewards of a drone-based system, and, to outline their stories so that other potential clients can see why drones are necessary elements of the workplace.

In Florida, the 3DR team helped a large construction firm PCL build the largest man-made lagoon in the U.S. The lagoon, at the center of a 3,000-home development, needed to be monitored frequently during build-out to ensure the proper grading was maintained. A traditional boots-on-the-ground survey team could only get a limited set of precise points, McFall said. “With 3DR’s Site Scan you would get millions of points.” And, in 30 minutes, the amount of data the team in Florida using the 3DR drone was able to capture “was amazing in relation to a traditional survey,” McFall said. The time savings on surveys and the ability of the site managers to keep stakeholders updated frequently on the progress of the massive project was a huge plus for all involved, he added.

The sUAS pilot for PCL was familiar with the 3DR offering. According to McFall, the pilot used a study guide from 3DR to earn its sUAS pilots license.

For Mcfall and the 3DR team, the last year spent building a portfolio of case studies for drones in the commercial enterprise space has yielded great results. The team has worked with engineers, surveyors and mining operations personnel.

McFall said his work outlining the need for drone implementation to prospective clients will continue to be an ongoing effort. A case study on work with a producer at French television network Arte TV on a shoot in Iraq for a documentary on endangered world heritage sites is in the works, he said. The producer is going to scan the sites with a laser scanner and combined the results with 3D models. “It will be an awesome story with great imagery,” McFall said.

In Massachusetts, the team is working with a veteran/engineer that was a beta tester for 3DR Site Scan system. The engineer is showing how to scan an area in Cape Cod in roughly one hour instead of the normal hundred-plus hour time normally required.

And, after its success with the Florida lagoon, the 3DR team will be releasing a how-to guide for firms wondering how their peers approached drone technology, the criteria they had and how they scaled across the organization.