Spitfire76

Drone Radio Show, Interview with 3DR CEO Chris Anderson

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22 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

Ooh, good share. Adding to list. Do you have any takeaways yet?

@Alan Perlman, it was sad to hear Chris say "We love DJI". Of course now that 3DR are no longer a drone manufacture but an application provider they did not have much choice but to work with what was once was their competitor. 

I also found this interesting:-

 "if they touch the sticks then we have failed".

He was referring to the construction worker that operates the drone using 3DR's site scan software. Although they are part 107 certified they are not referred to as pilots but drone "operators" and have "one button" control from the iPad.

My thoughts - I don't believe being just a "drone pilot" can be a career anymore unless its with the military as the trend will be to train a company's existing staff to operate the drone and applications similar to a PC or it will eventually operate on its own. Maybe drone maintenance is the business to get into.....

 

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The cost (in $ but mostly in time and training) to obtain a remote pilot certificate is very low.  This can be looked at as a good thing.  But it certainly has consequences.

For companies, whether large or small,  that finds value in repeated uas collected data of any kind, is likely to have their own staff get certified and "operate" their drones.  The more autonomous the better for their purpose. 

If the FAA had decided to require at least a sport pilot certificate to operate drones commercially.  Then a large majority of companies would more than likely use uas subcontractors.  Ironically,  the fact that the remote pilot certificate is so easy to get. I suspect those that are independent uas operators will be the minority of the total of Remote Pilot Certificate holders. There will still be specialists needed of course. But they will be the smaller % of commercial operators.

I don't particularly like this paradigm.  But that's what I see happening.  I welcome other's opinions.

 

Edited by Dave Pitman

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Not sure my crystal ball is better than anyone else's.  I'm noticing something a bit different.  I've mentioned this in a couple of other threads, the military ban on DJI might be having an interesting effect on the commercial drone industry.

We're certainly seeing a lot of interest in finding an alternative to DJI from several utilities, DoT's and telecommunication companies [cell towers].   I don't think any of them want to start their own drone departments even though many of them have their own manned aircraft divisions.      

Also, they seem to be getting much more sophisticated quickly to the type of data they need.  Most customers are now insisting on at least a Sony A7RII [43+MP] camera.  They are also beginning to insist on processing that data in-house.  Granted most of our customers use Bentley Systems analytical software.

But I think the trend that the ban may have started is that not only are our customers evaluating an alternative to DJI, they're evaluating every aspect of the value chain.  Things that they might have excepted at face value of DJI's marketing is no longer the case.

Chris Andersen is a master of spin, 3DR was the industry leader in the commercial drone market, then they hired a bunch of Ph.D.'s who totally misread the market and launched the SOLO head to head against DJI and got their ass handed to them.  Now he's partnered with DJI and he's trying to tell the world he meant to do that.   

The irony is that about two weeks after they announced the deal with DJI the military bans DJI. 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Av8Chuck said:

Chris Anderson is a master of spin, 3DR was the industry leader in the commercial drone market, then they hired a bunch of Ph.D.'s who totally misread the market and launched the SOLO head to head against DJI and got their ass handed to them.  Now he's partnered with DJI and he's trying to tell the world he meant to do that.

Well said.

More context in some of our reporting over here:

Just finished my Monday morning coffee (always the best one of the week) and had a chance to listen to Chris's interview with Randy. Randy has a career in urban planning and asks some poignant questions.

Some of my notes:

  • Construction is the second largest industry in the world. It's also one of the least digitized, and because of that there are many highly inefficient aspects of projects.
  • BIM = building information modeling and is one of the big trends in construction right now
  • 3DR's SiteScan software helps capture the data, but the real meat of the software is how once the data is captured, it's then run through photogrammetry engines like Pix4D or Autodesk ReCap. It's also run through analytical tools, volumetric calculations, change detections, clash detections, then ultimately integrates into the rest of the AutoDesk suite. It's an enterprise workflow software.
  • Competitors are SkyCatch, Kespry, Airware, Redbird, Intel...lots of partnerships happening in this space and lots of folks thinking BIM is the big trend in construction.
  • His big bet is that the "deepest integration with Autodesk is going to win."
  • Construction industry has an average of 80% cost overruns. Measuring = more predictability. Maybe demand will come from customers instead of construction companies? Push for measurement and digitization is coming from a few places, not just construction companies.
  • We're now in the "data must be useful" phase of the drone industry. Yes, drones are sexy, but companies are now looking more closely / deliberately at ROI, clear utility. We're going from a 'nice to have' to a 'need to have.' Makes sense.
  • Use of technology like an iPhone or tablet on a construction site has been taking decades. Drones integration will not happen overnight.

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13 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

3DR's SiteScan software helps capture the data, but the real meat of the software is how once the data is captured, it's then run through photogrammetry engines like Pix4D or Autodesk ReCap. It's also run through analytical tools, volumetric calculations, change detections, clash detections, then ultimately integrates into the rest of the AutoDesk suite. It's an enterprise workflow software.

SiteScan has little to do with any of the analytical software and as best I can tell it doesn't use telemetry information in the generation of the model any more than phone apps like DroneDeploy.  We went head to head against 3DR and Autodesk in an evaluation for a large utility and they couldn't come close.  Chris actually believes that the Sony QX-11 [or whatever they're calling it as part of SiteScan] is the most accurate camera available for surveys.  Its a revamped cell phone camera and it was all that a SOLO could carry.

13 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

His big bet is that the "deepest integration with Autodesk is going to win."

Autodesk is certainly a gorilla, but they aren't the biggest and there's a lot more to this than BIM.  Autodesk is just looking for a home for their investment in VR.

14 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

Construction industry has an average of 80% cost overruns. Measuring = more predictability. Maybe demand will come from customers instead of construction companies? Push for measurement and digitization is coming from a few places, not just construction companies.

Measurement is only a part of the issue, even then most people are not nearly accurate enough.  But that's not what causes the cost overruns.  What this industry is struggling with is the transition from analog to data and 2D to 3D.   

The volume of physical inspections to identify the required work is overwhelming the capacity to efficiently manage and conduct the necessary analysis.   Traditional, ground-based stationary engineering tools cannot efficiently deliver the massive volume of high-resolution multi-dimensional data required to meet this growing demand.

That's kind of the promise of BIM.  But the real benefits come from the way in which primary contractors can manage and collaborate with designers, subcontractors, etc..  All of this leads to a more distributed workflow.   

14 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

Use of technology like an iPhone or tablet on a construction site has been taking decades. Drones integration will not happen overnight.

That's what Chris would like everyone to believe.  For data to have any real commercial value it has to meet a minimum level of accuracy.  Data is a zero-sum game if you scan a ten-acre substation and it's off in part of the model but not others then how can you trust it.  If you can't trust the data then there is no value.  But if aerial scanning can meet the required spec then what it offers is an order magnitude greater efficiency.  Once that happens you won't be able to manufacture the solutions fast enough. 

So the reason smart devices have not been integrated into construction workflows is that what value does the data they provide have?  Seriously, who would put their career on the line using imagery from a cell phone to make decisions that could negatively affect problems worth tens of millions of dollars?

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