Dive in or get my feet wet

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On 5/29/2017 at 10:39 AM, Glen said:

I have started a Drone inspection co. Spot On Drone LLC. I want to do industrial type inspections power lines, bridges and industrial roofs/ factories. Should I start out with P4,I2 or m210 ?

You will want an airframe that you are able to swap gimbals/sensors out on easily because you will need multiple sensors and a good camera to do what you are proposing. You will also want an airframe that has a decent flight time and multiple batteries as backups as well as a quick charging system. The rest depends upon your budget but I would look towards a more professional setup than the P4/P4Pro.

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1 hour ago, Up Sonder said:

@R Martin Any suggestions for what a "more professional set up" is. What you think about the Matrice 200? Is there something available for less?

I do not have anything against DJI products. I am very happy with my Inspire 1 and it does most of what I need, but, the range (or rather the hassle of having to constantly swap batteries) is a limiting factor for me. I manage something in the neighborhood of 892 acres spread out over a 25 miles area. I need something that I can fly a large chunk of that without it turning into another career.

Glen is not going to do any mapping per se, so there really isn't any need for the RTK version of the Matrice. Depending upon price, it might be a good solution. Going outside DJI products, there are a few comparably priced that can match the Matrice I'm sure. Glen is going to need something that will support multiple sensors and it should be easy to reconfigure the UAS on the fly in the field should the mission change. My next purchase is going to be a FireFly 6 Pro and with the sensors is probably going to set me back around $21,000.00US (the version I'm looking at also has an RTK base station so technically I "should" be able to fly without GCPs and obtain decent accuracy (though I will gather tham just in case).

In closing, I've just come to realize that a quad copter just doesn't have the redundancy built in should something go wrong. My next UAS will have a minimum of six rotors as extra insurance; not that I have had anything go wrong (up until the last flight this afternoon). 

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  • 2 weeks later...

People come to these forums, to the understanding of commercial sUAS from different perspectives and at different points along their journey.  

Keep in mind that in the US this industry has officially existed for less than a year.  Most companies who would benefit from the data drones can collect are still trying to figure out what, if anything, it might mean to their business.

The route for most on this journey has traveled through the "hobby" market where there is a mix of DIY build it yourself, manufactured drones built with hobby grade off the shelf components and RTF consumer drones.  

Part of the reason people get so ginned up over DJI is because it's all they have experience with.  Most companies who are evaluating the effect drones will have on their businesses will not build their own and companies selling drones built with OTS hobby components are coming to the painful realization that they can't scale manufacturing, they don't have a dependable supply chain, and the uptime reliability is suspect.  

The perception, and the suggestion, is that DJI is all you can get.  If that's what you think, you are wrong.  Companies like Kespry, Ascending Technologies, Microdrone, Liecha, and many others are providing drone platforms that are advancing commercial sUAS technology an order of magnitude beyond DJI.

The trouble is, the price of those platforms are $25k-$65k+, and at first that would appear to be cost prohibitive for those who began their journey in the hobby market.  But by the time you kit out an M200 or M600 it costs $20k or more. So do you want to build a business around a platform that engineered purpose built solutions for the problems your trying to solve or do you want to build it around a company who's success is from building toys?  

I know people have a problem with me calling DJI's a toy, but putting SS badges on a six cylinder Comaro doesn't make it a Super Sport...

Call them whatever you like, but for anyone who is serious about building a commercial sUAS business then take the time to research drone manufacturers whose sole reason for existing is to developing purpose built solutions for commercial applications.  

Can you make money with a consumer drone and a .99 cent cell phone app, sure.  Just depends on what you really want to do.


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