GISrecon - UAV's are only half the equasion

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My situation is a bit different than most. I'm looking to start a UaaS (UAV as a Service) startup that services industry to reduce costs. UAV's are only half the equation. Efficient systems to automate processing of collected data (traditional/multi-spectrum/thermal/lidar/etc) into actionable reports are key to unlocking their potential. A strong foundation in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) is fundamental to this endeavor. I'm looking to design a framework that's UAV agnostic and flexible enough to be applicable to many industry applications. A few potential markets include Photo-voltaic inspections, Wind Turbine Inspections, Multi-Spectrum Agriculture Crop Plans, Insurance Inspections, Disaster Recovery, Pipeline Inspections, Transmission Line Inspections.

My biggest challenge is developing a viable business plan and finding others willing to work with me on this venture. I could much more detail, but I'll leave it here for the moment.


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Welcome, Keith. Hope we can help push things forward for you.

You wrote that your biggest challenge is creating a viable business plan.

What about the business plan is holding you up? What specific questions do you need to have answered before moving forward?

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My angle is more on routine services. Inspections that are done over and over again on a schedule. Replacing traditional ground based methods with cost effective aerial based methods. I want to build a system and methodology that can support new applications as they become economical. This is where the real long term money is in the industry.

Much of the rest of the industry is a race too the bottom. Most of the UAV manufactures are going to go under of consolidate over the next decade. The film industry is quickly becoming saturated. However the commercial service industry is virtually untapped with endless use cases.

Yes, there are others working towards the same goal. But what's currently on the market still leaves a lot to be desired. I've been working at this same problem professionally from the other side of the coin as well. I'm trying to find service providers to contract to do sUAS inspections of renewable plants. FAA regulations are the main thing killing the economics of it right now. Once the pilot and line of site requires go away the game is really on. There is a need for a true SaaS UAV platform. A platform that business can easily incorporate into their existing workflows.

This goes beyond processing imagery into 3D models like DroneDeploye. The next step is to do analysis on the data and generate actionable reports. A good example is inspecting solar panels. No one wants to look at imagery. They want to know which panels need to be replaced. However, that being said imagery still need to be easily accessible through interactive webmaps that overlay customer assets, This is key to tracking trends and eventual "big data" analytics. 

So right now I'm still exploring all of this and have been throwing around ideas for a business plan with some colleagues. As I work though this same problem from the angle of the contractor of services I've been learning a great deal and it's helping to guide the discussion. In many ways the technology is not the problem. It's all about proper cost effective implementation. I'm not really looking to build a cloud platform from scratch, rather make use of industry standard GIS technology and tailor a solution for sUAS.

So I'm not ready for developers just yet. A business plan comes first. Right now I'm looking to network and build relationships with interested parties and see where all this goes. A project like this needs input from many subject mater experts so that's where I am now.  


Just a little bit on my background.

I'm the GIS Manger for Business Development for the North American side of a multi national green energy company. I'm a model aviation enthusiast who loves to build/fly/crash/repeat. I won an international innovation competition for an entry on incorporating drones into the operations of renewable plants. I'm working to build a sUAS pilot project for my employer.





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