Day 2 of the DroneDeploy Conference in San Francisco kicked off yesterday with a keynote address from co-founders CEO Mike Winn, Jono Millin and Nick Pilkington. DroneDeploy is announcing major new functionality for the platform.
DroneDeploy, the world’s leading drone mapping platform, has had another phenomenal year of growth. With over 30,000 users, the sheer quantity of data produced is stunning: this year, their platform mapped over 250K sites, performed 600K flights, and processed more than 75 million images.
It’s an experience set that gives them a unique perspective on the direction of the drone industry. While Drone Deploy’s growth has been impressive, CEO Mike Winn points out that 3-5 million acres of agriculture mapped with DroneDeploy represents only 1 -2 % of the industry. “We want to put a drone on every job site – we see having a birds’ eye view as fundamentally important,” says Winn. “But we’re right at the beginning of the s curve – we’ve got a ways to go before we get there.”
DroneDeploy’s thought leaders see two barriers to widespread enterprise adoption – and they aren’t about regulation. Winn says that the drone industry needs to develop towards complete solutions and complete autonomy in order to “cross the chasm” between the early adopters and a drone on every job site, making the data more useful and the whole process easier. DroneDeploy’s VP of Product Development, Matt Hunter, says that the entire ecosystem is changing to support that: “Drone hardware, processing power, and AI are all developing so rapidly – that development enables the growth of the industry. The conditions are right.”
When the scale of industry adoption increases, DroneDeploy will be ready. They’re moving towards enabling larger teams, larger and more sophisticated projects, deeper integrations and customizations. “We want the rate of innovation at DroneDeploy to exceed the rate of change in the drone industry,” says Nick Pilkington, DroneDeploy CTO.
DroneDeploy describes their new features:
1. Projects automatically groups drone data and reports by location. They make it easier to plan flights, process maps, and most importantly, analyze and share data. Projects come with a host of new platform capabilities including reusable flight templates and the ability to leverage recent drone maps as the planning layer for future flights. Projects also include a significant advancement called Map Alignment, that automatically aligns maps of the same location. The new UI paired with Map Alignment reduces the complexity of producing accurate maps and comparing changes throughout the project lifecycle—such as stockpile volumes or building progress—saving teams time in the field and the office.
2. Analytics AI Suite includes three new artificial intelligence features. “Ground Control AI” pinpoints Ground Control Points (GCPs) 20x faster and is 2x more accurate than manual selection. “Count AI” counts cars, trees, livestock, and other objects automatically. “Stockpile AI” scans terrain and automatically identifies stockpiles of all shapes, sizes, colors, and surface materials—eliminating hours of manual analysis on a large site map.
3. New Procore & Construction Integrations take advantage of the industry’s leading Software Development Kit. The new Procore app includes a customizable transfer tool that automatically syncs maps, photos, drawings, and design files between Procore and DroneDeploy projects. The bi-directional sync ensures the latest drawings update across all maps—and thanks to Map Alignment, they always line up. Support for other file formats will be coming soon including DXF and AutoCAD DWG. The DroneDeploy Autodesk BIM360 App capabilities will also be improved and ship in early December.
These are enterprise improvements that DroneDeploy’s customers are excited to see. They reduce the manual work, they improve access to data and they enable greater insights. Most importantly, they indicate the direction that DroneDeploy sees the industry moving.
“What we are trying to do is to add a new level of analysis,” says Pilkington. “It may looks like a sci fi future sometimes, but its coming very rapidly.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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