Volo Pervidi – Drones for Surveying & Remote Sensing Practices
Volo Pervidi is comprised of professional engineers, surveyors, developers, construction managers, and finance professionals.
Q. Could you tell our readers a bit more about Volo Pervidi?
Volo Pervidi uses the latest technology to gather data and generate 3D orthomosiac photographs and to generate digital surface models and contours. We feel that aerial mapping from drone provides a safer more cost effective method of gathering the data then traditional ground based methods or through manned flight. Our flights are done at low altitude providing for high accuracy maps. We can obtain high resolution photos (2cm per pixel typical) with either a RGB or Near Infrared Cameras. There is also a ton of potential in Agriculture, Mining, Utilities, Forestry Management etc. It is truly a disruptive technology in how a lot of businesses currently operate. The sky is the limit……pun intended.
Our systems allow for quick deployment and minimal field time. We have performed several quality control checks of all the various platforms/system and they works extremely well. We flew several sites that we had surveyed by conventional ground based methods. We had excellent results that exceeded our own expectations and in fact generated more accurate maps due to the amount of data.
Q. What made you decide to begin using drones, and how does this benefit your surveying operations for you and your customers?
In 2010 we were exploring various ways to map vegetative areas specifically under forest canopies along the Rio Grande for another business idea that we were entertaining. In the research we identified a lot of market segments that could be serviced with the use of drones and realized the gap between conventional on the ground methods and manned aircraft methods.
Q. Your FAA paperwork indicated you will be using the senseFly eBee and DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ , what made these the right choices for your business?
The eBee is a very versatile platform in what it could accomplish and at the time it’s price point was half of the other systems we were looking into. A lot of the decision had to do with capital requirements. The light weight and portability was also a huge plus as it is easy to transport on a plane to service a larger market. Their partnership with Pix4d for their software of Postflight Terra also provided a turnkey solution with all support inquiries handled by the same team.
The phantom 2 Vision+ was more for discovering the modeling capabilities that could be handled with it to supplement the eBee, there can still be quite a bit of error based on the barrel distortion of the lens. We have numerous other systems that we are in the process of filing amendments to our 333 for. These systems include a few fixed wing as well as multi-rotor platforms and will really round out what we are able to offer.
Q. Are there certain types of missions each of these drones is best suited for?
The eBee, or fixed wing aircraft, for that matter are really suited for large acreage projects. We will use them on smaller projects as well given there is adequate landing area. Multi-rotors are ideal for areas of mapping that have more constrained areas in terms of takeoff/landing or when site constraints require actual piloting of the craft in lieu of autopilot. With the FAA requirements multi-rotors are really good at capturing all required data without leaving the boundary of the property, on private property in an urban setting this is an absolute must.
Q. What advice would you give to other businesses like yours in terms of how to get involved with drones and include them as part of their business operations?
Just call me to do the work 😉 Many people think that it is just as simple as buy a drone and fly it. They need to be aware, research, and understand a plethora of items including but not limited to; FAA items, insurance requirements, pilot requirements, software requirements, processing times and bottle necks. Also it is important to remember that these are complex machines and take a lot of understanding to use properly especially if you want to be able to maintain and service them in house in lieu of shipping out and waiting weeks for a system to be returned.
Q. Can businesses like yours afford to run without drones today?
My business specializes in remote sensing to supplement existing practices and methods so my business could not. Most of what we are offering are supplemental in nature to existing products.
Q. Are there limitations in drone regulations, or technologies, that you are hoping to see eliminated in order to extend your business further?
There are people who are calling for almost complete deregulation which I think would hurt the industry more than help it, I do believe that some licensing and registration should be required but do not believe a pilot’s license (as they are issued now) is necessary. I mean do I really need to know how to land in a Cessna to operate a sUAS that is under 55lbs.
Another problem is drones of all shapes and sizes have been lumped into one broad category, which is probably the most inefficient and ineffective way to safely regulate operations. There needs to be multiple classes of licensing based on a variety of factors including but not limited to operational limits (i.e. beyond line of sight, over populated areas etc), craft size and weight, payload, etc. I believe we will see this eventually the problem is the snail’s pace at which bureaucracy moves these days.
There is nothing more frustrating than saying I cannot operate over a populated area, however someone in a manned aircraft can operate over a populated area to perform the same work. The manned aircraft has a fuselage and weighs 100-1000 times more than the systems we use, from a risk based strategy it doesn’t make any sense to prohibit the flights of one yet allow the other.