Energy and Infrastructure Inspection

Whether you are inspecting bridges and rail, or windmills and oil pipelines, InterDrone’s 60-minute inspection sessions and panels will put you on the path to mastery. Featuring two sub tracks, Energy and Infrastructure, content will offer real-world use cases and experiences while teaching the tools, tips and techniques for operating drones in this burgeoning space.


Tuesday, September 4th

Pre-Conference Workshop: Part 107 Training

Full-Day Workshop

11:00 AM – 5:30 PM

All

Speakers: Enrico Schaefer, Tony Sauerbrey

This all-day training session will focus on the essential areas to study for the Part 107 Knowledge Test. Course content and objectives will include Part 107 rules and regulations, aeronautical charts, weather patterns and National Airspace System (NAS), as well as eligibility requirements to be able to take the FAA written knowledge test.

This session will cover more than just the fine details of what you need to know for the Knowledge Test, but also provide you with insight on how to think and operate like a professional commercial drone pilot and provide you with everyday examples that remote pilots may encounter when out performing commercial flight operations for themselves or their clients. This session will be a comprehensive overview to assist you with preparation for taking the Part 107 Knowledge Test and think about the next steps beyond the Knowledge Test.

THOSE OTHER TOPS/TIPS TO INCLUDE:

• Following policies and practices such as pre-flight and post-flight checklist for every drone flight operations

• Online test prep resources (handout)

• Industry Standards

• FAA Past Practices and the direction they are moving forward with

YOU WILL WALK AWAY WITH KNOWLEDGE REGARDING:

• Understanding Part 107 Regulations

• Understanding and identifying the various classes of controlled, uncontrolled, and Special Use airspace.

• An understanding of how to read and interpret aeronautical chart symbology.

• Planning methods to translate a location on street/satellite maps into an aeronautical chart.

• Understanding of Aeronautical Decision Making and human factors affecting safe flight.

• Understanding basic weather principles.

• Interpreting weather reports and forecasts.


Pre-Conference Workshop: Drone Startup 101: Finding Your Fortune in the Drone Industry

Half-Day Workshop

2:00 PM – 5:30 PM

All

Speakers: Allen Scott Beach, Andrea Beach

This half-day workshop will focus on helping you find success in the drone industry. We will cover everything from deciding what kind of business to start to sales, marketing and the top 5 checklist. We will help you simplify the process of starting and running a successful drone company, and discuss simple strategies such as: “Do what you know,” “There is nothing more important than sales” and “Be willing to throw out the status quo.” While no one can guarantee your success, what is guaranteed is that there’s no chance of success if you never begin.

OTHER TOPICS AND TIPS TO INCLUDE:

• Drone Opportunities Abound: Selecting what’s right for you.

• Trail Blazers: Learn from those that have gone before you.

• How to build a competitive advantage

• Marketing on a shoestring

• The hunt for start-up capital

YOU WILL WALK AWAY WITH:

• The key components of starting a drone business

• A myriad of viable options for drone start-ups

• An understanding of what it takes to be successful


Wednesday, September 5th

FAA Regulations: The Latest Outlook

Panel

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Christopher Korody

Speakers: Bill Goodwin, Lydia Hilton, Doug Johnson, Anthony Zakel

With a new administrator at the helm of the FAA, what has changed? What has stayed the same? What do you think should be addressed next and how do you express your views? This panel is designed as an open forum to ask questions to an esteemed lineup of lawmakers and legal experts as well as cover what you need to know to safely and legally fly your drone.


How to Prove Safety: Gaining BVLOS and Part 107 Waiver

Class

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: All

Speaker: Adam Robertson

This session will address the key ways to establish proof of safety in your drone program, and discuss how to achieve BVLOS for UAV and steps for securing a Part 107 Waiver. An autonomous drone revolution is underway to tap the economic potential of the vast and largely empty airspace overhead. Drones are already an indispensable part of the daily workflow in many industries, including search and rescue, construction, mining, agriculture, real estate and film making. Emerging UAV capabilities such as large infrastructure inspection, border patrol and package transport require safe beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) services to be economically viable. So, what’s the best solution to achieving BVLOS?

Many solutions claim to enable safer flight and detect-and-avoid capabilities; however, radar is proven to be a superior solution to help UAV and operators achieve BVLOS. The FAA has prioritized radar as the key technology for development in achieving optimal safety and security in the airspace. This talk will discuss key developments to radar solutions, including machine learning, AI, software enhancement for data mapping and more, all which can be deployed and applied to most any kind of drone.

The class will also outline the steps necessary to secure the critical Part 107 Waiver for operation in controlled airspace, helping companies to save time and resources on the process. While the FAA has attempted to streamline the application process through its DroneZone portal, there are some key things you will learn that can facilitate the process. The 107 Waiver allows for UAVs to operate at night, over people, flight from a moving vehicle or truck, operate multiple aircraft with a single pilot, fly beyond visual line of sight, flight above 400 feet, and fly near airports and other protected airspace.

You will walk away knowing how the use of radar and gaining a Part 107 Waiver can help unlock the many benefits that a world of drone commerce can offer.


Inspection-Worthy 3D Models Using Photogrammetry

Class

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Track: Inspection | Surveying and Mapping

Speaker: Ty Audronis

One of the biggest issues with photogrammetry and inspections is the lack of detail in 3D models. Inspection-grade photos require high resolution to identify small problems before they become big. This makes 3D models more of a value-add, and spawns the constant question, “cool model, but how can I use it?”

Current inspection methods (using the raw photos) lack context, and require engineers to spend precious time locating where inspection photos are in relationship to structures.

Using the right flight patterns, software, and processing techniques high-resolution/high detail models can be generated which not only offer context to inspection imagery; but can offer engineering firms the ability to show clients issues with their structures with accuracy, and turning a “value-add” into a revenue generator.

Additionally, with high resolution 3D models, side orthomosaics can be generated with immense detail for inspection, and documentation purposes (such as Local Law 11). With 100% of structure coverage (unlike current methodologies).

This presentation will outline the necessary flight patterns, and software processing techniques to generate inspection-worthy 3D models and side orthomosaics.


Partnerships and the Future of the Commercial Drone Industry Landscape

Panel

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Michael Blades

Speakers: Derek Lyons, Joshua Ziering, Jan Gasparic, Garrett Smith, Basil Yap

The commercial drone ecosystem is changing almost as rapidly as the technology that drives it. This panel will discuss, from both a US and global view, how the commercial drone services market has transitioned from a stove-piped development approach to a race to provide a one-stop shop for all-in-one services supporting various industries. However, not all partnerships are as beneficial as they seem while others hit solution services out the park. This panel will cover what these partnerships mean for the commercial drone ecosystem as well as the opportunities they may produce or possibly eliminate through their synergies.


Moving Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management Forward: The Current Landscape

Panel

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Jim Williams

Speakers: Biruk Abraham, Mark Aitken, Marke “Hoot” Gibson, Joseph Rios

In the first half of this 120-minute panel, the current landscape of UTM will be discussed from policy and regulatory standpoints. With programs like Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) rolling out, the path to flying quickly, legally and safely is becoming more streamlined. But what’s the state of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations? Where does UAS remote tracking and identification currently stand? This panel of industry-leading experts with discuss these topics as well as the reality of implementation and integration into our National Airspace System (NAS).


Moving Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management Forward: The Future Landscape

Panel

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Jim Williams

Speakers: Matt Fanelli, Ben Marcus, Paul McDuffee

The second half of this 120-minute panel will cover the path forward for UTM from a technical, real-world implementation standpoint. You will hear from the companies that are facilitating the advancement of UTM through their solutions and programs, and learn what resources are available to you now for flying quickly, legally and safely. The future vision for fully integrating drones into our National Airspace System (NAS) will also be discussed.


Drones and the Maritime Industry

Panel

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: Business | Public Safety | Inspection

Speaker: Sean Pribyl

Drones are becoming equally effective out at sea as they are flying above land. From more efficient and safer ship inspections to patrolling ports, search and rescue, monitoring hazards, sniffing out emissions and delivering essentials to vessels, the use cases are clear, but the laws for flying out at sea are different. This panel will will cover what and where is the crossroads of aviation and maritime jurisdictions; what does Part 107 cover for flying at sea, and what can and can’t you do flying over international waters?     


Harnessing the Power of Your Drone Data

Panel

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Colin Snow

Speakers: Amit Ganjoo, Marty Scholl

Drones gather a trove of information and data, but how do you turn that data into actionable business insights? From the collection process to analysis and decision making, this panel will cover the best ways to harness the data in your pipeline while increasing productivity and your bottom line. 


UAVs and Remote Sensing for the Green Industry: What to Know Before You Start

Class

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: Inspection | Surveying and Mapping

Speakers: Tim Haynie, Dan Staley

This session will explore the current drone and data processing technologies for their suitability and application in urban constructed landscapes for the green industry. You will receive a complete overview of what it takes to provide services for the green industry, including flying missions for tree assessments, plant health assessments, inventories, turfgrass monitoring, and utility corridor operations.

Opportunities are growing for UAV operations and data analysis in turfgrass management, detection of water stress in plants, detection of pests and decay in trees, inventories, utility vegetation management, measurements of area, slope, volume and length, plant health assessments, and bids for landscape maintenance are among the green industry needs that will soon require UAS and associated technologies. Examples from actual projects will be given, including large-scale remote sensing of urban forests with UASs and landscape health assessments.

• You will learn about specific green industry needs, including the types of flights needed for bid requirements, choosing a cloud-based platform or stand-alone data provider, and times of day to fly for vegetation assessments.

• You will learn details such as the need for flying very near trees for inspections and risk assessment, which vegetation indices to use for missions, and the pros and cons of different agriculture sensors for urban vegetation types.

• You will walk away from this class with the information necessary to make a decision on how (or whether) to offer their services to the green industry.


Thursday, September 6th

Managing Drone Data: Choosing the Right Data Service Provider

Class

8:45 AM – 9:45 AM

Track: Inspection | Surveying and Mapping | Construction, Aggregates and Mining | Precision Agriculture

Speaker: Colin Snow

Choosing a drone data service means choosing a trusted business partner. But with so many choices, it can be hard to know which one you should use. What advantage does one have over another? Unfortunately, the answers are not simple. A lot depends on your business model, your target market, what functions you need, and quite frankly how much you are willing to spend. The good news is the current wave of development and innovation in online drone data services is focused on mapping and analytic solutions that drone business service providers and enterprises can use to help solve real world problems – problems like infrastructure decay, crop yields, stockpile inaccuracies, improper construction sequencing, mining site logistics, etc. With that in mind, in this session I’ll outline the important criteria to help you evaluate the various web-based mapping and imaging services for drones.

In this session, you’ll learn:

• Who are the major providers and what’s their focus?

• How to determine the value of the services they provide?

• What questions should you be asking when comparing offerings?

• What’s the best way to integrating a service into your existing workflow so that it simplifies your operations and save costs?


Drones in Infrastructure Inspections: Best Practices, Lessons Learned and Everything You Want to Know for Safe Flight Operations

Class

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Track: Inspection

Speaker: Darshan Divakaran

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is responsible for all modes of transportation in North Carolina. NCDOT maintains one of the largest highway systems in the nation with nearly 80,000 miles of highway statewide. NCDOT is also responsible for more than 13,500 bridge and an additional 4,500 culverts and pipes. North Carolina has nearly 3,300 miles of mainline railroad track and approximately 5,000 crossings as well as 72 publicly-owned airports. All this infrastructure requires regular inspections to ensure safety and reduce delays. About four years ago, NCDOT established a UAS Program that has enabled the use of drones for inspections, which has not only been cost effective, but also saves time and enhances safety. As the UAS Program Engineer for NCDOT, the instructor’s responsibility is to ensure all drone operations are conducted safely as per federal and state regulations. If you are new to this industry or are interested in sharpening your skills, this class will definitely help guide you. This class will cover topics such as best practices, lessons learned, system limitations, data processing, and more.


Drones in Infrastructure Inspection: An End-User’s Perspective

Panel

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Track: Inspection

Speakers: Darshan Divakaran, Jennifer Wells, Paul Wheeler

This panel of end users will discuss use cases and real-world implementations for using drones in infrastructure inspection, including tunnels, bridges, roadways and railroads. Whether you are a drone service provider, bidding on a large-scale government contract, or flying for the US Department of Transportation (DOT), you will learn what you need to know from an end-user’s perspective for flying and inspecting essential infrastructure.


Drones in Energy Inspection: An End-User’s Perspective

Panel

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Track: Inspection

Speakers: Suzanne Lemieux, Patrick Saracco

The use case for flying drones for energy inspection is clear. They offer faster and safer problem resolution while inspecting anything from an oil & gas line to powerlines and nuclear energy and utility infrastructure. This panel will cover real-world perspectives as well as tips, tricks and beset practices for ensuring efficient and productive operations.


Drones in Infrastructure Inspection: Cutting-Edge Technology

Panel

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Track: Inspection

Moderator: TBD

Speakers: TBD

Drones have revolutionized infrastructure inspection. With cloud-based software solutions, sensors and aerial photography options at your fingertips, it’s a challenge to know what is going to fit your needs. This panel, comprised of leading UAV inspection vendors, will discuss the best equipment and data solutions today and well as discussing what will be coming to the market next.


Drones in Energy Inspection: Cutting-Edge Technology

Panel

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Track: Inspection

Moderator: Colin Snow

Speakers: Chris Fleming

UAVs offer improved preventive maintenance programs with safer and better inspection methods for energy, but how do you cut through the hype and ensure you are armed with the technology you need? This panel of industry-leading companies will discuss current and future solutions, and the ways your bottom line will be positively affected.


Growing Your Drone Service Business After Hours

After Hours

7:00 PM – 8:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Colin Snow

Speakers: Michael Singer

So you have your drone service business, but how do you grow it? Hear from those who have made it in the booming commercial drone service provider market during this special after hours event. Hear which market segments will take off next and where drone service providers are making the most impact and having the most success. Learn about the pitfalls, best practices, and the sure-fire ways of taking your drone business to the next level!


Friday, September 7th

Automated Workflows for Cell Tower Inspection and Their Benefits

Class

8:45 AM – 9:45 AM

Track: Inspection

Speaker: David Adjiashvili

Essentially all of the worlds’ 3+ million cell towers are inspected on an annual basis anywhere between one and ten times. These inspections are traditionally carried out by experienced climbers, or more recently by manual or semi-automatic drone based workflow.

Few noteworthy advantage of using drones in this market are dramatically increased safety, reduced costs and increased inspection quality. However, to achieve these advantages at scale, several steps of traditional drone based workflows need to be optimized.

This class offers a dive into automated workflow for inspecting cell towers that achieve the latter goals. The audience will learn how the three main step in a drone based workflow (data acquisition, 3D model reconstruction and model consumption) can be automated and streamlined to produce excellent and repeatable results at a dramatically lower cost than both climber-based and manual drone workflows.

Some of the concrete details that will be discussed:

1. Data Acquisition: How using a specialized flight planner for automated cell tower inspection improves the collected data quality (better coverage with fewer images), reduces the acquisition time on site and eliminates errors and the need for redos.

2. How photogrammetry based 3D model reconstruction can be used to present an intuitive interface to browse the collected data, perform visual inspections and more. Models of various types of towers will be shown (monopole, lattice etc.).

3. What automated tools exist to automatically consume the generated 3D model. This includes automatic antenna detection and labeling, corrosion detection and more.

Finally, the integration of all three step into a single easy to use streamlined workflow will be discussed and its importance will be demonstrated.


Do Drones Disturb Wildlife?

Panel

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: All

Moderator: David Bird

Speakers: Dr. David Johnston, Jeff Sloan

Drones are being embraced more and more by biologists and conservationists all over the world as a useful tool to count, detect, track and observe wildlife. However, not all agree with their use. Some feel that these sometimes noisy machines can pose a hazard to wildlife and they want their use curtailed through stricter regulations or even banned in some places. This panel, composed of experts using drones to study wildlife, will discuss the pros and cons of adopting these machines for this purpose and what steps we must take to make more effective use of the technology. During the discussion, you will also learn about the latest successes (and failures) in their use.   


Using Thermal Imaging Drones for Solar Farm Inspection

Class

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: Inspection

Speaker: Randall Warnas

As solar power remains the fastest-growing source of new energy in the world, it is understandable that using the most state-of-the-art technology to augment efficiencies is sought after by site management. Since 2014, drones have taken the world by storm providing a unique vantage point to collect data while securing lives and livelihoods within industry. After years of investigation and testing of drone systems to support or replace traditional methods of solar farm inspect; it is clear that drones allow for more frequent iterations, faster data acquisition, and greater accuracy than before.

This presentation will cover the basic considerations of operating drones commercially. Also, discuss the value of using thermal imaging drones for solar inspections. Then delve into the best practices in conducting drone-based solar inspections. This will include planning the inspection, collecting the best imagery, and creating deliverables that will drive the most value for site management and corporate teams.

With drones becoming more prevalent in the industry, this presentation would serve as a valuable forum for a public traded and well-respected company to deliver statistics and outcomes of using this technology.


Drones and the Power of Artificial Intelligence

Panel

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Miram McNabb

Speakers: Jaime Machuca

Drones and Artificial Intelligence seem to go hand in hand now, and it’s easy to see why. With computer vision technology capable of collision avoidance, and systems smart enough to learn and operate on behalf of the human operator, AI could be the conduit for safely and reliably integrating drones into our National Airspace System (NAS) and the path to expanding flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The use cases are endless as are the opportunities. Learn about them and more in this panel.


Case Study: How Drones, Data, and A.I. Redefine the Solar, Roofing, and Insurance Industries

Class

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM

Track: Inspection

Speaker: Justin Strong

This class will look at three real-world scenarios in which drones, A.I., and advanced deep learning tools are redefining how solar, roofing, and insurance professionals get their work done. He’ll discuss how these companies are using drone tech and how businesses of any size can implement drone programs that let them reap the tremendous benefits of aerial inspection technologies. Last, he’ll take a look at how these technologies will continue to improve, radically change the lives of professionals in those industries, and benefit your end customer.