FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

IMGING & Drone Inspections

IMGING™ is an insurance-specific solution for automating drone-based property inspections and streamlining insurance workflows. It consists of drone hardware that is controlled by web and mobile software and is built on a cloud infrastructure for data processing, storage and transport. IMGING software (web and mobile) handles things like job creation and management, flight planning and the generation of inspection reports. The IMGING mobile app also executes autonomous inspections on site. IMGING feeds the results of these inspections directly into underwriting and claims workflows to allow insurance companies to make better decisions, faster.

 

No. IMGING is a toolset that insurance companies, independent adjusters, and contractors use to greatly simplify property inspections. Many of our partners are drone service providers that use IMGING in the course of their routine activities. If you’re looking for help with drone service providers, we can help

 

The IMGING app is used to create an autonomous flight plan based upon inputs from the operator (for example, what portions of a roof to scan and what obstructions to avoid). Once defined, the app builds the flight plan, connects to DJI drones through DJI’s LightBridge protocol and controls it throughout the flight until completion or unless the operator initiates manual flight mode.

Currently, IMGING is designed to work with DJI drones, and in particularly the Phantom 4 Pro, the Inspire 2, and the Mavic Pro. Each drone has different capabilities and price points, but all of them are ideally suited to the job of collecting roof and property data quickly and economically. See our product page for more information about each to help you determine which is best for you.
Many modern drones are equipped with a host of sensors, global positioning systems, and independently controllable sensor packages (including optical cameras). These object avoidance features let them orient themselves with their surroundings to help them avoid trees, buildings, or other objects. Using that technology plus the IMGING app and a tablet, you can define the property areas and set flight paths for a drone to follow. Using its GPS, sensors, camera, and the flight path defined by the IMGING app, the drone will autonomously fly over a property while gathering images that are automatically stitched into detailed 2D and 3D composite images you can review, annotate, and even share with policyholders.
While we’ve see a drone inspection happen in as little as 5 minutes, the average drone inspection will last about 20 minutes, from arrival to departure.
IMGING-powered drones capture images of roofs and properties with four types of scans. With these scans, IMGING creates 2D and 3D models of properties with extreme detail.
IMGING uses a patents-pending flight control system to gather 1/10th centimeter-squared resolution using economical DJI hardware. This means that the average pixel from an IMGING detail scan represents an area smaller than 1/10th of a square centimeter.

Yes. In the field, the IMGING app needs to retrieve job details and flight plans from the IMGING server, as well as report on job completion. This means that each tablet must have cellular connectivity.

Regulatory and Compliance

Legally speaking, you don’t need to be a licensed pilot to fly a drone for commercial application (unless you are operating under a Part 333 exemption). FAA regulations do require that commercial drone operators pass a certification exam and earn a remote pilot airman certificate while also following a handful of regulations. See the question on regulations below.
Until August of 2016, commercial drone flights were regulated by Federal Aviation Administration Regulation CFR 14, Section 333, which required drone operators to be licensed pilots. Pilots also had to submit a request for a special exemption that would legally allow them to fly. Luckily, regulations loosened when Section 333 was updated by CFR 14, Part 107 (commonly called Part 107). To comply with Part 107, a pilot must:
  • Be over the age of 16
  • Obtain a remote pilot airman certificate
  • Keep a UAV within your line of sight
  • Maintain control over UAV operations
  • Keep UAVs out of no-fly zones and controlled airspace
  • Conduct pre-flight checks and ensure adequate maintenance
  • Fly a UAV that is under 55 lbs. including cargo
  • Fly at or under 100 mph
  • Fly only during daylight or twilight
  • Fly no higher than 400 feet or within 400 feet of a structure
  • Respect privacy
Drones have caused some controversy in recent years because of their ability to remotely shoot video and take photos in places where they might not belong. As with any technology, responsible use is key. For insurance inspections, we recommend getting a policyholder’s signature to approve inspections. Additionally, it’s courteous to inform nearby neighbors that a drone will be flying to conduct an insurance inspection, just so they’re aware that it’s not being flown with any malicious intent.
As with any vehicle, there is a small risk of injuring someone or damaging property, though as we noted in the previous section, these risks are minimal. Some insurance companies like Verifly have even begun offering drone-specific insurance policies with liability and vehicle damage coverage. Learn more about Verifly here.
While many drones are physically able to go higher, FAA regulations say a drone can be flown 400 ft. above the ground or 400 ft. above a building above which it is flying.