Mobile Hardware (must be LTE-enabled)
IMGING® is an inspection platform that helps roofers, solar pros, adjusters, insurance carriers, and other inspection professionals gather and analyze roof and property information. It automates drone-based image capture, organizes ground and drone photos, provides measurements, and aids data analysis with AI and deep learning tools simple enough for anyone to use.
No. IMGING is a toolset that insurance companies, independent adjusters, and contractors use to greatly simplify property inspections. IMGING On Demand, however, is our inspection service. You can get more information about that here.
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.
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 seen a drone inspection happen in as little as 5 minutes, the average drone inspection will last about 10 minutes, from arrival to departure.
IMGING-powered drones capture images of roofs and properties with several 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 mobile device must have cellular connectivity.
Put simply, computer vision allows a machine to see and understand things the way people do. This tech lets a computer gather data through sensors, cameras, and other data capture tools, then with the help of AI and deep learning, use that information to come to some sort of conclusion. For instance, the system could take a photo of a car and using pattern recognition, understand that the image is of a car. This technology, combined with AI and Deep Learning, allows a drone-based data capture solution to find objects, damage, and more, all by itself.
To put it simply, artificial intelligence is exactly what it sounds like: intelligence demonstrated by a machine. With AI, a machine is carrying out a complex task or calculation and mimicking cognitive thought. A simple example of AI would be a computer playing chess.
Machine learning is a sub-discipline of artificial intelligence. With machine learning, a computer can gather data and use it as part of a larger, digital neural network; a computer can “learn” as it gathers more information. This is the next level of AI, because we’re not just programming a computer to carry out a complex task that appears smart, we’re creating a system where any new data the system gathers actually makes it smarter.
Deep learning is a specific approach to machine learning. With this approach, artificial intelligence is focused on solving problems. Basically, you’re building a computer system that can make decisions. At its core, deep learning involves providing a computer system with lots of data. Collected together, this data allows the computer to make decisions about other data. And so, you’re giving a computer the ability to interpret patterns and identify “things” (e.g. is this or is this not a hail hit). Deep Learning requires specific systems, workflows, and approaches to allow a computer to make recommendations about data.
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.
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. Check with your insurance carrier for info about a drone policy.
The terms Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and drones are nearly synonymous. Both refer to aerial vehicles that are either flown remotely, or use autonomous technology to fly themselves. This can include everything from small copter-style UAVs to the large Predator drones the military uses. The term Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) includes UAVs and drones, and refers to all of the components that allow a UAV to fly, including controllers, communication methods, and the vehicle itself.
Drones are safe when they are flown by a capable drone operator who follows established safety protocols and the manufacturer’s operational instructions. Many modern drones are built to be easy for anyone to fly and have various fail-safes built into them. Sensors, battery monitors, and return-to-home technology ensure that drones can avoid collisions and autonomously return back to the pilot when the battery gets low, which greatly minimizes the risk of them causing any damage.
Even still, drones are aerial vehicles and there are certain risks such as mid-air collisions with buildings and other aircraft, crash landings, and so on. But when a pilot relies on quality drone technology and carefully follows safety procedures and regulations, these risks are greatly reduced.
Drone technology has improved very quickly in the last five years, making many excellent drone models available to hobbyists and businesses on a budget. The DJI drones we recommend using with IMGING cost as little as $1500, but there are high endurance, heavy-payload and custom drones that can quickly rise beyond $25,000.
Modern drones are built with sophisticated IMUs and Autopilot technology that vastly simplify their control. Typically, drones can hover in a stable position, resist winds and avoid collision with objects and buildings all on their own. Because of all the sensors and complex positioning systems, drones are easy enough for just about anyone to pilot. The average person can learn to fly a drone in just a few hours, though to be skilled will take a bit longer. Best of all, drones are a blast to fly.
Modern drones have their roots in military but today are used in a wide range of applications in industries like advertising, real estate, film, mining, agriculture, law enforcement and insurance.
Most modern drones must communicate with a controller or mobile device (tablet or smartphone) in order to function. Most drone flight applications will give you a status bar indicating the strength of the communication signal and even warn you when the drone is about to go out of range. If it does, many drones have GPS systems that will allow them to return back to the pilot even if it can’t communicate with the controller. Noteworthy, as well, is that according to US CFR 14, Part 107, commercial drone flights, drones must stay within the pilot’s line of sight unless the operator holds an FAA waiver for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations.
Drones are an awesome fit for roof and property inspections. The last few years have seen the rise of some impressive drone technologies. Given their ease of use, their ability to gather excellent roof and property data quickly, and the fact that they keep adjusters safe on the ground, drones are a great solution for the insurance industry.
Depending on the model and flight behavior, drones can fly anywhere from a couple of minutes to a few hours—though most commercial drones are limited to less than 30 minutes. Military drones can even be in the air for days at a time and some experimental drones are intended to stay aloft indefinitely. The drones we offer have flight times around 27 minutes.
Climbing on a roof for estimates can pose some safety risks, and it’s also no longer the quickest way to gather measurements and analyze damage for an estimate. Using drone technology and deep learning, roofing estimators can inspect a roof, view ultra-high-resolution images of materials and damage, and even build highly polished estimates they can share with customers. With more detailed information, roofers can build more trust with customers while also proving their expertise.
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