Drones on their own are not much more than flying machines. But mix a drone with an app and things start to get interesting. This explains why DroneDeploy launched the DroneDeploy App Market and why DJI and DroneSAR have teamed up in their efforts to save lifes.
This November DroneDeploy announced the launch of a special place to sell and buy applications used in conjunction with drones. We’ve seen the number of programs (apps) grow in recent months, so it is only natural to see something like the DroneDeploy App Market.
DroneDeploy and SLANTRANGE demonstrated at the Commercial UAV Expo how the new “GeoTIFF Upload” feature allows complete SLANTRANGE maps to be directly uploaded to a user’s DroneDeploy account. As Michael Ritter, CEO of SLANTRANGE, said then, “The ability to couple the power of DroneDeploy’s cloud-based solutions with our local processing and analytics will provide a unique set of capabilities to agricultural drone operators across the globe. We’re excited to launch our first app on the DroneDeploy app store and look forward to expanding the capabilities over time.”
That partnership was just the beginning, as DroneDeploy announced the launch of the App Market during the DroneDeploy Conference, making it the first drone industry app store. The new DroneDeploy App Market launched with more than 15 inaugural apps, and offers third-party developers access to the largest dataset in the world of drone 2D maps and 3D models to help solve business challenges.
“Businesses have been asking for a more seamless integration of drone data into their workflows, and third-parties have been looking to develop solutions for our global community,” said Mike Winn, CEO and co-founder of DroneDeploy. “The DroneDeploy App Market offers one-click integrations with companies like Box and John Deere, a huge step in enabling commercial drone users.”
The introduction of the App Market on the DroneDeploy platform creates a one-stop shop for all aspects of cloud-based drone data analysis. Users can now extend the power of DroneDeploy by leveraging third-party apps within their DroneDeploy interface on the web and mobile devices (iOS and Android).
“We’re really excited to be a part of the growing drone ecosystem,” stated Ross McKegney, Platform Director at Box. “Our partnership with DroneDeploy enables us to help our customers better leverage drone data for their business.”
According to PwC, the emerging global market for businesses using drones is expected to top $127 billion by 2020. One company that has benefited from the drone industry’s exponential growth is FAA Part 107 certified drone service provider company, Bon Air Drone. As a result of its emphasis on accuracy, in just over a year the company has grown to four locations and has been awarded large contracts in the mining and surveying industries.
“As a daily user of DroneDeploy for aerial imagery, I’m very excited to see the launch of the app store and all the new applications,” said Shelly Engel, co-owner of Bon Air Drone. “Their customizable platform is a real game changer in the drone industry.”
A new market for developers
Drone Deploy App Market represents not only the possibility of access to the world’s largest dataset of drone imagery, it also creates new opportunities for developers. In fact, DroneDeploy’s 10,000+ users across 135 countries have mapped over 8 million acres, larger than the country of Belgium, creating the world’s largest dataset of drone maps and 3D models. Now, for the first time in the commercial drone industry, developers will be able to monetize and easily distribute their apps within a drone data platform. Third-party, integrated apps will accelerate innovation within the industry.
The inaugural apps enable a diversity of functions: file sharing with Box, importing field boundaries from MyJohnDeere, exporting data to Autodesk, 3D printing of drone maps with WhiteClouds, on-demand flight insurance with Verifly and more. Other apps include a flight compliance app from AirMap; a roof inspection app from EZ3D; flight logging apps from DroneLogbook, Flyte, Kittyhawk, NVdrones and Skyward; and agriculture apps from Aglytix, AgriSens, Birds.ai, Skymatics, SLANTRANGE and TensorFlight.
According to Nicholas Pilkington, DroneDeploy’s CTO and co-founder, “Until now, DroneDeploy has focused primarily on solving core challenges in the drone space around flight, data collection, processing and analysis. Now we are opening up our stack so that developers can use these technologies themselves, and can focus on building specific solutions within their domain expertise without having to reinvent the wheel.”
Follow the link for full developer documentation for companies wanting to leverage DroneDeploy APIs to build and distribute apps.
User can begin downloading integrated drone apps now. The DroneDeploy App Market features free and paid apps. Pricing models for paid apps vary upon the app, from per acre for agriculture apps to per report for roof inspection apps. Once added to an account, the new app will appear integrated within the relevant location within the DroneDeploy interface on the web and mobile. For example, if an agriculture app is installed, it may only be visible when viewing the Plant Health data layer and not within other sections of the DroneDeploy interface. To see the full list of new apps visit the DroneDeploy App Market.
Apps and drones to save lives
Another example of how drones can become that much improved with apps comes from DJI and DroneSAR. Both companies announced a new search and rescue app that seamlessly integrates a drone’s unique aerial perspective on life-and-death searches into incident management software. It will ensure rescue crews can use drones effectively to save lives.
DroneSAR, the Irish tech start-up revolutionizing the search and rescue industry, says its app can stream live images and video, from a regular or thermal imaging camera, to an incident command center as well as other rescue teams on the ground. The software can tag the GPS coordinates of a victim and automatically transmit them by email or SMS, enabling ground crews to reach victims more quickly. Completed search patterns are all recorded and logged for easy handover to oncoming rescue crews.
The app takes into account various types of terrain, allowing the drone to fly patterns to survey an area faster and more effectively. Flight paths can be adjusted for any terrain including hills, mountains, trees or flat land. The software allows users to choose an automatic aerial search pattern based on variables such as altitude, field of view, battery life and probability of detection. By organizing the process of data collection and providing a framework to manage and analyze it, DroneSAR ensures drones can be used methodically as part of a rescue protocol, allowing personnel to work more safely and effectively.
“From understanding on how to use the technology, to communicating findings and data, to figuring out the most appropriate tactical approach, first responders can benefit greatly from this software app on our DJI hardware,” said Romeo Durscher, Director of Education at DJI. “Many of the tasks and strategies deployed during a search and rescue operation can get sped up with automation, helping to reduce the time it takes to find a victim and save lives.”
The first-of-its-kind software was developed based on research done by DJI in conjunction with the European Emergency Number Association and Ireland’s Donegal Mountain Search and Rescue team. The groups found that while a five-person rescue team on foot needs an average of two hours to find a victim in one square kilometer, a drone can do the job in 20 minutes or less while taking additional active steps to achieve a successful rescue.
“Our aim is to save lives,” said Oisin McGrath, Co-Founder and CEO of DroneSAR. “Our software will reduce risk to search teams and reduce search time. If we can save just one life, that is mission success for us at DroneSAR.”