Drones allow you to take spectacular photos and videos from the air, with the images and videos providing a wealth of information. They caught onto this quickly at Droneview. The Leeuwarden-based company takes measurements and performs inspections from the air, and with algorithms developed in-house, the data they obtain is processed automatically into ready-to-use information for their clients. For those calculations and to exchange data, Droneview utilises the UbiOps platform.
“We work with large files that require a substantial amount of computing power and we need to exchange this data with clients. This can all be done smoothly and securely using the UbiOps platform.” Rahul Westerhoff, co-owner of Droneview
Westerhoff was one of the founding members in 2012, when drone photography and filming was still in its early stages. Not only has the technology of drones and cameras evolved since then, Droneview has also started using digitisation and Artificial Intelligence. These have expanded the services considerably – and the same is true for the added value for customers.
Measurements and inspections
The Frisian company is investing heavily in AI solutions that enable new applications and solutions that increase quality and save time with the benefits extending to clients.
“Initially, we mainly took photos and videos for marketing purposes. Soon, we started to take measurements and perform inspections too. We do these tasks on behalf of owners, engineering firms and inspection companies,” says Rahul.
These include bridges, solar parks, high-voltage pylons, pipelines, crops, real estate and wind turbines – both onshore and off. Droneview uses geo mapping and 3D scanning to do these tasks. “We also started processing the data we collected. We bring the data to life by making clear analyses and inspection reports. This means that the data can be interpreted properly.”
Large image files
This is what Droneview does for BAM Wonen and others. “For example, for renovation projects we make large scans of housing blocks across the country. We produce so-called ‘point clouds’ based on the images: high-resolution 3D scans that BAM employees can process with their drawing programs, like the much-used Revit.”
“We got in touch with UbiOps through BAM in 2021,” explains Rahul. “UbiOps is a fantastic company and great to work with. We use their platform for our image recognition algorithms. It enables us to take advantage of the fast GPU processing power that we need to run our algorithms in an on-demand environment. We calculated that the time-to-market is eight times faster thanks to UbiOps.”
“These are large image files after all. Consequently, processing them involves handling large amounts of data. This data is instantly accessible to BAM thanks to UbiOps’ platform. And potentially to the co-creators we work with as well,” says Rahul. “But it’s secure: they can’t do anything with the algorithms, and third parties have no access at all.”
Down to the millimeter
Algorithms developed by Droneview can be used to examine parts of homes from point clouds. “Among other things, window frames, doors and façade parts can be recognised and measured. With these, BAM can get measurements of those parts down to the millimeter. This means they no longer need to be measured manually.”
Factories can use these measurements to produce those parts in the right dimensions. This saves BAM a substantial amount of time and work. “Flying was already accelerating the process. For example, where a static measurement from the ground up for a project used to take ten days, we can now do it in just one or two. The algorithm accelerates data processing. The next step could potentially be to use the data directly in factory robotics.”
“UbiOps is not just important because of their platform; they also help us to properly implement our algorithms in their environment – which are now running eight times faster than what we could do ourselves – and to make the data available in other systems. They are helpful and think along with us..”
“ This is not only true of how they apply their own expertise, but organisationally and commercially too, e.g. how we can offer our services more broadly, both to new customers and potentially parties from their network. The level of exchange is fantastic.”Meanwhile, technology is continuing to advance. For instance, Droneview and BAM have also jointly devised an application and corresponding algorithm for roofs: the system automatically indicates anomalies on the scans, like missing or damaged roof tiles.
Rahul anticipates Droneview growing further in the coming years: “These kinds of algorithms and services are widely applicable in the construction industry. BAM may want to do more with it too. We’re mustering forces for this, with UbiOps’ facilities and support.”
The necessary computing power is easily scalable using the UbiOps platform too. If Droneview’s models are used more and more by an increase in applications, Rahul is certain they can continue at the same rate.