What is the Property Drone Consortium?
The Property Drone Consortium represents a collaboration among insurance carriers, construction industry leaders and supporting enterprises who have agreed to work together to promote research, development and the assessment of regulations for the use of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology across the insurance and construction industries.
PDC is the only consortium of insurance and related organizations with a focus on the use of sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft Systems) for safe, close-up inspection of properties and structures for underwriting, estimating and claims; and has partnerships with federal agencies, municipalities, and emergency management and response for use in post-catastrophe conditions.
Goals of Consortium:
- Leverage joint funding to research and assess the capabilities of sUAS and various sensors to provide PDC members with the data and training necessary to understand the potential for use in their industry workflows, and to develop its own products and services relating to close property and structural inspection. This effort includes identification and utilization of test ranges and target materials understanding which sensors are viable for all forms of data capture from handheld to manned aircraft platforms
- Review regulatory and legislative activity, facilitate regulatory approval for the use of UAS for PDC members, and provide education to members on the current and ever changing regulatory and legislative environment relevant to operating limitations, privacy issues, and other related issues
- Educate government and industry decision makers about the Property Drone Consortium, and its positions on the commercial use of UASReview regulatory and legislative activity, facilitate regulatory approval for the use of UAS for PDC members, and provide education to members on the current and ever changing regulatory and legislative environment relevant to operating limitations, privacy issues, and other related issues
Benefits of UAS for Property Drone Consortium Members:
UAS are useful for insurance, construction, and across a variety of industries focusing on structural inspection (i.e., utilities inspecting pipeline corridor areas) – reducing or eliminating the need for human inspection in hostile environments or in dangerous climbing conditions. UAS can more safely, quickly, and at far lower cost review large areas for up-close site surveys. UAS can provide rapid coverage – sometimes in a matter of hours compared to days for a team of inspectors – for damage assessment, condition and maintenance requirements – particularly in the event of post-catastrophic conditions where access issues and hazardous operating conditions increase the risk of injury or death for inspectors. For residential and commercial structures, UAS can readily be used for detailed imaging, assessment of roof condition, dimensions, damage, pitch, shade verification, etc., reducing or eliminating the need for an inspector to climb a roof, risking an accident or even death. In the case of post-catastrophic events UAS can speed the process of inspection, damage assessment, and enable quick settlement of claims for distressed homeowners.
Close-up inspection by a variety of UAS mounted sensors (i.e., thermal, IR, etc.) can provide information not evident from standard RGB sensors. For example, a UAS with a thermal imaging camera can quickly cover a large area and detect malfunctioning panels based on their heat signature. UAS is a new tool in a user’s data capture repository. It is a fusion with ground, manned and space data capture. PDC provides users of all types an understanding that drones can augment the essential work currently being performed by other forms of image technology capture.
The Property Drone Consortium in Action:
The Property Drone Consortium has successfully acquired FAA 333 exemptions on behalf of its members for commercial use of sUAS platforms for close-up inspection and image capture of property structures. It has represented its members in numerous industry associations and conferences, as well as in meetings with numerous federal offices, including the FAA Drone Advisory Committee, the National Telecommunications and Information Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Office of Informational and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the U.S. Executive Branch.
The PDC is working closely with Rochester Institute of Technology and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) Research Center in a groundbreaking research effort that focuses on the collection and processing of sUAS imagery for roof damage detection.
It is also signed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRDA) to develop best practices for use of sUAS by first responders in post-catastrophe situations.
Multiple Public Private Partnerships are also in process, with the first signed by Marion Country, Kansas to test the use of sUAS for post-catastrophe image capture.