WATCH: DJI drone with zoom camera used for inspection work
An aerial photography business is using drones – supplied by DJI Gold Partner Heliguy – to carry out important inspection work and is benefiting from enhanced safety, increased efficiency and reduced costs.
Quayle Industries is utilising the DJI M210 Series V2 with the DJI Zenmuse Z30 zoom payload, as well as the X4S and X5S imaging cameras, for a range of jobs, including roof surveys, power-cable checks and site-progress monitoring.
This has proved to be a highly-effective solution for the company. For instance, check out this video which shows the capabilities of the Z30 when integrated with the M210 V2.
This video was taken by Quayle Industries during a shoreline survey to ascertain erosion and high-tide marks along a stretch of Essex coastline.
Quinton Quayle, founder of Quayle Industries, said: “The zoom camera helped by allowing me to quickly see what the state of the coastline was from a distance, which meant I could focus on the sections it highlighted rather than surveying the whole section to find the areas of interest. This saved time and made me more efficient.”
The Nottingham-based company, which serves businesses and individuals across the UK, has turned to Heliguy as its preferred supplier, describing us as a company which provides all of the necessary support and services.
As one of DJI’s largest and trusted European enterprise channel partners, Heliguy has been able to arm Quayle Industries with high-tech drones and payloads to help the company carry out its work quicker, easier and safer than traditional methods – keeping people away from potentially dangerous situations, accessing hard-to-reach areas and providing unique viewpoints.
Quinton also completed his Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) training course with Heliguy.
Heliguy Insider caught up with Quinton to find out more about how Quayle Industries is benefiting from using the DJI M210 Series V2, integrated with the DJI Zenmuse Z30, X4S and X5S payloads.
Using Drones For Surveys and Inspections
Quayle Industries has a team of Civil Aviation Authority-approved drone pilots and the team uses the M210 V2 for a range of survey and inspection work on roofs, UK power networks, wind turbines and solar farms – helping to provide outstanding visuals, improve safety and trim costs.
For example, Quayle Industries used the M210 V2 with the Z30 for this roof survey below. The image on the left shows the view from the drone, high above the building, while the second is a crystal clear picture of two of the chimneys, as captured using the zoom.
This method has numerous advantages. Firstly, the inspection can be completed without having to send team members onto the roof, improving safety.
It is also a great timesaver, as the information can be collected far quicker with a drone than by someone having to climb onto the top of the building to inspect the scene. This also helps with cost.
And while this technique is time-effective, it does not scrimp on quality, as the Z30 picks up every detail of the two chimneys, which in turn helps with the inspection.
The Z30 is an integrated aerial camera with an optical zoom up to 30x and digital up to 6x, for a total magnification up to 180x. Here is another video, from Quayle Industries, showing the power of the Z30.
Quinton said: “If you need an asset inspection, then drones can take high-definition photos which show you the condition of the property. This is perfect for roofs and other hard-to-access areas.
“We supply high-definition photographs or 4k videos of any infrastructure that needs to be checked for damage. By using a drone, you negate the need for elevated work platforms or scaffolding, reducing costs, time and most importantly, risk.
“For roof inspections, you will be able to see if there are broken tiles, the build-up of moss or other damage. After the repair has been carried an aerial inspection will show if the repair has been carried out correctly.”
Such benefits are also true when it comes to power-line inspections.
Quinton said: “The quality of images captured using a drone far surpasses what was previously produced with a camera or smartphone from the ground. I have recently gained my own OSC (Operating Safety Case), which now allows me, with observers, to do a 3km section in each pass, which has sped up the surveying process greatly.
“The other major plus point for drone use on this type of task is where you get sites where the power-line passes over an area which is hard to reach on foot. This could be due to the area being surrounded by obstacles, such as canals and rail lines, or where the land has other restrictions. Using a drone in this situation is a lifesaver and saves a lot of time and effort.”
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) OSC allows commercial drone operators in the UK to apply for an annual exemption to the standard permission that allows them to operate outside the limitations of their standard PfCO.
Using Drones For Land And Property Development
Quinton has also used the drone to capture images for land and property development, on behalf of architects, builders and property developers.
One example of this is seen below, with the company providing before and after pictures of a garden refurbishment. The X4S or X5S are ideal for this type of image, as they provide high-quality images.
Providing progress reports from the air is a valuable technique, carried out across a range of industries, including construction.
These pictures give you a snapshot of the whole site and allow you to keep tabs on how the project is moving forward, check for any mistakes and provide a visual guide to easily inform stakeholders and clients of progress.
Quinton said: “Aerial photography using drones can help at the start of a project, so you have a clear view of the plot you are planning to build on and surrounding areas.
“This can help with planning applications before the build starts. We can even make progression video for property developers; these are a great way of promoting the development as work is taking place for your website or social media and for keeping a check on the progress of the project and spotting any mistakes.”
Quinton is also finding that drones can help to promote a property or development, capturing views which you could not achieve using traditional methods.
He added: “This is a service favoured by estate agents, taking images of a house, the gardens and the whole estate from angles unachievable using normal photography. Pictures taken by a drone can set your portfolio apart from the competition and ensure you get that sale.
“Aerial photography using a drone is a perfect way of capturing photographs and videos of your land or property development. It is both cost-effective and efficient and results in stunning images that you can’t achieve using traditional photography.”
Using Drones For Specialist Asset Inspection
Drones are also vital tools for carrying out thermal inspection; a fast and effective way of monitoring faults and defects.
The M210 V2, integrated with the DJI Zenmuse XT2 camera, is the perfect companion for this type of work, although a Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, which comes with a thermal camera, is another excellent solution.
Quinton said: “We use thermal drone cameras for hard to reach and difficult-to-access places at height. Or in some cases large surface areas that would take hours if not days to inspect.
“The specialist asset inspections are mainly for UK power networks, wind farms and solar farms, but can also be utilised for pylons, wind turbines or solar panels.
“If there are concerns of insulators not performing efficiently on pylons, or energy being lost from a substation or structure, we can supply thermal camera imagery that shows temperatures being experienced. This is a very effective method for quickly finding a fault on a network without laborious testing.”
Other Jobs Using The Drone
Quayle Industries uses its drone and cameras for a range of other jobs. These include:
A London Borough Council – video to highlight services offered.
Local council – used as part of a planning enforcement case to prove work carried out.
Trees consultant – Used to survey the health of tree stock, gaining a unique view from above.
Fishing lakes – used for promotional imagery and video.
Sporting events – used at events to capture video from running championships, working alongside ground camera crew.
Sport team – used for a promotional video to highlight team and upcoming competition.
Charities – used to produce video for local wildlife trust.
This video shows the cinematic capabilities of the X5S.
Equipped with a new and improved Micro 4/3 sensor, the Zenmuse X5S has a dynamic range of 12.8 stops with a better signal to noise ratio and colour sensitivity than its predecessor, the X5R. It supports a range of M4/3 lenses (including zoom lenses) with focal lengths ranging from 9mm-45mm, allowing more variety for image capture.
The new CineCore 2.0 image processing system on the Inspire 2 makes the Zenmuse X5S capable of capturing 5.2K 30fps CinemaDNG video and Apple ProRes video as well as 4K 60fps using H.264 and 4K 30fps using H.265 (both at 100Mbps). Continuous DNG burst shooting at 20fps with 20.8MP images is also supported.
Praise for the DJI M210 V2
DJI unveiled the M200 Series V2 – including the M210 – earlier this year, as an upgrade to the popular and versatile M200 Series V1.
In a nutshell, enhancements include better reliability, safety, and security features, which DJI says ‘lay the technical foundations for Beyond Visual Line of Sight and nighttime operations’. The V2 can also be integrated with more cameras, including the DJI Zenmuse X7. You can read an in-depth comparison between the V2 and V1 Series here.
Quinton purchased his drone from Heliguy and is delighted with it.
He said: “The M210 V2 is a fantastic drone. It flies really well and is super stable in winds and building turbulence.
“The V2 is a good improvement, offering a wider range of cameras and is more efficient in its power requirements. I really enjoy operating my V2 – it is a solid unit that is surprisingly nimble in flight.
“I use my M210 V2 with either a X5S on its own, or a X4S and Z30 in combination. I find the latter is great for more industrial applications; using them both allows for the wider shot and zoomed in close up of the subject matter with just one press of the button. As they move in unison you can be sure they are both lined up correctly without having to switch between the views.
“The level of zoom achievable with the Z30 is outstanding.”
This level of zoom is ideal for a range of applications, not just inspection. Check out this video below, for instance. Quinton captured this footage at a military-style event using the M210 V2 with the Z30. It gives a great perspective of the area and would be ideal for the police or security teams, helping personnel on the ground see exactly what is going on and providing vital situational awareness, which in turn helps with decisions about deploying team members.
Quinton added: “Although the Z30 is best used for inspection, I have used it in other areas. For example, during a military-style event I attended, I was able to project the image from the main camera as the large image, using the Z30 independently to move and zoom in on people or items of interest, giving an overall view and detailed view simultaneously. This was greatly received at the event – some minds were blown!”
Praise For Heliguy
Heliguy is proud to be a one-stop-shop for drones, providing a comprehensive package supply and support. As one of DJI’s largest and trusted European enterprise channel partners, Heliguy is recognised as a Gold Partner, certifying that we can provide expert knowledge and services to interested enterprise customers.
Quinton has taken advantage of this, using Heliguy to not only purchase his equipment, but to also sit our PfCO course to help secure his all-important Permission for Commercial Operations.
He also attended our New Pilot experience, which has now been changed to the Drones for Enterprise event.
He said: “When I was first looking at changing my business and moving into the world of drones I did a lot of research as to which provider to use. I wanted to choose a company that I could stick with throughout and provide all the services I would need.
“During this research, I found that Heliguy ran New Pilot Days – a chance to see the kit in person, speak to knowledgeable people about the subject and ensure it was right for me.
“I found that it was perfect – answering all of my questions and I had a chance to operate a drone in a safe and monitored environment, and I felt confident that Heliguy was the provider I wanted to partner with. I even bought a drone after the event as I knew it was going to be right for me.
“I used Heliguy for my PfCO training and again I found it to be a very professionally-run course, the training staff knew their subject well and were friendly and approachable. I had a great time during the course and throughout the latter stages of gaining my permission, finding the support invaluable to getting my Operations Manual ready for submission.
“Once I had gained my permission Heliguy was the obvious choice to supply me with my new commercial drone.
“I conducted all my business with Sam Lowe, who has always been very helpful to speak with on the phone or on email. He advised me not to buy the most expensive kit, but the right kit for what I was going to use it for.
“Even following my kit arriving, he was great at guiding me through setting up, and very patient when I was asking beginner’s questions!
“I will continue to use Heliguy as my supplier throughout my career in the UAV industry, I can’t fault them.”
As well as offering training and drone supply/support, Heliguy is a DJI-authorised repair centre and has an in-house research and development lab.
The Future Is Bright – The Future Is Drones
Drones are being used more and more in the world of enterprise, playing an integral role in public safety, infrastructure, construction, agriculture, the media and scientific research.
However, Quinton believes that the commercial drone industry has not reached its full potential and predicts big things in the future.
He said: “I think the industry although in its infancy will become huge over the next five years and seeing drones in the sky will be an everyday occurrence.
“I can foresee the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) requiring drone use to be the first choice for inspection work at height.
“They are more cost efficient, the quality of the images are much higher, they have less impact on the asset being inspected, and of course the risk level is incomparable in relation to manned climbing.”