Delair's UX11 c-drone can cover 200 ha (500 acres) in a 1-hour flight with image accuracy of 1cm (3/8 in) at 400ft altitude. Image: Delair

Delair launches c-drone data processing portal

Agriculture • mining • environment Construction • inspections • real estate Equipment & systems

Delair, a provider of c-drones and data analytics for industry and agriculture founded in 2011 in France’s Aerospace Valley, has launched a drone data asset management portal dubbed Delair Aerial Intelligence (delair.ai) with the goal of simplifying drone-collected data presentation, analysis and reporting for enterprises.

The cloud-based solution, which accepts data from Delair drones but also from other drone makers, has specific analytics for industries:

  • Surface mining & quarries
  • Construction
  • Power & utilities
  • Agriculture & forestry

For example, mining companies can look at 2D or 3D digital representations of a site and, after drawing a contour around a stockpile of minerals, compute the volume and weight using a volumetric toolset which lists mineral types. Consolidated reporting with data export is available, and there is an annotation/conversation thread feature for sharing information about a geopoint of a site. Delair says its clients have found that drone surveying is orders of magnitude faster, more reliable, and more precise than traditional methods; clients increase inventory surveys an average of 8 times the frequency pre-drones. Larger firms have hired drone pilots.

Delair has had a data analytics development group for years and in late 2017 signed a Platform as a Service (PaaS) partnership with Intel to develop and operate its cloud-based DAM solution called Intel Insight Platform. In September 2018, Delair received major funding from Intel Capital; the amount has not been disclosed, but is rumored to be over US $1 million. The same week, Airware collapsed; weeks later, Delair acquired assets, clients and software developers from the defunct firm. Airware had previously acquired French mining data specialist Redbird in 2016, and had Caterpillar as an investor; the Airware/Redbird acquisition has boosted Delair’s competency in mines, quarry and construction data analytics, and positioned the company as worldwide market leader for drone analytics in the sector, with a development team of over 50 (half of whom were previously at Airware). Delair’s announcement on February 6 was focused on surface mining; the company said that mining, quarrying and construction are the most mature market segments for drone data analysis, with agriculture and energy infrastructure catching up.

The Delair platform can be integrated with the IT (information technology) system of an enterprise client as a PaaS.

Over tens of thousands of drone flights, Delair has built a large database of imagery and has developed artificial intelligence heuristics to recognize features and process new data accordingly, for example to detect water and vegetation or count vehicles, livestock or trees. The delair.ai platform allows different views of a site to be selected, for example orthophotography, slope map, surface model, heat map, change map (before and after) with slider, or 3D virtual site.

In a press release, Michaël de Lagarde, Delair CEO, said:

It has become clear that data and software are the real end game in effective commercial drone use by enterprises. These businesses demand not just innovative technology but enterprise-ready solutions that offer the scalability, reliability, and security they need, as well as the ability to integrate with other key business processes. With Delair Aerial Intelligence we can offer the combined power of an enterprise-focused workflow and proven industry-specific analytics to help turn aerial data into actionable business insight.

The company markets a number of c-drones, based on three fixed-wing airframes, with packages optimized for inspections, precision farming, LiDAR, land surveying and surveillance:

  • DT18: the world’s first fixed-wing civilian drone to obtain a BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) certification from France’s DGAC (Direction générale de l’aviation civile) in 2017
  • DT26: the heavyweight series, with up to 18kg (40 lb) payload
  • UX11: the latest model launched last year, a highly portable craft which assembles in minutes; featured in Delair’s marketing materials for mines and quarries. An “Ag” version is now available

Delair has built an extensive international network of 100 resellers in 70 countries following the acquisition of Gatewing, Trimble’s drone subsidiary, in 2016; the firm now has offices in Toulouse, Paris, Ghent, Los Angeles, Beijing, and Singapore. In the US, Delair announced last month that it has certified two partners, Frontier Precision and Seiler Instrument, for technical support of the UX11 c-drone.

Delair clients include French SNCF railways and public electricity distribution network ENEDIS and American concerns Luck Stone, Crafton Tull and Duke Energy.