In our brand new series, At The Controls, we talk to our community of drone pilots and operators about their experiences of working with drones and using SOARIZON to plan drone missions.
We chatted to Karol Krupa, the owner of Dronez Access, delivering high quality drone inspection services in West Bromwich and across the West Midlands, UK.
Karol, it’s lovely to meet you, how long have you been a drone pilot?
I started the company in May 2019. I had flown drones as a hobby beforehand, after being introduced to them by a friend who also ran a drone business. After taking some fantastic footage with my drone while on holiday in Australia I decided I wanted to try and build a business from it.
What type of work do you do with drones?
At the moment we focus largely on inspection work. I know the work well because I was involved with inspection back in my home country of Poland, inspecting and refurbishing pylons, broadcast towers and buildings.
One thing that always struck me was the dangers associated with that type of work. Risks from height, external factors and even weather.
Some manual inspection jobs can take a team of four people 3-4 days. If you’re inspecting a pylon on a rope and you spot a thunderstorm in the distance, your whole team has to get to safety quickly. Insurance is difficult and expensive for that kind of work, too.
Luckily, nothing ever happened to me, or those I was working with, but inspecting with drones really takes out the unnecessary risk and cost for the operator and the client – I’d rather not leave it down to luck!
What’s the best thing about working with drones?
I love the range and scope of work that you can do with a drone. We have several drones for our company, starting with our ‘baby’ DJI Mavic – which we tend to use for anything photography based, it’s a great little tool, really flexible.
I love doing photogrammetry work, data from a drone really gives a unique perspective and enables businesses to make much more informed decisions.
Another thing we have done is signed up to assist local search and rescue services on a voluntary basis – we’ve got the kit and, if we’re available, it’s a great thing to be able to get out and help, and give something back in society.
When did you start using SOARIZON?
After I completed my training, I was looking for some software to help me take care of the admin associated with drone planning. I didn’t realise that planning each mission would produce so much paperwork. It quickly became a hassle, having to dig out specific pieces of documentation for risk assessments.
It’s a massive time-cost, and we didn’t want to have to sacrifice jobs just to get paperwork done.
I tried a couple of other drone planning services, but found them to be quite complicated. I saw a video about SOARIZON and decided to give it a try.
I found SOARIZON to be really intuitive to use. English isn’t my first language, but the system is designed well so that’s not really a problem – everything is still very clear.
What do you like most about using SOARIZON?
Honestly, planning with SOARIZON is a real pleasure! We don’t use any paper documents anymore.
I love that I can just bring up SOARIZON on my tablet when I’m at a job and complete my final checks there and then. No more need to take notes or having to remember certain aspects of the job to type it up later.
The most important thing, for me, is that it helps to show clients that my business is serious. We have thought about the risks, the planning, the safety – so they don’t have to. It really helps to inspire confidence in our professionalism.
Are there any other features that you’d like to see in SOARIZON to help with drone mission planning?
One feature which I’m looking forward to having is the ability to export information from the platform as a PDF to give to clients. I know it’s a feature on SOARIZON’s roadmap, so I’m really excited to see it. *UPDATE: PDF Mission Export feature is now live - check it out here: Mission PDF Export*
That’s another thing I love about SOARIZON’s service – I was invited to become a member of the testing community and have been interviewed by a member of the team about how I use the system, what I’d like to see next – and I’m actually seeing the features I wanted being built! I feel like you really listen to your users, and I value that.
That’s fantastic news – so what’s next for your business?
We’ve recently been involved in some really interesting projects with the University of Wolverhampton and the Construction Futures Research Centre, showcasing just what can be done with drones in construction. Things have obviously been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, but the market is starting to pick up again.
We have used the time to up-skill and enable us to take on more complex work and enabling us to cover more jobs in all weathers, purchasing a Matrice 300 RTK and Thermal Imaging capabilities and training. We are also partnering with some local surveyors to be able to offer full surveying services.