Creating a successful drone business from scratch. Soar interviews Remdrone’s Matthew Vaia

Matthew Vaia posing with his DJI Matrice 200 series drone

With the introduction of wallet-friendly UAVs, now’s the time to launch a drone business. “Since taking off in early 2018, we have yet to hit the RTL (Return to Launch) button on our controller”, says Matthew Vaia, CEO of Remdrone, a successful UAV service company focusing on mining and heavy industry to create high accuracy 3D surface and terrain models, orthomosaic images (photo-maps), bespoke images.

Soar had the pleasure of asking Matthew a few questions about his drone business and what it takes to ‘make it’ in the drone world. Matthew takes you through what he has done to make his own business successful and what drones have enabled him to do.

How and why did you get into drones?

I’ve spent the past 5 years in the Mining industry and at one point I was reading an article on how drones were being utilised for inspection tasks, removing the working at heights risk and being more efficient/cost effective. From that point on I started to notice in my own workplace (a large site which employees over 1000 people) examples of working at heights risks that I knew were no longer necessary due to this technology now being more widely available. I immediately started looking up everything that would be required to become a legitimate UAV Pilot and started saving for my licence and first bit of equipment to get me going.

What does it take to have a successful drone business?

In my case, I would say networking. I have spent a lot of time networking through the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce, going to forums for small business’ in Kalgoorlie, technical talks relating to the Mining Industry and making connections wherever possible. This has helped me understand the challenges that local mining companies and other business’ in Kalgoorlie need to overcome and has given me a great opportunity to present a solution to those key people.
Remdrone’s latest addition to their fleet, the Matrice 200 RTK over-looking Kalgoorlie’s Oasis Recreation Centre

How has drones and the related software allowed/made possible for you to do your job?

I started out using Phantom series drones to take images of assets that are hard to reach or see, but Phantoms do have their limitations. The Matrice drones have given me unbelievable access to high resolution zoom cameras and technology that makes me safer and more efficient in the air. With software such as Pix4D and Bentley I am able to give clients up-to-date map imagery of a site, a 3D model of an asset for condition reporting and many other products that are otherwise extremely hard (if not impossible) to acquire without UAV photogrammetry.

How do you think a platform like Soar will help your industry and aid you in your job?

The Soar platform is a brilliant way to showcase the more creative photography that I get to shoot from time to time out here in the Goldfields, but can provide me with mapping data of the entire region for detailed flight planning that I can then add to after a mapping task is completed for clients to access in a short time frame.
A dump truck from the Kalgoorlie Super-Pit taking to the streets

What would you say to people thinking about or are looking to start a drone business of their own?

Think about your target market and base your equipment around what you need to service that specific part of the industry. If you want to shoot scenic images and video you would go down the path of something like a DJI Inspire 2 rather than an industrial rig like the Matrice 200 series. UAV equipment can get expensive, so ensure what you invest in is going to be the right tool for the job you will be doing. And above all else, fly safe.

What do you love most about drones and what role do you see drones playing in the future?

For me, I love that drones can help keep workers out of harm’s way which is making our workplaces safer and more efficient. When we hear of significant reductions to risk due to our inspection methods, that’s a good day.
Going forward I think we will see UAVs playing a bigger part in our daily lives and become common place in society. In the professional world these are simply tools we use to complete a job, from a builder who wants to track the progress of a large project to security at public events, drones will simply become another tool in a tradies ute.
A Centurion road-train departing Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

How Soar can help Matthew and his business

Soar allows for aerial imagery to be uploaded to its image sharing platform. Once your images are on the platform others are able to purchase them with Soar only taking 30% of profits, much lower than currently available alternatives. Soar’s decentralised map is comprised of drone imagery, making vast areas available for route planning all the way to images of mine sites to be purchased with ease. All of the work uploaded will remain the property of you, the owner. As Soar is a blockchain backed company, it has implemented a unique image tracking system making it hard for impostors to take credit for your work.

To learn more about Soar’s decentralised super-map you can check out the map yourself here or read through the documentation here.

Outro

Drones have enabled many others like Matthew, whether this is through mining or photography to create successful and thriving businesses. With the introduction of Soar, a full proof solution now exists, enabling drone pilots around the world to share their work and allow others to use it in positive and constructive ways.


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