Adam Zayor, CEO of FlyGuys, Nationwide Drone Services

Adam Zayor, CEO of FlyGuys, an aerial drone services company based in Lafayette, LA, is our guest.

Attention all angel investors…only 8% of commercial industries currently use drone technology. The potential for a dramatic increase in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, called drones, is staggering.

Fly Guys operates in all 50 states, in 72 countries around the world, with over 4,500 qualified and approved contract drone pilots doing the job. It has 17 full-time employees who oversee operations and has experienced exponential annual growth of 200% per year over the past three years.

FlyGuys operates on a similar model to Uber; the company is responsible for contracting out all work and the pilots have their own drone equipment. “Our business is theoretically infinitely scalable in that we don’t incur costs until we have revenue from confirmed work. Contract pilots range from full-time professionals handling large-scale jobs to part-time hobbyists who will capture footage for a commercial real estate site.

The majority of FlyGuys customers are large-scale businesses that need consistent data collected across the country, such as telecommunications companies installing cell towers. In this example, the towers should be inspected periodically, especially when adding equipment upgrades. FlyGuys scans 500 to 1000 towers every month or two, taking images at different altitudes. Telecom company engineers can gather dimensions from collected data and create designs for new devices using AutoCAD (commercial computer-aided design and drafting software), enabling design with accuracy of new devices.

Adam Zayor started his company in 2017 with two employees while keeping his day job at Cajun Constructors where he worked managing heavy industrial projects. It was at this position in Lake Charles, while working on the SASOL project, that he was introduced to drone services. Cajun builders would use aerial footage from drones to obtain images for marketing purposes; Adam quickly realized that technology could be used for much, much more in handling dangerous and tedious tasks typically done by human labor.

“From an early age, I always knew I wanted to be in business. I loved building and creating things. I have to say, I wasn’t as scared (of launching FlyGuys) as I should have been! I was a little blindsided about all the effort and emotional cost of starting a business. Especially the one I was trying to drive into a new industry. Adam Zayor, asked about his thoughts on jumping full time to run FlyGuys.

With his construction management experience overseeing up to 2,000 employees at a time, Adam explained that drones can now replace project managers who roam sites three to four times a week to monitor progress. With a drone, you can capture orthomosaic images, which are high-resolution aerial images similar to Google Earth views, where you can focus to analyze work in progress, all from the comfort of your desk and computer.

Drones were first used for industrial flare inspections to get images that a worker could not access with a crane. Today, with emerging software being developed, it seems like the sky is the limit (pun intended!) for the use of drone technology.

The agriculture industry is expected to be the biggest user of drones, but it’s still early in the game. Drones can aid in precision farming by detecting plant height, plant health, and expected crop yield, while allowing accurate financial metrics to be calculated. By detecting pests and diseases using multispectral cameras, the farmer can quickly understand how to care for plants and ensure accurate watering. The drone will fly as close as 5 feet to plants and up to 400 feet above, depending on the data needed. Adam said twenty different companies have been funded to develop drone technology to meet the needs of the agriculture industry.

According to Adam Zayor, using drones “not only mitigates the risk of having a human in the air, you eliminate the risk. From a security perspective, this is the best thing to do. »

The insurance industry also benefits from drone services, especially after natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires. Instead of sending people to individually inspect 10,000 homes in a large area, a drone can map an area for adjusters to inspect by computer. One proactive use of drones recommended by Adam is to capture data from a home or structure when it is in good condition to establish a defined digital model; then, if a catastrophic event occurs, you can capture new drone footage to compare the structure after the event using computer algorithms to detect changes. Adam predicts that one day every asset structure will be recursively mapped to be able to detect changes that occur in buildings and assets. This process can occur annually, or even monthly, allowing the owner to model the reality and anticipate the necessary repairs.

Search and rescue efforts are also greatly enhanced by the use of drones using thermal or infrared sensors to locate a missing person. This works especially well at night, as body heat appears orange, making them easier to detect.

Although drones can replace humans in some respects, data collection is essential and people are still needed for this task. FlyGuys has in-house project managers who collect and analyze data.

Adam shared the history of drones, which were first used over thirty years ago and known as RC (remote control) coptors. “Large funds were invested in the equipment for the first stage, making them capable of staying in the air for more than 20 or 30 minutes. Then, investments were made in the development of sensors, such as RGB (lengths red, green and blue waves reproducing human vision, as is the case in mobile phone cameras), infrared, thermal, multispectral and LiDAR (light detection and ranging). new software applications for mapping, planning, image stitching and 3D rendering is the goal.

In the early days of drone flight, pilots were required to have a pilot’s license as there were safety concerns regarding these craft flying in the airspace. Now the FAA allows drone pilots to operate once they have obtained “107 Remote Pilot Certificate.”

FlyGys is located at 120 Clinton Street in downtown Lafayette. We wish Adam Zayor and his team continued success!

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