Donan, a Louisville, Ky.-based provider of forensic investigations, has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for aerial data collection applications that will assist the property insurance industry with claim inspections.
Donan’s Section 333 exemption is for the fixed-wing senseFly eBee, which is equipped with an integrated 12.1-megapixel camera and a software package that includes orthomosaic generation and fully autonomous operation.
The company says it has been researching and testing drones since 2011 and has developed pilot programs, headed by professional engineer and licensed private pilot Matthew Kenney, manager of Donan’s technical programs.
“We have logged hundreds of flights and tested UAVs in various applications, so we feel really good about the implications this technology will have in improving processes and outcomes in the industry,” Kenney says. “We also look forward to collaboration through our pilot programs, which can assist carriers in better understanding how they can utilize the data and put UAV capabilities to work for them.”
The company has also submitted another exemption request to operate its fleet of quadcopters in a scalable service. Donan says it is one of the only two forensic investigation firms that have received a commercial UAV exemption from the FAA (both granted on May 5).
Lyle Donan, president and CEO, says, “We’re building on what we started years ago and dedicating permanent resources to UAV hardware, pilot training, flight safety and operations, and data management. It’s one of the most exciting opportunities our industry has seen in a very long time.”