Utah-based Loveland Innovations, a maker of data analytics solutions and drone-based data gathering tools for roofers and insurers, says the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded the company a new patent – No. 9,886,632 – for an approach to deriving test squares from drone-based data.
The company claims the patent, representing Loveland’s fifth, covers one of two known ways of creating virtual test squares using drones; Loveland is currently pursuing a patent on the second approach.
The approach follows a standard pioneered by Haag Engineering and gives adjusters and inspectors an image representing a true 100-square-foot test area to sample for damage. When combined with Loveland Innovations’ deep-learning engine, IMGING Detect, the technology opens the door to a powerful approach to streamlining the test square process using drones, according to the company.
“We recognize that our tools need to work the way adjusters and carriers do, and when it comes to roofing estimates, test squares are the current standard,” says Jim Loveland, CEO and founder of Loveland Innovations. “With the revolutionary new test square scan we developed based on this patent, an adjuster or inspector can automatically capture a digital test square using automated drones and use it the same way they use regular test squares today to sample damage. Because the idea of a test square is so common, we see this is a valuable tool to inspectors, but it’s only the beginning of how we see analytics and drones changing the entire inspection and estimation process.”
The approach covered in this patent first requires a drone to maneuver itself to a known location from a roof and capture several data samples to derive distance, slope and lateral positioning relative to the roof. Next, it adjusts its location and camera gimbal to an exact angle so it can capture an image with a 90-degree planar view of the roof – representing a true 100 square feet. Every pixel captured represents data within the test square sample, ensuring the highest raw image data available for analytics, says Loveland.
Leif Larson, chief technology officer of Loveland Innovations, says, “The methods we’ve developed to create these test squares represent an incredible application of what’s possible with IMGING using DJI Phantom 4 Pro drones. We’ve effectively made a $1,200 piece of hardware perform like something costing 50 times as much, simply because of our patented software driving the UAS.”