The drone revolution has caught many by surprise. Following the footsteps of ‘the Internet age,’ drones are shaping up to be the next great disruptive technology that promises to reshape critical operations in nearly every industry. Industries’ adoption of this technology, however, comes with its fair share of challenges. As the UAV user-base shifts from enthusiasts to professionals, Dustin Williams, the Founder and CEO of FlywheelAEC, underscores the challenges that organizations face with staying on top of the latest technological advancements and ever changing regulatory environment. He also stresses how strict airspace regulations have impeded overall drone adoption, ultimately robbing organizations of opportunities to improve their businesses by delivering better data. Santa Cruz-based FlywheelAEC is dedicated to making drone technology more accurate and accessible to the AEC industry.
With over a decade of experience in civil engineering and building information modeling (BIM), Dustin Williams founded FlywheelAEC, in part, to help the architecture, engineering, construction and owner (AECO) industry develop advanced workflows and deliver reliable, actionable and accurate aerial data. The company offers expertise in civil BIM and reality capture, assisting clients by addressing complex problems with innovative and cutting-edge solutions such as capturing, analyzing and delivering high-precision aerial data.
FlywheelAEC leverages leading technology to help clients improve existing workflows, and/or create new ones, mitigating issues within engineering and construction projects of every scale. Backed by a solid team with in-depth experience in Civil BIM and Reality Capture, high precision UAV aerial mapping and terrestrial laser scanning, “FlywheelAEC is a unique boutique service provider, partner, and a consultant who provides leading edge services and insights to the AEC industry on the latest drone advancements,” says Williams. Focusing on delivering the highest level of reality capture, drone mapping, and laser scanning, the company collaborates and partners with some of the leading software and hardware providers—such as DJI, Autodesk, Skycatch, and DroneHive—in the drone ecosystem.
FlywheelAEC’s focus is on improving their clients’ full project lifecycle: planning, design, construction, operations, and maintenance. Their drone services not only mitigate the regulatory constraints related to flying UAVs, but they also provide AEC professionals with the ability to design and construct with rich 2D maps and 3D models. UAV photogrammetry utilizes high-resolution cameras combined with advancements in drone technology, innovative software, and high accuracy GPS technology to enable the clients to review the model for design issues as well as potential money-saving efficiencies. UAV photogrammetry also facilitates project audits, as-built modeling, and information for facilities management. “Our pilots are FAA certified and our resident licensed surveyor oversees the entire process from data collection to delivery,” adds Williams. The combination of these services drives efficiencies in existing design and BIM workflows, while also reducing project timelines and taking collaboration efforts to the next level.
In further explaining the capabilities of FlywheelAEC, Williams sheds light on a customer success story. One of FlywheelAEC’s clients had undertaken a large project spanning over 100 acres of land. Due to the massive scale of the project, the company experienced delay in their schedule and found themselves needing to determine the quantity of mater and approximate duration of the pending work. Using FlywheelAEC’s survey grade GPS-enabled drone technologies, FlywheelAEC worked alongside the client to analyze the aerial data and determine a comprehensive understanding of how long the project would take to complete.
FlywheelAEC, in an exclusive partnership with DroneHive, currently manages over 500 pilots with high-precision drones across the U.S. “In the years to come, we aim to grasp more project opportunities and provide customer tailored solutions for projects of every size,” Williams concludes.