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Last Post 10/09/2012 2:48 AM by  Reserved_Sanity
Parrot AR Drone
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AcceleratedAdjuster
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06/13/2012 11:15 AM

    So, I saw an article about a drone that follows people while jogging, wondered who made it, and if it could be used as a tool for our trade. Here is what I found:

    http://ardrone.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/usa

    Indeed it can, as it can be controlled from a smart phone (iPhone or Android), and has multiple cameras.

    I got in touch with tech support with the following questions: (answers in bold)

    * Can the Parrot take video and still photos using the Android platform (I did see that Apple does not allow either)? Yes on both apple and android 
    * How close to an object that is not flat (like a roof) can the Parrot get before its aerodynamic stability is compromised? The drone as a few sensors that will adjust to the flight accordingly.
    * Can the cameras zoom? No
    * What is the resolution of the cameras? Front 1280×720 Bottom 640x480
    * What is the battery life of the Parrot? At full power the battery should last 12 to 15 min
    * How long does the battery take to charge fully? 90 min

    My question is simple, and especially for staff adjusters:

    Do you think that drone overflights of risks on wind or hail claims would be accepted by a carrier, in place of extra fees that would be incurred by either rope work or ladder assists?

    While I do not really see the drone as being practical for rancher or saltbox dwellings (you can get on them, measure and mark faster than you could overfly them after all), for the 2+ story 8+ pitch roofs,  I see amazing benefits from the use of a drone. 


     Has anyone used or known anyone who has tried to use these for high and steep roof inspections?

    www.acceleratedadjusting.com www.acceleratedadjustingisrael.com
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    Jud G.
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    06/13/2012 5:28 PM
    It looks like a nice toy. My first two questions involve the battery life and the height range. The charge is for 12 minutes with a 1.5 hour recharge period. A second battery is $39.99.

    Stable flight of the device exists up to 20 feet. Beyond this distance, the limit rests with its WIFI range which is 160 feet. So the question is how stable is stable? I'm willing to bet that Chuck Deaton would be one of the first to try it.

    With wind claims, it won't rule out shingles that have been lifted and have debris stuck to the tar strips underneath. With hail, it doesn't prepare test squares. With leaky roofs, it may not give you enough time to spend looking in order to locate troublesome valleys, determine roof repairability, identification of improperly installed shingles, oxidized screw washers on metal roofs, or dents on some metal roofs.

    I see potential benefit for wind claims where you can see from the ground that the shingles have been ripped off.  An overview photo of the affected slopes would likely satisfy 'on roof' photo requirements.  For fire or tornado claims where the roof has been structurally compromised and shows obvious damage, an overview photo of this damage would be beneficial.


    By the way, I heard about this firm that doesn't allow roof assists for 2 story; only for 3 story and above. You might want to steer clear of them if you hope to get an allowance for a two story assist.
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    AcceleratedAdjuster
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    06/13/2012 6:04 PM

    "By the way, I heard about this firm that doesn't allow roof assists for 2 story; only for 3 story and above. You might want to steer clear of them if you hope to get an allowance for a two story assist."

    Methinks you may have been referring to my firm :). That said, accessing a two story with a 7/12 or lesser pitch is something any halfway prepared field adjuster should be able to accomplish, and a well prepared adjuster should be able to access steeper pitches with the use of ropes and harnesses. Maybe we are shooting for the stars with our rigorous standards, time will tell. In any case, I believe that I did not present my scenario clearly enough. I intended to ask if a desk examiner for a carrier would rather see drone generated photos or footage than a bill for a ladder assist.

    I guess this would actually be the perfect tool for the adjusters driving around in a "Smart Car" with a 12' Mini Giant stashed away in what they glamorously refer to as the cargo area. At least then the firm and the carrier would not get double billed for delaying a file because the roof was "inaccessible" by the adjuster who only carried a 12' ladder.

    My line of questioning and solicitation of reviews of this product as a tool for field adjusters was directed more at the roofs that are actually unsafe to access, such as the 12/12, or even the 9/12 with heavy granule loss that would end up sustaining more damage due to the process of inspection by a properly equipped adjuster than is readily visible to begin with. How did it work for you? What was the response from the carrier? Or: "As a carrier, how would you respond to this option, rather than having to pay two people for one inspection?"

    My understanding is that the capabilities of the drone are indeed limited by the power of the smart phone. There are reviews that pretty consistently state that newer generation phones can control this device quite well at 100' with consistent stable flight, and that older generation phones with less powerful WIFI capability have significantly less control.

     I am fully aware of the drawbacks that would come with relying entirely on a drone. The first time you did not discover damage, you would likely get a DOI representative asking why the insured is reporting that an adjuster never got on the roof, and simply flew a toy around as an inspection.


    www.acceleratedadjusting.com www.acceleratedadjustingisrael.com
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    ChuckDeaton
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    06/14/2012 7:25 PM
    I use an electric, radio controlled vehicle (robot) that has a camera attached along with a reflector for a laser beam. If I can see the vehicle it can be steered over the surface and the camera triggered, either by radio control or by an automatic trigger. I use the laser reflector with a range finder with a sight. Just stop the vehicle/robot then find it in the laser sight.

    A friend has a small radio controlled helicopter that might work. It has four blades and will carry a camera, but I don't think it would be much use as a laser target.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    AcceleratedAdjuster
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    06/15/2012 5:02 AM
    Posted By ChuckDeaton on 14 Jun 2012 07:25 PM
    I use an electric, radio controlled vehicle (robot) that has a camera attached along with a reflector for a laser beam. If I can see the vehicle it can be steered over the surface and the camera triggered, either by radio control or by an automatic trigger. I use the laser reflector with a range finder with a sight. Just stop the vehicle/robot then find it in the laser sight.

    A friend has a small radio controlled helicopter that might work. It has four blades and will carry a camera, but I don't think it would be much use as a laser target.

    I would love to see a picture of exactly what you are using. As far as the laser reflector goes, I think the Disto works just fine, so not overly concerned about reflective surface.

    www.acceleratedadjusting.com www.acceleratedadjustingisrael.com
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    CatAdjusterX
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    06/15/2012 6:03 PM
    Posted By AcceleratedAdjuster on 13 Jun 2012 11:15 AM

    So, I saw an article about a drone that follows people while jogging, wondered who made it, and if it could be used as a tool for our trade. Here is what I found:

    http://ardrone.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/usa

    Indeed it can, as it can be controlled from a smart phone (iPhone or Android), and has multiple cameras.

    I got in touch with tech support with the following questions: (answers in bold)

    * Can the Parrot take video and still photos using the Android platform (I did see that Apple does not allow either)? Yes on both apple and android 
    * How close to an object that is not flat (like a roof) can the Parrot get before its aerodynamic stability is compromised? The drone as a few sensors that will adjust to the flight accordingly.
    * Can the cameras zoom? No
    * What is the resolution of the cameras? Front 1280×720 Bottom 640x480
    * What is the battery life of the Parrot? At full power the battery should last 12 to 15 min
    * How long does the battery take to charge fully? 90 min

    My question is simple, and especially for staff adjusters:

    Do you think that drone overflights of risks on wind or hail claims would be accepted by a carrier, in place of extra fees that would be incurred by either rope work or ladder assists?

    While I do not really see the drone as being practical for rancher or saltbox dwellings (you can get on them, measure and mark faster than you could overfly them after all), for the 2+ story 8+ pitch roofs,  I see amazing benefits from the use of a drone. 

     Has anyone used or known anyone who has tried to use these for high and steep roof inspections?

    I guess my question is, well it probably could be used to document certain types of roof damage, but unless you have a really genius mouse or better yet a squirrel duct taped to  (I hear squirrels will work for much cheaper than the average "Union Mouse" especially in Arkansas) the "Drone" How are you going to measure that thing? It would seem that either pictometry or Geoestimator or EagleView which is already fully integrated through XM8 would be more cost effective than hiring Pinky and the Brain to pilot this "drone"

    In any case, I think drones are best left to ruining Al Qeada picnics

    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
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    ChuckDeaton
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    06/16/2012 10:19 PM
    My guess is that Lee Norwood could assemble a flying robot with imaging and measuring abilities.

    But, would he.................
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    CATdawg
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    08/19/2012 9:50 AM

    Thank you, Chuck, for the compliment and vote of confidence. As it is, I have given some thought to this scenario; not the nuts-and-bolts aspect, but a flowchart of necessary capabilities/software and interfaces/work flow/expenses. My take at this point in time is not encouraging for deployment in the near future.

    I would be very interested in analyzing your experiences with the robotic vehicle.

    Lee Norwood, aka "CATdawg"
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    ChuckDeaton
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    08/19/2012 1:01 PM
    Not worth the time, effort and expense, Lee. The best tool I have for images of steep slopes is a remote control digital camera mounted on a telescoping pole and it doesn't work as well as I would like.

    The 4 wheel drive radio controlled vehicle is heavy and has traction and control issues. Because of changes in the type of claims handled since 2004 my unit hasn't been used in several years.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    cwrundell
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    09/04/2012 10:22 PM
    I have hundreds of photos of "hail impacts". They all look like hail in the photo and had I not further inspected many hail damaged roofs would have been bought. How is a drone going to break the seal on the shingle to inspect the underside for damage? All of my photo reports have a photo of the "impact" followed by a photo of the underside of the shingle with a circle corresponding with the blemish on the top leaving no doubt as to an impact or another cause such as a spot defect, simple granule loss or...... I also place a decent amount of pressure on the top side of the blemish while inspecting the underside of the tab, that way if the impact is not clearly apparent my pressure will break the matting. Granted I do not do it for every impact but enough to show the carrier that I really looked at this roof.

    This inspection practice has generated a significant uptick in the roof claims I am getting.

    I would not be comfortable making an opinion as to the condition of a roof using a drone.
    Chad W. Rundell
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    Reserved_Sanity
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    10/09/2012 2:48 AM
    Greetings from Down-under,

    This topic is of particular interest to me.

    Our firm is exploring the merits of the AR Parrot for use in risk survey, flood loss, fire loss, and storm damage. We are yet to implement a pilot program for the drone, but our research so far is promising.

    At a cost of AU$350 per unit we expect the units would pay for themselves by way of small percentage disbursments to our Clients for claims on which we utilise the drone.

    I am extremely interested to know if any other adjusters or adjusting firms have successfulyl implemented an aerial drone into their toolkit.

    In any case, I aim to present our progress on this thread intermitently for the benefit of all. Besides, you Americans are hardly a threat to our business model on the other side of the pacific!!

    Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms?

    - RS
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