bob-johnsonbrdEver wonder about using a drone to conduct an inspection?  Today’s guest knows quite a bit about that topic.

Bob Johnson has over 30 years of experience with corporate and start-up technology companies in business development. He has been associated with disruptive and over-the-top technologies within the telecom, wireless, railroad, utilities and predictive analytics sectors. He is currently the Senior Vice President of Solusia Air, a national company specializing in UAS quality audits and inspectins.  On this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Bob talks about inspections and data gathering in the infrastructure sector using drones, as well as the opportunities for people seeking careers in this challenging field.

In This Episode

  • [01:18] Introduction to Bob Johnson and Solusia Air
  • [01:51] Services:  Solusia Air provides quality audits and inspections for the industrial sector
  • [03:40] Benefits:  Solusia Air provides time savings to customers, but more importantly, using UAS provides a high degree of safety.
  • [05:28] 333 Exemption:  Solusia Air’s 333 Exemption was the first in Georgia.  It allows for use of drones throughout the country for infrastructure inspections with utilities, telecom, construction and maintenance.
  • [06:10] Servicing a National Marketplace:  Bob discusses the challenges of serving a customers on a national scale.  There’s a need for a large fleet of drones and pilot teams and the logistics of getting teams to site needs to be considered.
  • [07:55] Resource and Skill Requiremenst:  Solusia Air uses on-staff pilots and teams on contract.  Each team has a qualified licensed pilot and a virtual observer.  All teams must comply with FAA regulations.
  • [09:42] Skill Requirements:  Individuals need to have a pilot’s license and be a good pilot – understanding the FAA rules and demonstrating good judgement in deciding when and how to fly.
  • [11:36] Data Ownership:  Solusia Air collects the quality data, but the client owns and interprets the data.  Each job requires a discussion with the client to determine how best to collect and deliver the data.
  • [12:42] Types of Jobs: The types of requests for Solusia Air’s services have included transmission lines and utilities (mining, solar panels, wind turbines, telecom (cell tower inspections), disaster recovery and Class 1 railroad lines.
  • [15:47] Career Opportunities:  Bob lists some of the key employment needs in this industry as it expands, including engineering skills, with emphasis in guidance controls, communication, robotics, autonomous systems, and mainly, knowing how to listen to the customer and solving their problem.
  • [17:35] Return on Investment:  The return on investment is maintaining the infrastructure (avoiding disruptions) and keeping it safe.
  • [17:59] Opportunities and Challenges:  Opportunities – UAS industry is expanding and creating several new opportunities (dams, underwater inspections, and many others).  Challenges – FAA regulations, Beyond visual line of sight and Flying over people (particular during a disaster)
  • [21:03] Final Comments – Solusia Air is safe, legal and delivering services and is ready to work with clients now.
  • [21:58] Closing

Mentioned Links