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Water Today Title September 20, 2019

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Features

Update 2019/5/15
Drones - Supply and Service





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DRONE SUPPLY AND SERVICE



By Gillian Ward


Having reported on the upcoming regulatory changes for the operation of Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) in Canada, along with several applications for drone technology that improve efficiency, conserve energy and/or enhance public safety, WaterToday investigated the supply and service angle of the developing drone industry. DJI, China based manufacturer of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) is the world leader in design, mass production and distribution of drones and drone accessories for the retail market globally. Aeronautics engineers employed in smaller companies develop drones for specialized applications, however the common, affordable technology in play is largely DJI gear.

Multi Rotor Heli (MRH) operates from Calgary, Alberta with a full shop and showroom, and a satellite store in Vaughn, Ontario. MRH claims to be a Tier 1 authorized vendor for DJI drones in Canada, offering factory grade repair and maintenance service for Consumer, Professional and Enterprise level UAV’s/drones. MRH offers new and pre-owned drones, open box deals, financing options and accessories with free shipping in Canada on orders over $99, according to the company website.

MRH online store displays the Mavic, Matrice, Phantom and Inspire lines from DJI, with all the bells and whistles to boot. Enterprise level gear includes Zenmuse thermal imaging sensors, high end gimbals and controllers, enhanced image processing and display controls, various lens models.

As the basic drone from DJI is sold with a soft case, many buyers opt to protect their purchase with a durable hard-shell case. An extensive line of storage/carrying cases are offered by MRH, with slots for essential accessories; up to four extra batteries and charging gear. Buyers can find military spec, dust-proof, shock-proof, water-proof and buoyant cases via the website. Several models of cases were sold out when we perused the online catalog.

MRH provides training and setup for Autopilot Controllers and First Person View (FPV) goggles, two of the latest trends in drone gear. FPV devices are permitted under the new Canadian licensing regulations, effective June 1, 2019, as long as a specific crew member is designated for visual observation of the drone in flight.

Candrone, a Burnaby, BC company, supplies and services industrial drone equipment, including the Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor systems. LiDAR systems shoot hundreds of thousands of data points, creating “point clouds” that accurately model the ground surface, even through a forest canopy. For mining, construction, forestry, energy and other industries, being able to find the high and low spots, best option for access prior to sending out ground survey crews can save a great deal of time and money. The LiDAR systems and associated data analysis are very costly, ranging from $50,000 to upwards of $250,000 for the sensors. Fortunately for the smaller companies and projects, the LiDAR systems can be rented by the day.

Candrone offers consulting, training, flying and rentals, including ground school for licensing. The service shop performs manufacturer-certified repairs. The business is located in Burnaby, BC. 3.9 out of 5 stars and 50 plus reviews indicate knowledgeable staff, prompt service and fair prices.

WaterToday and our secret shopper made several attempts to reach these suppliers by phone, leaving messages that went unanswered for weeks. Our best advice, if you are hoping to purchase a drone from a reputable, manufacturer-certified dealer in Canada, be patient. By all accounts it appears that the demand for drones exceeds the supply of sales people to take the order.

gillian@watertoday.ca



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