Two innovative BC drone companies assist with Kelowna wildfires

Two prominent Canadian drone and data acquisition firms have joined forces to provide essential data to decision-makers in Kelowna during the wildfire crisis. InDro Robotics and drone imagery platform Spexigon have been conducting precision flights over affected areas to aid emergency response efforts.

When the threat of wildfires escalated in Kelowna, the city reached out to InDro Robotics for assistance. Kelowna’s Director of Information Services, Jazz Pabla, expressed the city’s interest in rapid damage assessment and identifying potential trouble spots using thermal imagery. This collaborative mission received full support from Kelowna’s Fire Department.

InDro Robotics, renowned for its work with first responders, quickly mobilized its expertise in aerial and ground robotics for emergency situations. To enhance their capabilities, they enlisted Spexigon, a Vancouver-based platform that utilizes an app to conduct automated flights using off-the-shelf drones. Spexigon is unique in producing “Current State Imagery,” which is high-resolution, standardized, and easily updatable.

Capturing consistent, high-resolution drone photographs manually is challenging, requiring precise altitude control and capturing images at specific intervals for later photogrammetry stitching. Spexigon’s app-controlled automated flights streamline this process.

Data from these collaborative missions was processed and accessible to decision-makers within just three hours of the flights. The mission aimed to provide timely and accurate imagery for managing the ongoing wildfires in British Columbia, supporting the province, the city of Kelowna, and firefighters.

The Spexigon platform consists of web and mobile apps that control drone flights within predetermined hexagonal zones on a map. These zones, known as Spexigons (or spatial hexagons), cover approximately 22 acres each. Sub-250-gram micro-drones conduct automatic, standardized missions, prioritizing safety and speed.

InDro Robotics also oversaw night-time thermal missions, including inspections of Kelowna’s landfill, which had sub-surface fires. These flights successfully identified hot spots, aiding in fire suppression efforts.

Both companies pledge to continue their missions as required to support firefighting and emergency response operations.

About InDro Robotics: InDro Robotics is a Canadian leader in Robotics Research and Development, offering complex UAV solutions, services, and training. The company specializes in developing new technologies and innovative solutions for clients and the industry. InDro holds a Cargo license from the Canadian Transportation Agency, making it a pioneer in Canada’s UAV sector. The Aerial Evolution Society of Canada has recognized InDro for its significant contributions to the industry.

About Spexigon: Spexigon is the first Current State Imagery platform to produce high-resolution images of the earth through a decentralized pilot network using sub-250-gram micro-drones. The platform’s easy-to-use web and mobile apps enable pilots to rapidly fly, capture, and upload imagery, significantly reducing data delivery times to decision-makers. Spexigon is developed by Spexi, led by CEO Bill Lakeland.

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