Our business culture IS safety.
Safety is about consistent execution of even the tiniest detail. ATC rigorously adheres to all requirements by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the UAV/drone industry's best practices - and then we do more. Every flight carries liability insurance of at least $1,000,000.
The FAA adopted the Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107) effective August 2016. The rule has many safety requirements, including a weight limit of up to 55 lbs., a prohibition of flying over people, daylight flying and visual line of sight only, and a ceiling of 400 feet above ground level unless flying within 400 feet of a structure. ATC follows all FAA and sUAS Maintenance and Inspection Best Practices (AC 107-2).
While the FAA requirements are a sound foundation, we go beyond them to create an additional margin of safety. We have a visual observer on all flights in addition to the pilot, which is recommended but not required by the FAA. We use parachutes on our larger aircraft such as the S1000 Spreading Wings, which is much larger and heavier than many other UAV/drones. We also use geofencing, which uses the aircraft's onboard GPS sensors to restrict and control the aircraft to certain areas.
If we are flying in a crowded space we'll use a UAV/drone that has sonar-based object avoidance technology and geo-fencing. The Inspire 1, for example, has sonar sensors and cameras for obstacle avoidance, and the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro also have a combination of sonar and cameras as part of their Vision Positioning System.
Our aircraft have built-in Return to Home technology that won't let the UAV/drone fly father away than you have battery life to get back to you. And if for any reason the radio control signal is interrupted, the aircraft will return to the GPS way point from which it was launched.
In addition to proper awareness of the satellite signals and GPS locations, weather is another extremely important factor. Time is money, and it is critical to know when the best windows are available for drone flying. We use an application that provides an hour-by-hour forecast of weather conditions specific to drone flight operations at any location in the world.
If the mission of the day were to inspect ships, collect data from a construction site, or take photos and videos with which to promote a port, you would obtain superior images in the morning as opposed to the afternoon. In an emergency response, however, we would fly a different type of aircraft depending on weather conditions and mission needs.
Furthermore, we combine this kind of data 24 x 7 with other sources and software to produce mission planning that saves time and money for clients.