Creating Magic through the Flying Lens

Drones are expected to reduce surveying time in several industries by as much as 98 per cent whereas the costs can also come down dramatically

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Five years back, when the utilization of drone was almost unheard of, Gaurav Mehta with his co-founder Rahat Kulshreshtha started Quidich Innovation Labs as essentially an aerial filming company and today, is India's only drone organization to fly all 360-degree rigs. A bootstrapped venture which was born out of an experiment in 2014 has grown 50X in revenue since inception.

Over the years, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones have developed a billion dollar market globally. Some time back, "the only real way to get an aerial shot was using a full-fledged helicopter, which of course, had its own logistical nightmare. It was extremely expensive and we found a way to do it much cheaper and much more efficiently," Mehta told Entrepreneur India.

Drones are expected to reduce surveying time in several industries by as much as 98 per cent whereas the costs can also come down dramatically. These unmanned aerial weapons are treading into several industries and Quidich has been at the forefront by making large strides in filmmaking, sports, surveillance, geological mapping and urban planning too.

First of its Kind

The drone startup is the first to broadcast grade AR on the live drone in the world and has provided live aerial services across the P1 PowerBoat racing championship, flagship golf events for Vodafone, FIH Hockey World Cup 2018 and the IPL 2018, 2019. "We (have) realized that the potential of drone technology is far beyond just simple aerial filming," Mehta shared.

Having served the likes of Discovery, BBC, Dharma Productions and Star India in aerial cinematography, Quidich has expanded to enterprise operations and takes up one new project every 3-4 months to solve a certain problem. "We're doing vertical asset inspections, i.e., inspections around telecom towers across India to try and digitize those legacy telecom towers."

So far, the company has digitized over 200 telecom towers. To further enhance the dream of digital India, Quidich has pioneered in building an end to end workflow for vertical asset inspection. Right from data collection, defect identification, digitization and report generation, the startup delivers extremely accurate data, build efficiency and reduce accidents.

Future

Among the big plans for global expansion, the startup is positive of locking a partnership with the ICC World Cup. The startup has recently started using Qrious, the buggy cam to cover live sports matches. It helps establish a high quality, low angle shots at high and low speeds to produce terrific shots in both sports and cinema, that too, without tracks.

With Amazon looking at drone deliveries, the industry has a huge potential of transporting human beings in the near future too. In India, however, the existing regulatory challenges are too many. The recently released a draft regulation for drones while shows that the government is concerned, Mehta feels that the Ministry of civil aviation shouldn't over-regulate the technology because that's the easiest way to kill an upcoming technology like this.

"Overregulating leads to serious roadblocks in companies not only being able to actually exploit the full potential but actually having to shut down because they're not able to comply with the regulation that's put in place," he said while suggesting, "We need to try and move to a system that's instead of more permission intensive, we need to move to a system that's more information intensive."

(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

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