EDVY Closes April 26th! Enter Now Top Link
Home > Unpiloted Systems

Preaching the Drone Gospel

Preaching the Drone Gospel

By Luke Carothers

Adam Kersnowski is a co-founder of Airworks, a Boston-based leading AI-powered geospatial intelligence solution.  Kersnowski’s background is in the construction industry, having owned and operated a construction company in the Boston area for 14 years.  During this time in the construction industry, Kersnowski’s company worked on both commercial and residential projects.  It was during this time that he was introduced to his remote sensing tool: a drone.  Kersnowski says that, after about a year of using the drone, he was “hooked.”  Having a drone as a tool completely changed Kersnowski’s perspective of a construction site, and, to mention, saved him from having to “crawl up on buildings and roofs to get that perspective.

Kersnowski’s first professional venture into drones was a start-up piloting service.  Around 2012-2013, drones were significantly harder to fly than they are a decade later, and their operation required something called a “Triple Three Exemption” from the FAA.  In this climate, Kersnowski knew he could leverage his flight experience to work with contractors and marketing companies as well as anyone else who needed to fly a drone at the time.  While this drone piloting service saw success, it was during this time that Kersnowski began to understand that the “bottleneck” for the adoption of drones wasn’t piloting, but rather it was managing data after flight.  As Kersnowski started thinking about post-flight data from drones, he met his business partner David Morczinek, who was then a business student at MIT.  Together, they founded AirWorks. 

Combining their backgrounds in construction, drones, and business, Kersnowski and Morczinek worked together to “build something that manages data for clients.”  Kersnowski says that, in those early years, there was quite a bit of necessary “convincing and validation” when it came to accessing the value of such a tool.  At the time, there was limited access to tools such as sensors, drones, ground-based detection, manned aircraft, or any of the other tools that we now use to create datasets.  Since the time of AirWorks founding, the use of drones in the AEC industry has increased exponentially, and, as Kersnowski predicted, the management of data from drones has become the central topic of discussion rather than their flight.  And, just as drones have grown in usage, so too have our other drone- and ground- based sensing technologies.  To meet this growing market, AirWorks has also expanded beyond processing drone data to doing so for many different sources.  According to Kersnowski, AirWorks is a machine learning company from a technology standpoint, training and developing algorithms to extract features from imagery and from point clouds.

Kersnowski now serves as Chief Evangelist for AirWorks, which is a one-of-a-kind title for someone in an industry that likes to generally keep its traditions.  However, as the title would suggest, Kersnowski is giving testament to the power of drones in reshaping the way work is completed in the AEC industry.  Kersnowski has been there from the beginning–of both AirWorks and of drone technology in the AEC industry.  Chief Evangelist has not always been his role, but, as Kersnowski puts it, his role has had to change as the needs of the company have grown.  Now, in this unique position, Kersnowski does a lot of traveling to speak at conferences and trade events, giving a face to AirWorks and its mission.  

Earlier this year, AirWorks launched their Data Marketplace, which is the first of its kind to integrate data availability with automated linework creation within a single platform.  This tool gives AEC professionals real-time access to a network of data providers, which has the potential to completely revolutionize workflows and add efficiency to projects across a number of different sectors.  To officially mark the launch of their Data Marketplace, AirWorks announced a partnership with Nearmap.  Nearmap, a leading location intelligence and aerial imagery company, is the first company to join a growing ecosystem of geospatial data providers, which further opens the door to data, processing, and analytics to companies who might not have been able to access it before.  

Kersnowski says that AirWorks is looking to continue growing the Data Marketplace by working with more data partners.  As the Data Marketplace continues to grow, more and more of the space within the United States will be available for users to access.  Partnerships like the one with Nearmap go a long way in providing data in urban areas, covering roughly 85 percent of the United States population.  Kersnowski believes that, as more data is collected within the Marketplace, more and more rural areas will be included.  Furthermore, in addition to further coverage, new partners can introduce new imagery and different data, which further supplements the areas that have already been covered.  Kersnowski describes this as “multispectral data sources” which includes adding things like LiDAR to the Marketplace’s data.

As the AirWorks Data Marketplace continues to grow to include more data, Kersnowski and his team are firm in their belief that this represents a paradigm shift in the way the AEC industry accesses and utilizes data.  Ultimately, Kersnowski says they are focused on creating a product that will be most beneficial to their clients.  By guiding future development through feedback from clients, Kersnowski believes that the Data Marketplace will only grow in value as it adapts to a changing industry landscape.