What is the Return on Investment for a LiDAR Drone?

How much money can you make flying a LiDAR drone. In this article I share a typical medium sized job.


What is the Return on Investment for a LiDAR Drone?

Aerial LiDAR mapping is an established industry with a history that dates back to the 1960's.  What is new is the ability for low cost and rapid deployment of an unmanned system to capture highly-accurate 3D LiDAR data of areas of several 10's of acres to 10's of thousands of acres. 

Right now the return on investment is considerably high when servicing the land surveying and utility sectors. 

A typical job that covers an area of roughly 500 acres would take a 2-3 man survey crew many weeks if not months to traverse and generate a detailed topo survey. With an unmanned LiDAR system this can be flown in 1-3 days and processed in the ROCK Cloud. 

A job of this size is easily won for a bid of $30,000 USD.

What is the breakdown of Cost?

For this 500 acre job the winning bid was broken down into 4 service items:

  1. Mobilization cost - $4,000
  2. Equipment Rental - $2,500/day @ 3 Days = $7,500
  3. Part 107 Drone Pilot - $750/day @ 3 Days = $2,250
  4. Data Processing  - see below = $16,250
    1. Ground Control Survey
    2. Topo Generation
    3. Planimetrics 


Currently, providing real robust aerial LiDAR topo services is a high demand service that can offer a safer, faster method to generate a better data product.  This results in a high value to the customer and a great return on investment for you, the service provider.