Two companies from the Valencian Community are currently filling the skies with drones which, despite their fame for being used by the American armed forces for blowing people up, also play peaceful roles such as controlling forest fires.
There aren’t so many forest fires in the Arctic, but Valencian drones fly there anyway thanks to the internationalization of Valencian drone operators and makers Drone Spain.
Jaime Guillot, CEO of Drone Spain started using drones after working in the real estate business, and began photographing villas in 2014 using drones to achieve perspectives of the properties that could not be obtained merely by using the static images of Google Earth. Later he would receive offers from other companies to take photos of, for example, ships, vineyards, rural accommodation or adventure sports activities.
The big break came when cruise ship companies contracted him to make promotional videos of their ships entering harbours. This also led to the internationalization of the company, at a time when restrictive legislation from October 2014 in Spain was making it all but impossible to fly over urban areas.
At first this work with foreign companies took them to Italy, France, Monaco, Norway and Russia, which meant taking Valencian drones inside the Arctic Circle.
Since February the company has also been negotiating with Latin American companies and should soon be operating in Panama, Columbia, Venezuela and Dutch Antilles.
A lot of the work carried out by drones revolves around issues of safety and security, such as inspections of roofs, chimneys and factories or pipelines, looking for leaks and defects, or looking for intruders on restricted premises.
Pipeline safety will hopefully be taking them to Qatar in the near future, where pipeline monitoring is at present manual and requires the physical presence of inspectors.
Many of the tasks that bring clients come to Drone Spain are as yet without technological answers, and so the company, as well as importing drones from China from the manufacturer ‘dji’, with whom Drone Spain is the only Spanish company that has a partnership, also make their own drones according to customer demand; for example one that can function in an environment of 300 degrees Celsius.
With 9 drones imported from China and 2 they made themselves, the original four partners now have a team of nine, including five engineers.
Jaime was educated at the El Pilar school in Valencia and then went on to study Business Administration at Valencia’s UPV university.
Even before he qualified however he was already putting his entrepreneurial ideas into practice, setting up businesses such as the Internet and Mobile Business School, which allows participants to receive classes, instruction and ideas from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in Europe, from the leaders of companies such as Atrapalo or Bla Bla Cars.
He also tried and failed setting up a company to create gloves with sensors for transmitting statistical information to contact sports participants; but as any entrepreneur knows, failures are learning opportunities, the prerequisites for success.
Drone Spain has worked with companies such as BBVA and BMW, media companies such as Mediaset, the Asturian steel industry and with local authorities such as Valencia Town Hall.
Drone Spain is an example of how talent and drive can overcome economic downturns and administration restrictions, creating work and wealth while making the world a safer place. And the drones are really cool!