Two years ago Sarvair Aviation in Williams Lake and 108 Mile House expanded with its unmanned aerial vehicle division Sarvus.
“We do aerial videos, photos, surveying and infra red to name a few,” said owner operator Landon Sarver who saw an opportunity and decided to develop the drone technology after building and flying them himself for 15 years.
“UAVs do not need or contain a pilot on board, they can also enter areas that are dangers to human life,” their website notes.
Sarvus is fully licensed with Transport Canada and follows all the guidelines involved for operating unmanned surveillance systems.
Sarver grew up in 108 Mile in the passenger seat of a helicopter with his pilot father.
Instead of becoming a pilot himself, the 28-year-old chose the technology route and pursued a career in audio engineering.
After working at an automation company in Vancouver Sarver returned to the Cariboo and began developing Sarvus.
Since then he’s been doing work primarily for industrial, research and development interests.
Recently he developed a methane detecting unit that can be used for big utility companies and their oil rigs.
The methane unit has a laser and Global Positioning System (GPS).
It can detect methane from 200 metres away.
Recently Sarver conducted a ground survey for someone wanting to install a new tower near Harrison, B.C.
The terrain was so steep at the site that it would have been difficult to complete on foot and costly to view from a helicopter.
“This method is cheaper because I could go with the drone and take hundreds of photos for him,” Sarver said.
Whether it’s determining the shape of a roof, preparing real estate photographs or updating forest fire information, he sees a great future.
There are lots of uses for the technology and he’s finding new ones all the time, he added.
And because UAV’s are computer controlled they can perform precise, repetitive flights which previously was not possible with manned aircraft.