Drone service to launch in South Florida


Celia Ampel

Engineers and architects can perform dangerous inspections from afar using a new South Florida drone service.

Coral Springs-based OpenSky Drones LLC launched Thursday. The unmanned aircraft’s cameras can live-stream visuals needed for building inspections, as well as natural gas detection and cellular tower energy readings for utilities and government agencies.

“Post-disaster, drones play an important role,” CEO Howard Melamed said.

The company has received about 20 customer inquiries so far, but it will not start commercial service until it receives Federal Aviation Administration approval. So far, the FAA has certified two commercial drone operations, which can fly only in the Arctic.

Drones have sparked privacy concerns and safety scares in recent months. The FAA released new guidelines in June for drone hobbyists, who do not need authorization to fly.

The two-person engineering startup will share resources with Melamed’s other Coral Springs-based company, CellAntenna, which boosts cellphone and Wi-Fi signals.

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