How are Drones Becoming Indispensable to Construction?

Drones are already making a significant impact on the construction industry and because of the improvement of drone technology and the subsequent drop in price, the uses for drones have become almost endless.

Many in the construction industry claim that for them drones have become indispensable. This is especially true for the larger construction companies. Yet with the increasing variety of drones, even small businesses, find them to be valuable.

Accuracy, Safety, Speed, Cost

When it comes to providing an overview and close ups of building and various structures, drones are the ideal choice. As AI-driven software has developed alongside drone technology, the software, with its powerful systems for processing raw visual data from drones, has enabled them to provide detailed maps for construction sites.

Drones also provide safety and speed in surveying and inspecting tall structures. They make sending up workers in harnesses or scaffolding inspecting roofs, buildings, and other structures, totally unnecessary. Thus decreasing employee injury and even death as well as workman’s compensation cases.

Since cost is such a big factor in any construction project, drones are invaluable as they save enormous time for virtually any aspect of a building project.

The following building projects have probably the greatest use for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveying large building projects and maintenance work:

  • Pre-planning
  • Surveying factory buildings and industrial chimneys.
  • Checking fences and agricultural buildings.
  • Maintenance of road and rail structures.
  • Road and highway building projects.
  • Major railway building works.
  • Laying of pipelines.

Site surveying is used in numerous sectors, such as building construction, bridges, mining, rail, forestry, parks, etc., and the quadcopter is ideal because it has camera options such as upward, downward or dual downward, as well as dual batteries for longer flight times. The quadcopter is also known for its speed, which saves a lot of time.

Commercial, Industrial & Construction

It may sound farfetched to many that drones—flying robots—will work alongside human beings in the construction business, but, this is already beginning to happen. They are, at present, doing the following:

  • Inspections
  • Employee monitoring
  • Showing customers an aerial view of construction progress
  • Surveying
  • Security

Because of their varying sizes, drones are extremely agile and can maneuver in ways that are unprecedented. This enables them to capture images that brings greater precision to the construction industry.

Some companies are hiring architects who are using drones to record the size of construction aerial views and using this in a three-dimensional model. This is not only helpful for the construction project itself, but also an appealing advertising/marketing strategy.

An unexpected use of drones is in weaving buildings. A team of researchers at ETH Zurich programmed drones to build and weave tensile structures. These are precision welded carbon steel structures, specially designed cables and fittings, used in building massive stadiums, amphitheaters, building entryways, and covered walkways, etc. Although the test was relatively simple, the idea of choreographing drones to act as aerial construction workers is rather impressive.

Making a Bid                                                                                                                                   

Anyone in the construction business knows the all-importance of making a great first impression. Sharing your vision for a project is the first step and what better way to do that than through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to show that you can use them to survey the proposed construction sites aerially and then use the footage to demonstrate the feasibility of your proposed plan for the project. Because the cameras on drones can now be equipped with geo-location and infrared sensors, they can produce visually impressive 3Dmodels of a construction site.

Improving Survey Accuracy & Progress of a Project                                                                          

From pre-planning to completion, surveys are a necessary part of any construction project and aerial drone imagery can help provide the most detailed and accurate land survey using 2D and 3D maps. Drones also use lasers that can scan the property on a daily basis to determine the readiness of the soil. In fact, throughout the construction phase, UAVs can track progress regularly by making assessments of project status, materials, and assets. Drone video footage can then provide the documentation of the actual construction in progress which enables the owners, contractors and workers to assess the situation and make changes if necessary, so saving valuable time and money as a more pragmatic option.

Construction Site Safety                                                                                                              

Unmanned aerial vehicles are ideally suited for providing safety at a construction site by providing consistent video security thereby preventing intruders, theft, vandalism, etc. Instead of having inspectors walk through possibly hazardous construction sites where they could be endangered due to intruders or heat and/or gas leaks in the structure, or in the utility pipes underground, drones equipped with thermal imaging can detect such dangers.

Measuring Materials                                                                                                                    

Amazingly, drones are now used to measure construction materials. Construction stockpiles of gravel, rock, sand, or concrete can be measured by drones and within minutes provide accurate volumetric measurements of the amount of material in stockpiles. By providing such inventory reports, costly delays are less likely since it becomes easier to know when and how much to order and reorder construction materials.

Multifaceted Benefits                                                                                                                           

Drones are making a lot of project managers, technology managers, superintendents, workers, and clients happy. As we have already seen, the reasons are numerous. These flying robots seem to be everywhere at the same time and provide an around-the-clock monitoring system which results in accurate information and protection that is so highly valued in the construction industry.

Other benefits are: improved communication to keep projects on track; the incorporation of maps and 3D models into existing planning, design, and management overflows; increased safety; time and resources saved; fast-track surveying; accurate and real-time aerial data; measurements; and detailed drone photos.

It is not surprising that the construction business has adopted drones enthusiastically!

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