construction drones

Construction Industry and Drones

It is imperative that buildings and other structures remain safe and secure as they have certain environmental and economic ramifications associated with them. However, in order to ensure their optimum safety, consistent and risky toil is required to be done in terms of the buildings’ inspection and surveillance. The approaches used to construct buildings have changed over time in terms of the process involved, the methodologies adopted and their efficacy. There may be a few buildings being constructed nowadays following the same rules of business and procedures as those adopted several years ago, they probably differ from their earlier counterparts in respect of the construction process.

Drones are the new entrants in the field of construction as they have been able to make a name for themselves in a matter of a few years. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have revolutionized the construction industry and are playing a key role in the modern era in planning, surveying and data collection. They are designed to carry out myriad processes thanks to their ability to capture video footages, take high resolution and top quality photographs and perform remote laser scanning as they are maneuvered from the ground station by a pilot.

Drones have emerged as a significant invention over the past few years and their existence has made sure that numerous industries are impacted positively due to their presence. The uses of drones are innumerable when it comes to the construction industry and construction companies are also taking a fancy to these aerial devices as they consider them instrumental in improving the working atmosphere for employees. The utilization of drones, as of now, do not cover the part of the construction process that is predicated on manual labor. However, they are still an extremely effective part of the strategization and assessment process.

The construction industry prefers drones as they provide aerial imagery of the construction site at a relatively lower cost. This implies that they can assist in planning, keeping track of progress and supervise the entire process. It is a user-friendly, affordable and swift means to getting an updated aerial imagery of the construction site. This kind of aerial imagery, in the past, could only be obtained by helicopters.

Let’s have a look at the few areas where drones have been able to cast a positive impact on the construction industry:

1 – Mapping

Earlier, it was quite a tiresome and time consuming exercise to map a construction site. However, thanks to the appropriate kind of drone, things have changed rapidly. In addition to being an extensive task, mapping used to be quite expensive on the budget front. The construction companies in-charge of large scale projects were forced to rent out a manned aircraft to soar over the target construction site and capture the requisite aerial imagery.

At present, drones can be configured to map the construction site in a matter of a few minutes at an extremely low cost. This enables you to capture the images with utmost comfort and in incredibly less amount of time. It also implies that construction companies undertaking smaller projects can get access to the right kind of data without having to spend an exorbitant amount of money at hiring a manned aircraft besides ensuring that the data obtained is as accurate as it can get.

In addition to this, drones also enable you to collect updated aerial imagery of the entire construction process to keep an eye at the progress. These drones are also programmed to transmit the data collected to the requisite software on a computing device so that it can be appraised and compiled in real time. It can then be stored and used to formulate numerous solutions.

2 – Inspections

It can be extremely taxing as well as risky to inspect busy construction sites on a regular basis. However, the advent of drones have ensured that this process is morphed into a safe exercise. The health and safety vulnerabilities of employees can be tremendously reduced by invoking drones in the construction process, while managers simply keep an eye at the progress of work from the comfort of their offices in both real time as well as through recorded video footage.

Companies responsible to monitor and inspect bridges have realized that the use of drones is the best way forward to complete the inspection of structures that are in the vicinity of water bodies. Drones can fly to far flung locations, a task that would typically require a cohort of builders a number of days to get access to. Drones can also come in handy during insurance claims, as they are utilized to furnish supporting video footage of the construction progress.

3 – Surveillance

While inspecting a building, it can be fraught with danger to access the roof. The surveillance of a building using drones can pinpoint risky circumstances so that they can be tackled with swiftly.

The entire process is rendered safe, quick and easy thanks to the drones as a surveyor can identify the faults in the roof without having to actually go their physically. Hence, this eliminates the requirement of scaffolds and ladders for the surveyors, thereby enhancing the safety protocols and rendering the whole process reasonably priced.

The numerous advantages of the drones in connection with a construction site notwithstanding, there are certain challenges which need to be discussed here:

  • Typically, it takes a couple of individuals with adequate technical knowledge of drones to maneuver commercial UAVs. They also need to be well acquainted with that specific kind of drone, especially the onboard sensor. In addition to being seasoned as far as controlling the drone is concerned, these operators must have complete knowledge of the trajectory to be followed.
  • The weather conditions may hamper the performance of a drone. Heavy winds or thick cloud cover can disrupt the smooth flight of drones besides preventing the capturing of appropriate images. Drone flights in such adverse weather conditions can cause undesired latency which may eventually result in collection of wrong data. A drone also runs the risk of being blown away by hostile winds and losing connectivity with the controller and hence resulting in it crashing down.
  • Drones can be quite costly and thus may lead to high upfront costs. The construction sites end up saving huge sums of money once they get to use drones during their operations. However, their purchasing cost can be massive which can distract them from buying them. Having said that, the prices of drones is likely to witness a downturn in the days to come.

An exponential growth in the adoption of drones is expected in the future as more enterprises fathom their full potential. According to estimates, one in every four of construction professionals plan to use drones in their operations in future. Drones offer unlimited possibilities as more advances are made in drone technology. 

Drones in Construction

Key Features

  • GPS: Keep an eye at the coordinates and elevation points
  • Thermal sensor: Capture aerial heat and thermal imagery
  • Software: Utilize data collected through drones and plan flight trajectories
  • Camera: Capture high resolution images and video footages

Mapping and survey

  • Drones are capable to survey massive areas of land in a matter of a few minutes which can save a lot of cost in developing topographic maps
  • Using a drone software, maps can be stitched in 3D models for assessment

Remote monitoring and reports

  • By recording live data and formulating progress reports, collaboration has been bolstered by 65%

Enhanced safety

  • Drone can record seemingly complicated measurements which has enhanced safety protocols by 55%

Structural inspection and photography

  • Drones can continuously monitor the construction progress, thereby saving costs and creating marketing products for the future

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