The benefits of using drones in construction
In the U.S., commercial drone use has accelerated across many industries. In the last two years, one million new pilots have registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, and by 2020, experts expect seven million drones to be in use according to constructiondive.com.
The 2017 Drone Market Sector Report found that construction (design, building inspection or monitoring) is in the top three uses for commercial drone-based services, behind aerial photography, surveying and mapping, and geographic information systems (GIS). The number of construction and engineering companies using drones is expected to continue to grow, as use cases emerge that offer further business value and competitive advantage for companies with drone programs, according to a piece written by Mike Danielak, director of client strategy and business development at Skyward.Construction and engineering firms are way ahead of similarly-sized companies in other industries in their use of drones. Some large construction firms already employ dozens of pilots to maximise drone data at every step of the process, from marketing their services to design and project construction to ongoing inspections. Construction firms of all sizes are including drone technology or replacing old process with drone technology entirely. Drones are becoming an essential component of virtual design and construction (VDC), giving architects and engineers new and efficient ways to visualise and analyse structural requirements from the ground up. Bottom of Form
The raw data captured by the drones helps designers create 3D models and maps that can be packaged and sold under various pricing structures. Not only is this an effective way to show clients how a project will progress, it can also help to identify potential site or design problems.
These survey and design tasks have traditionally required a plane, crane or helicopter, as well as a staff of data scientists. Drones provide the opportunity to offer these services at a more competitive rate and with the added bonus of gathering the data safely — a top priority for construction and engineering firms.
Insights from drones can help executives improve safety, project efficiency and data accuracy. On the marketing side, aerial photography and video for marketing residential and commercial real estate is one of the best-known applications for drones. Rather than hiring a crane or helicopter, many firms are choosing to spend far less money to hire a drone with a high-quality camera and a capable pilot to capture photos showing the potential view of a given office, even before the office tower has been built.
With a drone, companies can achieve unusual angles, capture the aerial perspective, and get results that would otherwise be impractical or impossible. This creates a competitive advantage when it comes to promoting a firm’s projects and services.fragment view of the road under reconstruction
Drones only provide value when they’re up in the air, so once a company has made the initial investment, it’s worth it to explore as many drone applications as possible to maximize the investment — and inspire teams to innovate processes and services along the way.