8 Added Benefits of Drone Usage in Construction
Drones entered the construction industry at a fast pace and are still continuing to grow as companies learn more about the potential uses of drones to help them improve their overall workflow and effectiveness in various aspects. The construction industry currently has the fastest rate of growth when it comes to using drones.
In this article we’ll discuss the top 8 ways that drones are improving the construction industry and how.
Ease of use
It’s no secret that drone companies are constantly pushing the envelope to make drones easier to fly and easier to fly properly. With a little bit of training and practice, along with being familiar with the local rules & laws… virtually anyone can become a drone pilot capable of gathering accurate data & information in a safe and efficient manner.
One of the areas that make drones so valuable to the construction industries is the fact that they can be used for a multitude of purposes. A construction company can purchase a few pieces of drone related equipment that can cover a wide array of uses. Some of the most common uses of drones in construction include:
- Progress photography & videography: This can help project managers visually keep track of project progress without being on location and this information can easily be shared with other key members on the project.
- Aerial surveying: Drones, in combination with relatively inexpensive RTK Receivers, ground control points and the right software, can survey a large site with up to 1cm accuracy. This can be useful in many ways that include: plan overlays, accurate elevation maps for site work projects, general surveying, & much more.
- 3D modeling: Drones, combined with RTK Receivers and 3D modeling software can create accurate 3D models of buildings, towers, towns, complexes, shopping centers, measurements of specific areas or the entire area. This can be used for a wide array of planning and decision making.
- Orthomosaic imaging: Drones combined with software (some of which is free) can be used to autonomously collect a set of images that overlap. These images are then mapped based on the data from the drone, to create a large extremely detailed image. This is common in inspections of parking lots, land, & more.
- Stockpile management: Keeping track of materials that are stockpiled can get time consuming and tricky. By using a drone and the right software, you can accurately measure stockpiles of materials with an automated flight over the piles with a drone. This can become useful for projects that you need to manage from afar (you can hire a company on a scheduled basis to send you the measurements). This can also help you make key decisions in accurate ordering and replenishing.
- Inspections: Drones can go places much faster an easier than people can (in most cases, at least). If you need to inspect a façade, window, Steeple, roof, radio tower, water tower or virtually anything else that is in a high-up or hard to reach area, drones can complete this job faster and much safer. Most drones can be programmed with a pre-planned, automated scanning of the inspection area. This means that the pilot would launch the aircraft and monitor it’s flight while the drone collects the required data autonomously. Use can then use these images and data in related software, or can view them and share them for inspection purposes.
- Thermal imaging: Thermal imaging can be helpful and extremely useful. An example would be a large roof. A company can use a drone with autonomous scanning software and a thermal camera to scan a very large roof for hot spots in a very short period of time. This gives you accurate data, with accurate measurements in a fast, efficient and safe manner.
- Promotional: Drones can also be used to create great promotional material. Videos and images from points of views that would otherwise be impossible or expensive are now easily achievable and provide an unparalleled overview of your work.
Speed & accuracy
Drones can move fast, be efficient and gather large amounts of precise data in a short period of time. With the proper ground control points, flight planning, and RTK receivers, a drone can autonomously gather actionable data and can be transformed into a shareable format in a few hours. The best part about this is that this can easily be achieved with a one-man crew.
It’s no secret and common sense that sending a person onto a roof, tower, over rough terrain, or onto unfinished construction can pose a threat to their safety. This is why drones can dramatically increase safety for projects that include inspections, surveying, & much more.
Point of view
Before drones were available and relatively affordable, the only way to capture an overhead point of view, or an elevated side-view was with a helicopter or plane. Now, you can capture that same point of view when you decide it’s necessary. The resources, preparation, and skill-level required to accomplish this is now much less.
Data sharing and collaboration
With plenty of software integrations available, your data can be shared with a team across the world in the matter of hours or minutes. Post processing software can directly be integrated with software like ProCore to share data, images, mapping, & more. There is also a variety of other platforms (sometimes free) to make projects, data, & visuals easily accessible to someone that has a very basic computer or laptop and even a smartphone or tablet.
Here is an example using a platform called Indshine. This is FREE software that can be used to share data, collaborate, mark-up images, measure, comment & more
Drones save a lot of time and manpower to complete tasks that would otherwise use a lot of company resources. Relatively inexpensive drones can be extremely efficient, accurate & fast. Any construction company that properly utilizes drones on their projects properly will definitely save time and money.
Constantly & rapidly evolving
The drone industry is new and evolving and will be constantly evolving for a long time. This means that the tools that are already useful and efficient, will only get more useful and efficient. Most of this will be done through software, which means that you can use your existing equipment for an extended period of time while using updated software that can accomplish more.
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