In August, we wrote a series about drones in construction. The series covered the FAA’s new regulations on drone use, current and future uses for drones, and how drones might affect mechanics liens going forward. It’s been just over a month since the regulations went into effect, and drones have exploded onto the scene. Here are some of the ways the construction industry has embraced drones already.
Embracing Drones in Construction
There are countless articles describing the potential of drones in the construction industry. While most of them are worth a read, there is less chatter on how drones are actually being used right now. Here are some examples of how drones are being embraced early on in the new era of commercial drone operation.
Austin Commercial LP took flight less than two weeks after the new FAA regulations went into effect. The company sent a drone off the top of a Houston high rise to perform an inspection, saving valuable time and eliminating safety risks of its employees. The drone used images taken in flight to produce a 3D model of the building.
Drones are being utilized by Kespry to measure stockpiles. While the thought of a drone floating above stockpiled materials is far less sexy than the image of a drone weaving through the Houston skyline, the service is invaluable. Kespry’s technology takes less than 1 minute to measure each stockpile, and can cover 150 acres in less than 20 minutes. What used to take hours, if not days, of work can now be done in a matter of 30 minutes.
Identified Technologies is changing the game for mapping large-scale construction projects. According to Forbes, Identified Technologies can map entire projects in minutes, getting results which could otherwise take up to a month in only 9 minutes using an automated drone.
Software developed by SunPower is being used with images taken by drone to maximize capacity on the layouts for their projects, and even use infrared to detect issues. You can read about it on this story from Green Tech Media.
Drones may even be able to deliver food to construction projects soon! Ok, that was a reach, but it would be criminal to not mention that Chipotle is delivering burritos via drone on Virginia Tech’s campus. Burritos are safely lowered by wench to the customer as the drone hovers above. If you’re as excited as I am about this development, here’s a clip of them testing it out. *No burritos were harmed in the making of this film.
All jokes aside, drones present an incredible opportunity to bring efficiencies to the construction industry. They may not be ready to take the place of cranes, but there seem to be limitless uses for the technology on construction projects. One of the only inhibitors to advancement of drones in the field may actually be government regulations. While the new FAA regulations that recently went into effect opened the door for more uses, they still hold back the technological capabilities of drones.
For more on drones in construction, check out parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Drones in Construction series. For more on technology in construction, check out this recent post on mobile apps on the job site or head over to our Construction Technology tag on the blog.