How drones are reshaping the construction industry
No longer a thing of sci-fi and fiction, drones are here to stay and they’re more useful and more popular than ever. Having previously been used mostly for recreational photography – capturing aerial landscapes and extreme sports – their use has steadfastly been growing, opening up all sorts of opportunities across a number of industries.
Drone production and use shows no sign of slowing. In the US alone, drones are “expected to have an economic impact that exceeds $13.6 billion, while expecting to gross upward of $82 billion and create over 100,000 jobs by 2025,” reports Forbes.
Businesses are now embracing the use of drones for all areas of work. Dick Zhang, drone expert and CEO of Identified Technologies, invented the Boomerang (pictured), a drone that does the work for you. The small flying machine, he says, can even replace its own battery mid-flight and its main function is to capture and process job site data, turning them into 3D map reports. The aim? To make life easier and more efficient for project managers. “A large development site, like a highway or an apartment complex, needs to be meticulously mapped by a team of surveyors. Depending on the project, this can take weeks or even months,” reported Zhang. “But a drone that is operating on highly sophisticated software and that has state of the art cameras onboard can do even the most complex job in a fraction of the time, sometimes in minutes,” he added.
After walking out of a drone seminar, Mr Zhang notes his initial desire to experiment with the technology. Having attached a high-resolution camera to a drone at the time, he began collecting data and experimenting with business models, soon realising that the construction industry was the perfect candidate in need of this ‘continuous project tracking technology’.
With the nature of construction being the way it is, streamlining any process becomes both a time and a cost saver. Drones are not only fast and efficient, but they can also be used continuously throughout a project, allowing project managers to assess and anticipate problems before they may arise. The benefits seem endless. “Aerial mapping is undoubtedly a huge cost saver. But it is also a tool that propels construction into the future by giving developers information they previously never had access to,” Zhang reports.