In the last years, drones have become an advantageous device, widely used in construction industry, that offers vast possibilities and applications.
Drone technology (photos, videos and imagery) offers the ability to collect data that can be used in a large range of engineering applications (such as on-site safety or remote monitoring) and provide real-time updates. This way, they have the capability of improving efficiency, cutting costs, and supervising workflow. Currently, drone usage is growing by an amazing 239% per year in construction industry. Despite many types of drones exist, commercial drones have fixed-wing or rotating blades.
Drone applications on construction industry
1. Topographic Mapping and Land Surveys
Drones have the ability to map large areas in short time in order to visualize a site's topography. Topographic maps are always a significant tool on a construction project, but they are not frequently updated due to the cost and the time needed to be produced. Therefore, drone mapping can be used several times during a project aiding to monitor and plan the construction procedures. Moreover, high-resolution imagery can be utilized to create 3D models providing a realistic illustration of the project's development.
2. Equipment Tracking
A severe issue in large construction projects is the organization of the equipment's distribution. During complex work sequences, the location and the usage of the equipment cannot be fully monitored. However, a drone can quickly assess and report where the equipment lies or recognize if a machine is still on-site even if a task has ended. Moreover, drones can provide data concerning malfunctioning equipment. If a malfunctioning machine is used in a remote region, high-resolution analysis can be used to diagnose the problem without having to send a crew there.
3. Remote Monitoring and Progress Reports
Drone technology also offers the capability of aerial views that can be used to visualize the project's progression. This is a beneficial feature, especially, when the people interested are not present at the construction site and they wish to have access to visual data.
4. Security Surveillance and Personnel Safety
Drone monitoring upgrades the surveillance system of the construction site. It is certain that the attempts to steal equipment are reduced when having a high-resolution camera shooting photos at a constant rate, recording every change during construction works. In addition, drones can reduce the accidents that happen during a project. Most of these accidents occur when workers execute a hazardous task (e.g. when a worker has to climb on an unsteady basis to take a measurement). However, drones are capable of taking those measurements and mitigate the risk of an injury. Video cameras can also be utilized to monitor the job site for safety issues.
5. Structure Inspection
Finally, drones can provide building inspection by taking imagery for analysis. Additionally, thermal sensors can detect heat leaks, cold spots on electrical issues. After a project is realized, they can also be used for maintenance issues.
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