Drones in Construction: How Drones are Building the Future

Drones could soon be as commonly seen on construction sites as trucks and excavators, thanks to the many ways they can be used to help workers better monitor and capture the construction of a project from inception to completion.

Drone users can collect elevation data, volumetric measurements, and create 3D maps for georeferencing

Drone users can collect elevation data, volumetric measurements, and create 3D maps for georeferencing

Construction sites around the world depend on inspections and surveys to obtain a comprehensive look of a builds progress, and to ensure that strict safety standards are being met in the process. With cutting-edge drone technology, operators can now easily and quickly perform inspections in a cost-effective and efficient way, while also keeping employees away from dangerous environments or situations. 

Drones give an aerial view of job sites large and small. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

Drones give an aerial view of job sites large and small. Courtesy of AeroVision Canada

With data and imagery collected via a drone in the air, users can create 2D and 3D maps, orthomosaics, collect elevation data, and gather volumetric measurements to better plan for, build, and develop projects.

The high-quality information collected by a drone also give users the opportunity to view a site in real-time as it progresses, to better manage resources and keep projects on schedule. Additionally, drone technology gives those in the industry the valuable ability to view a project from the comfort of their office without having to physically step foot on a site. This way, many different parties can work together to easily track development and collaborate to improve decision-making.


CUTTING COSTS AND IMPROVING SAFETY

Drones are working alongside more traditional machines in the construction industry.

Drones are working alongside more traditional machines in the construction industry.

Before drone technology, gathering aerial data and imagery was a difficult and expensive task in comparison to traditional on-foot or manned aerial vehicle methods. Now, a drone can quickly and easily perform an inspection of a job site in less time and at a lower cost than ever before. Additionally, with less time wasted on inspections, operators can maximize efficiencies and review projects without disrupting work, while also keeping extra personnel away from situations that could pose potential safety risks. 

Users can create 3D models of a project. Courtesy of Pix4D

Users can create 3D models of a project. Courtesy of Pix4D

With pre-programmed flight paths that can be repeated on a daily basis, operators can view real-time imagery of projects as they are built to better monitor sites, optimize efficiencies, and quickly identify any problems before they develop. Ultimately saving on expenses, avoiding wasted resources, and maintaining safety standards. 


SURVEYS AND INSPECTIONS

Drones are increasingly being used as a survey and inspection tool, to help operators record conditions of a job site from beginning to end. With a drone the amount of time spent collecting data can be cut in half, and the information collected can be generated into orthomosaics and geo-referenced digital images accurate to 1.5 cm per pixel. 

Elevation data, volumetric measurements and more can all be created to optimize the efficiency of job sites. Courtesy of Pix4D

Elevation data, volumetric measurements and more can all be created to optimize the efficiency of job sites. Courtesy of Pix4D

A quick drone survey can benefit every stage of the construction process. Before construction begins, a drone can fly over a site to gather data and 3D maps of an area to better plan out a build. Once construction starts, daily or weekly autonomous drone flights can monitor the different stages of a build and help operators better manage their resources. Finally at the end of a build, a drones imagery of the final product can be compared to original plans, or shared with clients for review or marketing purposes. 

Users can analyze the movement and volume of stockpiles on site. Courtesy of Pix4D. 

Users can analyze the movement and volume of stockpiles on site. Courtesy of Pix4D. 

A drone can give users a clear picture to compare a projects current conditions versus the original plans. With a drone users can also collect data to assess reference points, elevation models, break lines and contour lines, or even to calculate volumes of stockpiles. 


REAL-TIME PROGRESS AND MONITORING

Users can get up-to-date maps of job sites. Courtesy of Pix4D

Users can get up-to-date maps of job sites. Courtesy of Pix4D

With the information collected by a drone, clients, managers, and investors can easily observe a timeline of a sites progress to keep track of work being done. The data and imagery collected can be run through software that can then create models to compare original plans with construction work, to show users how a site is progressing, and what parts of a project may be falling behind. All of the information can then be reviewed from any office around the world, without anyone having to physically step foot on a job site.

Imagery collected by a drone can create orthomosaics of potential developments. Courtesy of Pix4D

Imagery collected by a drone can create orthomosaics of potential developments. Courtesy of Pix4D

3D maps, elevation data, volumetric measurements or orthomosaics can continuously be updated on interactive maps to give users better control over work progress and keep investors and clients in the know. By closely monitoring and analyzing up-to-date imagery and data, construction projects can save large amounts of time and money, while also improving communication and collaboration between different parties to enhance planning as a site grows, and improve decision making. 


PUTTING DRONES TO WORK

Drone technology is quickly advancing, and everyday more uses for these flying robots are being discovered. Particularly in the construction industry, drones can give users the ability to monitor and track construction progress in a way never before possible. 

DRONES IN CONSTRUCTION

When it comes to the future of drone technology automation will be a key advancement. A drone will be able to automatically deploy, fly a pre-set route, and land all on its own. This way, 2D and 3D images of a job site can be collected and reviewed everyday, allowing users to easily analyze and cross-reference progress.

Courtesy of AeroVision Canada.

Courtesy of AeroVision Canada.

The applications for drone usage in the construction industry are endless, and more and more, the industry is discovering the many ways the technology can be used to reduce expenses, save time, and prevent safety hazards. With drone technology continuing to rapidly advance, usage in the construction industry is projected to skyrocket as they help to reduce expenses, improve safety, and maximize efficiency.