The age of technology is bringing fresh faces to the world of construction. These faces are a little different than those of the men and women you typically find on the jobsite. In fact, they are another breed entirely. Drones are on the loose and are proving to be a valuable asset in the construction industry.
Drones are robotic devices that are used to fly over construction sites to complete a series of tasks. With their ability to move places where people are not able to, drones are valued in several areas of construction. According to Equipment World’s article Eyes in the Sky, drones are utilized for surveying, showing clients aerial overviews of completed projects, monitoring jobsites to ensure safe practices, and inspecting bridges and other structures. Drones capture vital information with high-resolution cameras and relay it to operators on the ground. Offering a unique view, drones are becoming a trusted source of information on the jobsite.
As Katie Kuehner-Herbert writes in the Constructor Magazine article Flying High: Why the Industry Needs Drones to Get Off the Ground, drones are currently addressing specific issues in the construction process. One issue being addressed includes capturing photos of concrete pour to document locations of post-tension cables, conduits and rebar built into the concrete. Drone photography also helps in determining the completion amount of steel roofs without having to physically get on the roof. Some drones can even be equipped with an infrared camera to detect problems with water infiltration on building envelopes. As Chris Norrisdiscussed in our previous blog post Rainscreen Walls – History Repeated, water infiltration can be a serious issue. Drones are proactively detecting water problems to help during the construction process, preventing problems later down the line.
While drones are currently proving themselves as experts in aerial surveying and other tasks, the future of drones could mean so much more to the construction industry. Experts continue to research how drones can be used for manual labor.
In a gizmag article How drones are poised to help build the cities of tomorrow, author Nick Lavars discusses a 2011 study where a team of roboticists from ETH Zürich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control used drones to place bricks in a specific pattern. The researchers created a 6-meter tall tower constructed from 1,500 polystyrene bricks with each brick precisely assembled with the use of a drone. The study was a success and showed that drones may serve a further role in the manual labor process of construction.
Where do you see the future of drones used in construction? Will there be more possibilities with drones later down the line? How are they impacting your current jobsites? I have not seen a drone on a construction jobsite, but I do remember going to the OutKast concert last summer in Atlanta and seeing drones flying above filming the crowd. They were not only capturing video of fans dancing their hearts out to Hey Ya!, but also monitoring the crowd for safety concerns and ensuring the concert was a success. While this was my first experience with drones, I am excited to see them utilized further in day-to-day life.
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts and opinions on the invasion of drones. I believe drones will continue to play a large role in the construction industry. With new innovations arising daily, there is a good chance the impact will happen sooner than later. If you spot a drone on the construction site, snap a photo and share with us! Tweet, Facebook and Instagram Nichiha using #DroneInvasion. I would love to see the flying robots in action.