Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are utilised extensively within the infrastructure and construction industry for a number of different reasons. Drones are used primarily to take advantage of their ability to fly freely within any three-dimensional space, providing builders with a number of applications that were once expensive and impractical to implement.
Quadcopters are the most popular form of drone in use today, due to their durability and low cost. Propelled by four, manually shifting rotors, quadcopters are incredibly nimble and can move quickly within the air. Quadcopters are considered cheaper and more durable than conventional helicopters, as well as being safer due to their smaller blades which possess less kinetic energy.
Drone technology is used for a variety of different applications within the construction industry, especially for use in aerial photography. This is because drones can reach incredible heights within the sky, reaching more than 100 metres above ground in typical use cases. These are heights which are inaccessible from people without expensive manned solutions. This footage can be used for marketing collateral, to showcase a construction with an array of beautiful images and grand perspectives.
First impressions are critical in the world of construction, particularly where presentations and investors are concerned. Not only do first impressions impact whether a project may be funded or not, however it can also have the ability to demonstrate to clients some of the logistical and practical concerns regarding the project. Rather than provide people with a difficult-to-understand paper report, drone footage can help make understanding these issues more accessible through visualisation.
In cases where project efficiency is concerned, drone footage can also be utilised as an important surveying tool for providing real-time information to project surveyors and executives who may be far, far away from the project itself. The relative low cost of drone usage means that project managers don’t need to wait weeks in-between visual progress updates. It can all be done in front of a computer with streaming drone footage, without ever having to enter a helicopter.
This surveying is also incredibly important from a technical perspective where 3D modeling or Building Information Modeling (BIM) is concerned, as this information can be used to construct relevant models of the project to give managers a better statistical overview of how a project is progressing. Aside from providing us with an extra layer of confidence, it also makes for accurate and efficient progress modeling.
Safety is another factor of great concern within the infrastructure and construction industry and is an area where drones thrive. One of the often overlooked perks of drones is that they are unmanned, which makes them incredibly safe in situations where humans are traditionally stuck climbing scaffolding, forcing people to reach unstable and potentially dangerous heights. Drones on the other hand can help save time and reduce the need for costly and infrequent safety equipment for all kinds of tasks.
The future of drones is full of applications and uses in the construction industry and we have only just touched upon the surface in terms of their viability. In the future, drones may even be used to transport the very materials used in our constructions, allowing us to access areas away from roads and other transport infrastructure.