The construction industry is certainly not known for being a quick adopter of new technology, but it certainly is embracing drones. Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are quickly becoming commonplace in the construction industry. Of all the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exemptions granted to companies seeking legal use of drones for commercial purposes, nearly 40 percent of them have gone to the construction and infrastructure industries, according to a report issued by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Drones are pivotal tools for aerial mapping, surveying, capturing images of work sites, and inspecting bridges and other structures. They are far less expensive than using any manned aircraft, and they can go places difficult or unsafe for man to reach.
Drones are also being paired with software that allows them to monitor work sites and flag elements falling behind schedule. They collect video of the structure under construction to create a 3D image. The software compares that image to a work plan that shows when each element should be completed. This allows managers to take quick action to remedy a problem.
Drones could also be used to transport materials and supplies. They will never have the stability or load capacity of a crane, but their speed and versatility could make drones a handy complement to cranes.
It is also conceivable that drones could be programmed to do welding, drilling, or fastening jobs. Drones can be outfitted with a robotic arm and programmed to do specific tasks. Imagine the efficiency and safety of using drones to do actual construction work on a bridge or high-rise construction project.
While drones will only become more prevalent and useful on the jobsite, we caution you to consider a few things before buying one for your construction business:
If you are interested in utilizing a drone in your construction operations, be sure to check the current FAA regulations and flight restrictions and find an insurer who will cover drone operations.