In a relatively short period of time, cell phones went from being uncommon to becoming a pervasive part of everyday life that many cannot imagine their lives without. Now, drones are shaping up to be the next technology that will be used pervasively in almost every industry, including construction.
What are Aerial Drones?
Drones are unmanned aerial devices that allow for operators to take photographs and videos. They can be controlled directly through a control panel or they can fly automatically with the use of sensors. Drones allow for snapshots to be taken in locations that would otherwise be difficult to access. This makes it easier for engineers and architects to plan the buildings they intend to construct and also to identify engineering problems. One of the largest challenges that construction companies face is the lack of accurate terrain information. While sensors can help automate this process, ground-based sensors are simply not as accurate as aerial sensors.
Benefits of Drones
Drones are also obviously much safer than using humans. At the very worst, a drone might break and have to be repaired. Taking accurate photographs at a higher altitude using a human cameraman carries the risk of a potentially fatal fall, in contrast. It can be difficult to communicate to your client certain details of the project. For example, if you would like to show a side of the project that human cameramen would not be able to reach, you may need to call in a drone to capture the footage for you. Best of all, the drones can provide aerial footage after the project is completed, so clients can provide immediate feedback.
The Future of Drones
Part of what is holding back the implementation of more drones in construction is the relatively new regulatory environment. Most countries have not created regulations for drones. Fortunately, for the FAA, the deadline for creating regulations for drones is in 2015 and then there will likely be a large explosion in the implementation of drones. Also, as they become more widely adopted and more are constructed, the increased supply will drive down demand, causing drones to become a staple in the construction world.
Rent a Drone
Since many construction companies will only need drones for certain jobs, there is a market for drone rentals, so you can take the photos and video footage you need for the project and return the equipment afterward, saving you the cost of storing and maintaining a drone. Speak with a construction equipment rental company to see if drones are already available near you.