Most of us will be familiar with drones, and their role within the construction industry is becoming increasingly important. Even though this is currently limited to mainly mapping and surveying tasks, their use in the future could be far more widespread.
Current Use of Drones
At the moment, drones are mainly used to access areas that heavy equipment and humans cannot get to, as they are small and agile devices that have a light payload, so they can easily fly around a site. Drones can be fitted with high-resolution cameras and relay images directly back to construction teams, gathering aerial surveys of sites and taking progress shots, such as the development of tensile structures, without having to leave the ground.
As the drones can fly at a low level, it’s possible to record a number of images to provide a real-time overview. This can help to reduce delays or see where issues might arise, such as in the development of the Sacramento Kings’ new stadium in California, where drones were used to monitor the progress from overhead.
Future Use of Drones
The benefit of drones to the construction industry is not just limited to simple surveying work, and as the technology becomes more advanced, it will enable the machines to become an integral part of the development process.
They can reduce the need for expensive safety equipment to enable construction workers to carry out the same tasks, which will save time and money, and they are considerably more reliable and accurate than a human could be.
With all this technological development, it could be possible in the future for drones to be capable of moving cargo from one part of the site to another. We are a long way from their being able to carry out the work of a crane, but they could move small tools and parts for companies. For instance, Fabric Architecture provide tensile structures, and they could employ drones one day to lift sections into place or ensure the structure was properly connected.
The use of drones on construction sites is just in the initial stages, and depending on the speed of the development process, they could soon be far more capable than many of us could have envisaged just a few years ago.