Leading contractors are always on the lookout for improved tools and innovative techniques. Upskilling is not just about developing and refining our workflows; it’s about sharpening our skills and evolving as the industry evolves around us. While manual measurement and data capture are still widely used, reaching for new tools provides increased efficiency, enhanced safety and higher quality.
Like the total station and laser scanner, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as UAS/unmanned aircraft systems or drones) are already changing the way work gets done. UAVs may not be in use on every major worksite now, but they soon will be.
UAVs Innovate a New Construction Workflow
Once the province of hobbyists, the new professional-grade UAVs are a far cry from toys. They have become a go-to tool for professionals who require versatility and speed in collecting data quickly, reliably and safely. The needs of the industry are driving the development of the technology, with increasingly specialized equipment providing high-quality data in a fraction of the time. UAV manufacturers are partnering with software firms to create a truly seamless integration of data gathering and analysis.
The latest UAVs, combined with cutting-edge software:
- Automate data collection – They collect high-value, high accuracy data at the touch of a button. Easy setup and flight planning enable you to record images autonomously according to planned waypoints to generate precise orthophotos, point clouds and 3D models.
- Increase safety – They eliminate the need to climb ladders or scaffolding to get to hard-to-reach places.
- Increase efficiency – They reduce time and staffing requirements for inspecting work and gathering data.
- Streamline workflows – They can be fully integrated with existing survey equipment such as total stations and RTK receivers. The software does the heavy lifting by processing data digitally and getting more information out of it.
Because the data is digital, recording and transmission happen at the speed of light. Cloud integration provides key stakeholders with instant access to the information they need to make decisions quickly and with confidence.
Having a digital record means clipboards and coffee stains are things of the past. UAVs allow us to verify construction progress and quality, track materials usage, and transmit real-time data to stakeholders in real time. Additionally, the software integration means that the construction data is easy to reference and analyze, streamlining the process of making long-term comparisons, which are vital to upskilling and improving performance.
The Sky’s the Limit with UAV Technology
It’s no secret that technology moves and changes at the speed of light, and we’re seeing a lot of big developments for professional grade UAVs.
- Better batteries and more efficient motors lead to longer flight times and higher payloads.
- Smartphone integration provides more intuitive controls and pre-programmable flight paths.
- Innovative software tools open new and powerful ways to use data.
- Better and more specialized sensors come available all the time (they’re not just cameras anymore).
As the needs of the industry become more sharply defined, the technology rapidly develops to meet those needs, creating opportunities for greater development and expansion.
UAVs Aren’t The Tools of Tomorrow: They are Vital Now
Whether it’s more efficient workflows, transparency and documentation, or increased safety, every construction firm is looking for an edge. UAVs can provide that edge.
Efficiency isn’t just about time-management: it’s about working smarter without sacrificing speed. It’s also about working lean and getting the most out of what you’ve got. UAVs are the ultimate multi-taskers, creating flexibility while collecting information.
There’s no way to cut corners when it comes to safety; in fact, cutting corners is usually where we get into trouble. Now we can send a UAV up for inspection or site survey and never set foot on a ladder.
Data integration via cloud computing and cutting-edge software is giving us the speed and transparency our clients expect while also giving us better information, leading to better decisions.
With so many firms competing for top talent, it’s no wonder UAVs are seen as a necessary tool to meet the needs of clients right now.
What do you think? Is your firm using UAVs or considering the use of UAVs in the near future? Leave a comment below to share your views.
Watch the video below to see how the Leica Aibot CX turns data into information. To learn more about how UAVs can benefit your projects, please contact us.