The thought of a drone being able to paint houses or build walls wasn't even a consideration too long ago, but today it's a reality. These tools are being disseminated into the daily lives of construction professionals to perform and assist with numerous physical tasks, but the instantaneous perspective they provide around how things are or are not progressing on a project might be even more valuable.

That perspective factors into the concept of “plan vs performance" on a construction project, which Dick Zhang discussed in detail with Commercial UAV News. Those are the sorts of changes we can see at a high level, but the development of buildings with drone landing docks and processes that allow UAVs to feed information to automated bulldozers showcase the specific ways the technology is changing things.

Changes in FAA regulation have defined a whole new landscape, and it will soon be easier to fly drones for various commercial activities, many of which are related to construction. Some people are concerned that opening the sky up like this will create safety issues if the airspace is filled with “cowboys” who have no regard for what it means to operate in a responsible manner. Part 107 does not go into effect until the end of August, and this topic is one that will continue to be discussed and refined as technology and rules change. That gives you time to sit back and let yourself be amazed with the video of the building for the Apple Campus 2 seen from the air. It confirms the powerful perspective a drone can provide for people involved with this kind of project, and even for those who simply want to marvel at the view.


Market Update for UAVs in Construction: Summer 2016Drones go everywhere: does privacy suffer?

A construction site survey was once a walk-around process that could take days for large areas and would never offer a global view of the project. The introduction of drones in construction has changed all that, but these tools have in turn introduced a new issue: privacy. The eye in the sky not only sees everything, but it also registers and even shares that information. How much or how little drones should be doing any of this is a question individuals and organizations are working through right now.

An article published at Sourceable touches on this question, while pointing out that the use of drones really has changed, for the better, the whole industry of construction. In fact, at London’s massive Crossrail project, “unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones are being used to support activities such as site inspections, health and safety inductions, inspections of crane or scaffolding erection and hazard and safety identification”.

But that’s not the only example. From California, where “drones automatically patrol the site of what will be a fancy new downtown stadium for the Sacramento Kings”, to Australia, where “a host of companies are lining up to offer drone photography for a range of functions throughout the design and construction process” drones are positively impacting issues around privacy in a positive way.


Market Update for UAVs in Construction: Summer 2016Drones: a future in building construction

We’ve accepted that drones are part of the construction industry, used for multiple survey tasks. But are we prepared to accept drones used in building construction? A prototype of a drone, created by Apellix, able to paint a house is already a reality, and we may be closer to the next step than we think.

Raffaello D’Andrea a Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich is focused on taking that next step. Professor D’Andrea and his team were able to design an autonomous fleet of drones capable of building a 6 meter tall tower in front of a live audience, but this is just part of the story.

In one article published at UAV Coach, Alan Perlman explores the theme while pointing to multiple examples, some of which have been laid out in great detail on our site and others. For now, he writes, scientists are taking their first steps in what might be the future of building construction.


WF_53651_uav16_Construction_Report_Photo_300x250_FinalDrones in construction: Japan at forefront

Japan is one of the most advanced areas currently using drone technology in construction. According to one article published by Construction Week Online, “Japan has made the most of integrated drone technology with UAVs in the sky over large construction sites, designed to feedback location information to automated bulldozers”. That means entire sites can be cleared without the need for human presence on-site.

While this may cause social issues in countries with unemployment problems, the truth, according to the article, is that  “automating as much as possible by using UAV monitoring could be a significant step forward in project efficiency and ensuring the safety of the workforce.” As often is the case, drones aren't eliminating jobs, but instead about re-purposing those jobs while making major impacts to issues like ROI and safety.

The article also reflects on the use of drones to monitor the reactors at the devastated Fukishima nuclear plant. For this operation, special drones have been developed that can fly unmanned to monitor the site and feedback information to a safe HQ. Fine-tuned lasers are beamed from these drones to measure any structural changes, enabling engineers to assess potential danger points during the site development. To read the whole article follow the link.


Market Update for UAVs in Construction: Summer 2016Bridging the gap between concept and reality

Drones have revealed unique possibilities when it comes to the design of buildings. Companies like Tocci have used drones to capture the view from each floor and every side of a building before the building is up, which helps them ensure future occupants will have the view and perspective that they expect they'll be able to provide.

Capturing aerial footage of the site shows developers and future tenants what the cityscape looks like around them. Having real versus rendered surroundings of the design helps to bridge the gap between a concept and the reality.

This is an exciting use for drones, reveals Tocci in the article Drones Inform Design Future. The article also reflects on future use for drones in tall buildings which includes things like window cleaning as well as a companion light for tenants returning home or the delivery of goods. It's the reason why the South Park Tower in LA has a drone landing dock.


Market Update for UAVs in Construction: Summer 2016Fly and capture data, DroneDeploy does the rest

While flying a drone is becoming a skill many people in areas like construction are becoming more and more comfortable with, making sense of all the data a drone collects is something else. That’s where DroneDeploy enters. The company created one app (iOS and Android) that allows you to fly and capture images, upload them to a “Map Engine” to generate maps and models, and analyze, annotate, and share maps right from your device of choice.

The application is free, and there's even a DroneDeploy Explorer plan that's free. However, the free version limits the number of maps and features you can use. A subscription plan opens new capabilities and may make sense for companies both large and small.

DroneDeploy launches new features regularly, like new elevation and volume tools for construction and mining. These are things that can make the job of surveying sites much easier and faster, as it can take hours instead of days. The DroneDeploy software works will all drones, says the company. Follow the link to learn more about their offering.


Market Update for UAVs in Construction: Summer 2016Drones: a cool gadget for the construction industry

While UAV technology continues to gain traction with the industry as a whole, some organizations have already identified drones as a necessity. An article from CreditSuppliers clarifies for construction professionals this by saying, “the uses and benefits of using a drone in the construction industry are practically endless. Use the UAV during the design and planning phase to create site plans, model renderings, contour maps, and site surveys. In the build phase, the drone can be used to monitor progress and inspect various areas of the project. Once the build is complete, document the project and create as-built surveys.”

The article indicates two other tools are essential to a builder: a CAT S60 Smartphone, which doubles as a thermal imaging device, and a Cool Box, considered the ultimate all-in-one toolbox. It offers things like a USB charging station, LED clock, bottle opener, detachable LED lamp, plenty of storage space for tools and many other features. The third item is the Kespry drone. They are considered by the article to be the “Top 3 Coolest Tech Gadgets in the Construction Industry”.

Credit Suppliers creates the conditions for users to buy those products, including the Kespry drone for professional use. Kespry products are built specifically for the construction professional.


Drones in construction: 5 good reasons to use them

Drones are no longer just an exciting new technology, but are becoming more and more vital to a project and being put to use everyday. On many construction sites drones are becoming an indispensable part of working life, and it’s easy to see why. One article recently published, “5 reasons why drones should be used in construction” identifies just some of the reasons to use drones.

Utilizing aerial photography to showcase the project sits at the top of the list, but video is not forgotten. Video can be used as a marketing tool to show investors and buyers progress at the construction site. Monitoring of the work comes next, and the safety implications of the technology are also mentioned here.

Priorities will vary for individual users and organizations, but the truth is that drones are making a huge impact on the market. They are changing the way the construction industry approaches monitoring, marketing and safety. Follow the link to read the whole article.


Market Update for UAVs in Construction: Summer 2016No more “cowboys” flying drones

Companies in the construction and infrastructure industries filed for and received thousands of Section 333 Exceptions with the FAA. It was a process that was supposed to take a few weeks, but sometimes took sometimes up to nine months. The new rules under Part 107 came as a relief and will allow organizations to legally get a drone into the air that much faster.

Industry groups hope that the new regulations eliminate "cowboys" who have been operating outside any rules. That’s the theme of an article titled, “Banishing 'cowboys' from the skies: New drone rules encourage safe, expanded construction industry use” published by Construction Dive. The piece focuses on the importance of safety and gives the example of companies working according to the regulations.

The article mentions that for one service provider, “business was already on the upswing prior to the FAA's decision, but ever since the announcement of the new rules, his company has received calls from potential customers who want to now move forward with a drone program.” It's an indication of just how much Part 107 changes for construction professionals.


Market Update for UAVs in Construction: Summer 2016Drone flies over Apple’s “flying saucer”

It looks as if a flying saucer landed in Cupertino, California, but it hasn't. That's not a flying saucer, but instead is the Apple Campus 2 seen from the air, with a DJI Phantom 3 Professional capturing video of the construction site. Edited by Matthew Roberts, the footage does not need many words. It shows why drones are an excellent tool for survey, monitoring and as aerial platforms for photography and video.

The article published by Market Watch, titled, “You have to see Apple’s spaceship-like campus — it has a 100,000-square-foot gym” centers on the building itself, but there is still space to remind readers that “the drone footage was shot by Matthew Roberts, who has been documenting the construction site with a new video every month on his DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone, which retails for $999.”

To see the different videos, all in 4K, created the last four months, visit the author's page on YouTube. There you'll also find a video of the construction of the new NVIDIA headquarters.