According to a recent Interdrone white paper, “of the total global spending over the next five years on drones in the commercial market, about $11.2 billion will be generated by the construction industry, with $1.3 billion in the U.S. alone.”
Dallas-based Austin Commercial is contributing to the billions spent on construction drones after hiring 3DR to scan a newly constructed skyscraper.
Using the drone company’s proprietary Site Scan analytics platform and drone, 3DR operators flew from the top of an apartment tower and hovered down each floor shooting 30 rooftop photos and 200 “photos of the building’s exterior to create a 3D model,” according to the Houston Business Journal.
Site Scan includes a self-flying drone, a Sony UMC-R10C camera, automatic cloud processing, and delivers the data needed to use with Autodesk products or any GIS tool.
“(By using a drone), companies can get a better view, a safer view of their assets as opposed to hanging off a side of a building or using a manned helicopter.” 3DR spokesperson Jeremiah Johnson told Houston TV station KHOU.
Mapping the site alerts builders to any rooftop cracks or crooked flooring in the building. Site Scan’s maps and models, taken at regular intervals, provide “eyes-on” of project status for construction crews, subcontractors and safety personnel.
“Alongside one-click data collection, processing and analytics capabilities, Sony R10C on Site Scan integrates seamlessly with existing workflow applications so industrial users can survey, inspect and scan commercial worksites almost effortlessly,” 3DR CEO Chris Anderson said in a press release.
Success stories like Austin Commercial are expected to be the norm in the field as more construction firms around the world – from Great Britain to Africa – adopt drone-inspection technology.
According to an April report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the FAA had granted more than 1,800 exemptions to the infrastructure and construction industry at the time, comprising 60 percent of all requests across all sectors.
Whether or not drones will hover over most construction sites in the next few years remains to be seen. However, a report by the National Association of Home Builders shows that, at least in the short term, larger builders will lead the way in drone adoption rates.
According to the group’s survey, 41 percent of the largest construction firms say they will very likely use drones in the future – compared to only 13 percent of the smallest builders.