A lot of people have heard about drones lately. The machines that most people automatically think of when they hear the word are small flying devices with cameras on them. People remotely control these drones to take amazing aerial pictures or zoom through areas where people can’t really fit or otherwise get to.
Some also think of the military drones that are used to remotely guide missiles.
However, there are other types of drones out there, and some of them are in the construction business.
These construction drones are actually capable of building buildings, bridges, and other things. There are a number of different types of construction drones in use today.
The standard type of flying drone has been applied to the construction world, of course. It’s used to conduct aerial surveys and for taking progression pictures. This can help supervisors get an idea of exactly where their project stands or see what areas may need to be cleared or leveled before construction begins. These images can be merged with 3D wire frames of the blueprints to visually see how the project is moving along. It’s a much more impressive way of giving a client a project update.
They can also be used to inspect construction sites that are damaged or have collapsed due to natural disasters or other incidents.
Standard drones like these are easy to operate and quite affordable, which makes them very popular in the industry. Due to the precise way in which these drones can be flown by their operators, it’s easy to get in close to see the exact details that you’re looking for or back out to see the project at a grander scale.
Drones are used in warehouses to select and deliver items, and they can serve the same function on a construction site. If crews are building skyscrapers, for example, and realize that they need more nails, certain tools, or other items, a flying drone can be used to deliver the items to the crew. They don’t need to move back and forth as much. All they have to do is call for a drone delivery or, if they have a tablet or smart phone, control their own drone and fetch what they need.
As anyone in the industry can imagine, this kind of material delivery has the potential to save countless labor hours and lots of now unnecessary expenses. Drones are very intelligent and have made leaps in bounds in terms of safety as well.
Modern drones are very aware of where they’re flying and can automatically avoid collisions, crashes, and the like. Because of this, no one on the crew has to be afraid of losing materials, drones, or the like.
Many businesses work with companies such as Techware for construction software for drone programs and other computer needs.
Drones can be equipped with many different tools and can be used to actually perform some construction tasks. For example, they can screw in screws or tighten bolts. Drones working in teams can place large sheets of metal, carry spools of wire, and even lay pipes. A skilled controller and well-made drone can do a lot without ever needing a live person to get into the area. Of course, drones can’t do everything (yet), but they can certainly help. These drones are perfect for working in small areas or dangerous places.
Drones with this kind of precision aren’t as readily available on the market today, but they do exist. In the next five to ten years, we’re expecting to see more of these drones come into play to help complete simpler tasks so that people don’t have to enter hazardous areas or get to hard-to-reach elements.
While it might be assumed that drones are coming to steal jobs, we’re not expecting to see that happen any time soon. Drones are most effective when operated by a human. If anything, drone pilots with construction knowhow will be in demand within the next few years. Of course, this will present many new challenges and opportunities for those in charge of managing construction sites.
3D Printer Drones
These drones are on the cutting edge of technology and are still in the early testing phases. Each 3D printer drone either has a small reservoir of printer material or is connected to a supply of it. They then use the ejectors on the tips of their “fingers” to print the material. One of the earliest tests of this type of construction drone is currently being done in Amsterdam, where 3D printers are being used to print a steel bridge across a short canal.
Do you think drones are the future of the construction industry? Weigh in with your thoughts below!