Drones Break Boundaries – The Hindu | Ad On Picture

Technology is changing the construction industry: drones promise to increase efficiency and help project managers to keep an eye on developments

Technology is changing the construction industry: drones promise to increase efficiency and help project managers to keep an eye on developments

Construction is one of the most demanding processes that requires a huge amount of work and time. These difficulties include risking workers’ lives during construction, surveying the entire scene, inspecting the works, loading heavy metals and bricks, and so on. McKinsey’s report claims there are many inefficiencies in the construction sector. Large construction projects often go over budget by 20% and take 20% longer than expected to complete. Despite the significant long-term benefits, the industry has been slower than other industries in adopting new digital technologies.

reporting accuracy

More recently, however, a new and digitally-led era has unfolded in the construction industry, which is now striving to integrate advances to ensure smooth operations.

Among other technologies, drones have seen faster adoption and contributed to a number of industry advances, including better reporting accuracy, security safeguards, cost savings, and increased productivity. Once a property has been purchased, drones can be used throughout the construction process. They can be used for everything from land surveys to construction progress, hyperlapse footage to inspecting building structure, presenting live progress to clients and stakeholders, and remote reporting via live video.


The risk of accidents for workers is obviously reduced when they can monitor and check hard-to-reach locations or areas without having to physically go there. In addition, securing the work area so that only authorized workers can access it is another aspect of safety on a construction site. Workers can fly a drone and inspect photos without putting themselves in danger rather than climbing utility poles or poorly constructed scaffolding, using ropes to assess plant elements, or working near busy highways. Raw images from the drones offer an even higher level of detail as they have not been processed and can be very useful for inspection and analysis of assets.

In the construction industry, a drone is mostly used for surveying and inspection tasks. Drones have downward-facing sensors such as RGB, multispectral, thermal or LIDAR and can quickly collect a lot of aerial data. The ground, its features and buildings are photographed from different angles with an RGB camera during a drone survey and coordinates are assigned to each image. These highly accurate, geotagged photos can be used for facilities and inspections, e.g. B. roofs of buildings or places that are difficult to access. They can also be used to keep tabs on areas such as railways, roads, and rows of vegetation over long distances. By combining the photos, the photogrammetry software can advance the technique and create georeferenced 2D maps.

There is great potential for using drone data to improve the operations of companies that develop and operate massive infrastructure such as roads, trains, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, airports, industrial complexes, oil and gas operations and energy complexes. Because of their size and complexity, these projects face a myriad of issues that technology can help address, including time-consuming and expensive surveying, the ability to identify construction defects early, penalties for missed deadlines, and communication gaps between contractors and stakeholders. It can also assist stakeholders in conducting an effective survey to avoid post-construction financial obligations due to poor maintenance and subsequent environmental damage.

three phase cycle

Preliminary planning and tendering: With the help of aerial drone footage, engineers can better plan construction projects. Once engineers get our hands on it, we can start improving it. In other words, it saves money. A drone can quickly fly over a construction site and report on its condition. With the help of high-resolution drone photos, project managers can keep an eye on developments, make informed decisions and create accurate site plans.

Planning and design: The same images captured by drones can then be used as a basis for the work of others, including architects, local government officials and engineers, throughout the planning phase. Drone orthophotos and 3D models can be used to overlay structures with their surroundings to get a decent idea of ​​how a new building might look next to an existing one.

Execution and maintenance: A point cloud of thousands of points, each with geographic and visual data, can be generated from drone images. One can then perform a cut/fill analysis and obtain precise volume measurements using photogrammetry software. The amount of earth moved determines how much a contractor is paid. The amount of earth can be measured with such accuracy.

The payment margin is lower in these calculations due to highly accurate drone data. Even time-lapse videos can help track progress over a period of time. The ability to overlay the CAD on top of the orthophoto is one of the most dramatic benefits of accurate site visualization. This way we can check what is built and what is planned to go together by comparing the two.

For example, when a project milestone has been reached and the client wants to ensure that all work has been completed to the best possible standard, this milestone serves as a basis for further development. So if something is done wrong, progress can eventually stall and one may have to abandon previous work. Up-to-date visual data can help identify failures before they manifest themselves, saving demolition and the wasted time and resources it entails.

Maintenance is often neglected because it costs time and money and adds little value to the business, at least in normal operation. However, if you face a serious problem due to lack of maintenance, you can be held liable and lose a lot of money. Companies can visually inspect large assets or those located in hard-to-reach areas faster and cheaper by sending drones into the air.

technology involved

The hardware used in the manufacture of construction drones is robustly built with state-of-the-art design, lightweight ultra-high definition camera with longer range and requires fewer accessories. Simple mobile or tablet devices can be used to deploy and manage software devices. These programs pave the way for counter-error responses and a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI).

Undoubtedly, the drone market is growing rapidly, which is great news for the construction industry. As there are more objects to transport on construction sites or to transport to unexpected heights, modern cargo UAVs will be more manageable. It’s reasonable to conclude that as long as technology can handle zoning and federal-level aviation regulations, the commercial drone is here to stay. AI controlled drones will likely soon be able to self-manage in any area, eliminating the need for human controllers.


Drones can be categorized into Fixed Wing, Rotary, and Vtol (vertical takeoff and landing). Especially for construction companies, rotary drones are better as long as the area is not very large. Thermal drones are also used, but mainly for structural analysis and night surveillance.

The author is CEO and Founder of VFLYX India and XBOOM Utilities.

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