Untapped Potential of Drone Technology and solutions
Drones. You know, those overpriced gadgets that kids sometimes receive on birthdays and Christmas. It’s those things that create that annoying buzzing sound when you’re just trying to enjoy the calm in beautiful nature. When that happens, sometimes you wish these gadgets were never invented in the first place. Although it may seem like drones benefit the trendy few, if you dig a little deeper, you may find a significant amount of untapped potential that drone technology and solutions can bring to your industry.
Let’s think back to when our thoughts were so rudely interrupted by this droning noise. The kid trying to operate this machine is really just trying to get some cool aerial shots and videos for his Instagram account. Drone technology benefits him since he gets to share this stunning aerial view with everyone he knows. Now in the construction industry, we get to use drone technology to take aerial shots of construction sites. When we combine these images with post-processing and analytical software, we have accurate, real-time, and digestible data at our disposal, helping construction managers make intelligent business decisions.
Using drone technology to provide accurate near real-time status updates of construction projects gives invaluable and previously unattainable oversight of site progress and issues. Using traditional methods such as manned planes and satellites for image capture can be costly, too low in detail, and quite impractical for smaller areas. Drones have proven to be a reliable technology for gathering highly detailed data quickly and frequently for small to medium areas. In addition to the high spatial resolution of imagery, drones have a low operational cost than the other methods mentioned while allowing for increased operational flexibility.
Going beyond just image capture, digital twins or 3D models are a technology of growing demand and capability in the past few years. These digital twins can provide rich visual information on on-site progress, facilitating quick responses to issues, and transparent real-time decision making. In a workplace where reliable information is passed up the command chain, clunky documentation and reports can impinge on valuable decision-making and action times. Using traditional surveying and progress inspection methods relies on the surveyors’ skills to document and present information; however, high-quality digital twins provide an objective, clear cut information source directly to all stakeholders. When all stakeholders can refer to one exact source of information, project members can collaborate more confidently. Disputes can be minimised and quickly resolved with a single source of objective, sharable, and trackable visual data. Conveying data can become more transparent and straightforward, leading to overall increases in productivity and efficiency.
Propeller Aero, a cloud-based visualisation and analytics platform, has found one of the highest inhibitors to productivity to be manual reporting in the construction industry, with 50% of all construction professionals still manually preparing and processing daily reports.
These digital twins can also be used to compare the construction site’s state against the original designs or blueprint. Since drone surveying can produce large amounts of high-quality data, it can be used for many purposes. Another application is the overlay between the design blueprint and the construction progress. This capability makes it much easier to tell whether the site progress is being built according to plan or whether changes need to be made.
Drone technologies significant potential goes beyond strictly design and construction tasks, It can also prove to be invaluable for general site risk management. Each year, there are roughly 63,000 serious construction site accidents. The low operational cost associated with drones means that management can carry out more frequent site inspections to assess daily site risks. With this new perspective, management can actively assess site risks and clean up before an accident occurs. With recurrent site-auditing, onsite and offsite personnel can proactively keep everyone safe.
This large capture of digital information also allows for flexibility in interaction. While the traditional survey only aims to inform about a specific area of the site, the drone surveying process can accumulate large amounts of information into an accurate 3D digital twin or replica using powerful software. Once these 3D digital twins have been created, project stakeholders and decision-makers can quickly search for the information they need to continue the project in a simple, intuitive, and visually precise way.
Aivia Group provides drone mapping and surveying services, collecting data as outlined above, and giving clients access to the site’s 3D digital twin. Clients will have access to, but are not limited to, the following capabilities:
This is the creation of 2D maps that are accurately georeferenced and made according to scale. According to client needs, resolutions and sizes can be appropriately tailored. The resolution that is available can be up to identify objects as small as a bolt for a total image capture area of 60 ha.
Stockpile and Pit Volumes
Survey data contains 3D measurements that can be used for accurate analysis of stockpile and pit volumes. Remaining stockpiles of materials and current pit volumes can be measured to monitor site progress.
The newly surveyed area is saved on the cloud, overlayed with past and future surveys to give stakeholders a visual and intuitive trend analysis. A report of this comparison is easily exportable from our client portal to help stakeholder make decisions such as:
- Ordering the appropriate amount of material required onsite.
- Considering whether contracted work is completed to the required specification.
Cross-section analysis tools can be used within the online portal and can provide detailed insight into the site’s progress with the ability to compare multiple survey datasets against design surfaces.
Elevation and gradient mapping
Contour lines, elevation and gradient maps can be overlayed onto orthoimagery for quick site inspection and the .KML files then be easily imported into other CAD or BIM software for further processing.
So next time a kid is playing with his drone at the park and you are reminded by this buzzing noise, remember that there are untold capabilities behind this simple machine.
Aivia Group has a team of professionally trained and licensed RPAS pilots. Our full suite of insurances, along with our strict safety and risk management control process, can reassure clients that they’ve chosen the right drone service provider to partner with.
Contact Aivia today to learn more about how drone technology can benefit you.
Author: Jessica Yuan