NOT JUST THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY, BUT A BUSINESS TOOL
According to a study by McKinsey, construction is the world’s second largest industry (after agriculture), worth approximately $8 trillion a year. It’s surprising, then, that as an industry, construction continues to struggle with a great deal of inefficiency. The typical commercial construction project runs 80 percent over budget and 20 months behind schedule, according to the study.
It’s the classic scenario of what a job looks like on the computer versus what it actually looks like on the ground. On-site, in the pit or the trenches or the building, reality is different. And the separation between concept and reality is where about $3 trillion of that $8 trillion falls into a black hole along with a waterfall of change orders, rework and wasted material.
Drones in construction (also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs) are transforming from a technology of interest to a viable business tool that can close that gap. High-resolution imagery of jobsites obtained by drones can be uploaded online to extract actionable information. Here’s a real-world example of what one quarry has gained from drone data collection processed and analyzed in the Airware platform. Airware is Caterpillar’s business partner, providing an aerial insights drone solution to Cat dealers in more than 12 countries.
PROCESS & ANALYSIS TIME - Saved more than a week
REDUCED RISK - lower costs, safer than people on site
MORE ACCURATE - precise digital data, no guessing
EASY TO USE - cloud-based with access anywhere, anytime
SHAREABLE & SECURE - seamless secure cloud-based collaboration
We tested a fixed wing UAV in a U.S. quarry that produces between 800,000 and 1 million tons of aggregate per year. Our pilot flew three 25-minute missions over the 350-acre site, capturing thousands of images that were converted into a 3D model and other 2D models within 24 hours. Had the owner gathered the information manually, the process could have taken an extra week or more. Costs and safety risks would have been higher and the data would have been less accurate. The company is using the data in a variety of ways.
Look for drones in construction and aggregates to take off over the next few months and years. As this technology evolves, you’ll be able to combine machine data from your telematics systems with geo-spatial data from UAVs—giving you the power to take site efficiency to all-new levels.