In construction, where projects often come in over budget and late, drone companies, and reservations agents such as Flex Air Aviation, which schedules a range of drone services as well as training for companies, make a big difference by reducing planning time, visual inspections and problem-solving.
“Some companies are interested in buying the hardware, buying the software, and building things out internally,” says Jeffrey Freund, Vice President at Firmatek, a data analytics firm using drones to service the construction and mining industries. “Other companies aren’t interested in taking that route and want to outsource everything or rent/lease the products. Companies can and should make whatever choice is best suited to them, but many are still trying to figure out the true value of having drones on site..”
A drone program can help engineers and managers focus on their responsibilities, rather than getting sidelined by construction project problems.
“These resources are usually better suited to help with the actual construction projects themselves rather than flying drones,” Freund told Commercial UAV News.”
Drones create real and definable value for construction companies. Using sensors with telematics, drones can recognize when a worker may be in trouble, on a hot day, for example. Also, supervisors who can’t visit the worksite can carry out inspections through drone-captured images. Also, a drone inspection can assess damage to a structure caused by weather, theft or vandalism.
“We’re finally getting to where we can fly and monitor projects on a weekly and monthly basis. Stakeholders are seeing how the technology can help when it comes to comparing the as-designed with the as-built, and how things are moving around on a site. These are things where you’re not going to know about the true benefit until some of these projects are completed,” says Freund.
Timesaving is just one advantage of drones. They also make a hazardous workplace like a construction site much safer, with improved surveillance, which benefits a firm’s bottom line.
“Many of these larger construction sites have heavy machinery moving all over the place,” Freund continued. “There are slip and fall hazards all the time, and some companies have moved forward with using drone technology based on the safety value alone. The value of increasing safety, just from a time delay perspective, can be incredible. If someone can get a drone in the air and see what they needed to see or even more than they can by walking around a site, I think that’s a huge safety benefit.”
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