Drones Drop in on Construction

December 24, 2013

Will a drone fly onto your jobsite in 2014? These radio-controlled devices with a mounted camera can take video and photo of a jobsite from high above the site. The use of these devices is gaining interest in construction.

Just last week, Swedish startup Spotscale, www.spotscale.com, Linkoping, Sweden, began deploying multi-rotor drones equipped with the company’s new image capturing solution. Designed for use by real estate developers, city planning offices, and construction companies, the drones provide companies with precise 3D models of buildings and surrounding areas.

The product—called Spotscale Models—produces 3D, photo-realistic digital images of structures that can be rotated on a tablet or computer. The images provide much closer detail than Internet-mapping applications permits, according to the company.

PEAB Sverige AB, www.peab.com, Förslöv Sweden, is using the 3D images when planning changes to a building or trying to figure out where to move a road. Andreas Furenber, chief technology officer, PEAB Sverige AB, says it’s not just a street view or a bird’s eye view either—it’s something in between.

In addition to providing a visual representation on a tablet or computer, these models can be used with 3D printers to create miniature physical scale models in plastic, metal, glass, or other materials. The Malmo municipality planning authority uses the 3D models, along with the 3D printers, and says the models come out automatically within just a few hours and having the original building in color and another showing a rebuild is a very powerful tool.

These ‘drones’ aren’t an entirely new phenomenon to the construction industry. Richard Evans, IT Manager, SpawGlass, www.spawglass.com, San Antonio, Texas, is using drones from a marketing and customer relation aspect, providing project owners with progress photos and videos of a job in a lot more detail.
 
The opportunities for the use of drones in the construction industry are continuing to expand. Certainly, more construction jobsites may soon see a flying object over head, capturing photos, videos, and more to create a visual representation of the jobsite.