Ten years ago, the concept of drone technology was something that many people perceived to be a purely futuristic idea that wouldnât affect their day to day activities any time soon. Only a few years back, the idea of drones brought with it negative connotations in relation to war, for example with the use of spying planes and attacks on terrorists.
However, times have moved on, and now we are beginning to see the use of drones within things such as capturing live events, delivering small items and law enforcement, as well as in the film industry and to look after and check upon wildlife. 2015 even saw rock band Muse set out on a âDrones World Tourâ, but the question is whether this technology can have a positive effect on the construction industry?
According to the CNA, many general contractors and trades are finding that drones have turned out to be an important technological innovation in the industry. Benefits of the technology include providing live video feed on sites, site inspections and material mapping, as well as extra capabilities such as virtual barriers and 3D models.
Drones could have the potential to reduce costs, efficiency and safety on a site in the long term, and it is estimated that 7,500 small commercial drones will be in use for construction by 2018. However, there are also many potential risks involved!
Mike Ahern, the Assistant Vice President (Underwriting for Construction) at the CAN, has commented, A percentage of those drones will be utilised on construction sites, from pre-construction planning to daily management of the work site, but pilot error, misdirected landings, GPS failure and interference with overhead transmission lines poses significant risks from drone use.
It seems a daunting thought that this drone technology could be implemented on a widespread basis, but if it brings benefits to the industry then maybe we will start to see them introduced over the course of the next few years!