When it comes to the future of drones and data collection, it’s beneficial to show as well as tell.
How to decide which capture technology to use for construction project management is a hot topic these days. And while the use of drones is a growing trend in engineering and construction, other industries are reaping the benefits of this technology as well. Drone technology is improving data collection for multiple industries including telecommunications, critical infrastructure, and energy sector including wind and solar farms, as well as municipalities.
In a recent LinkedIn Live event now available to watch on demand, Oracle Industries Innovation Lab Vice President Burcin Kaplanoglu hosts an engaging show-and-tell session involving drone technology with Gregg Schkade, senior capture technician, and Brent Slawnikowski, director, business development, of Virtual Technology Simplified. VTS, based in Brighton, Michigan, is a reality capture company that flies drones to create 3D models from just about any on-the-job environment imaginable.
In the session’s first half, Schkade literally shows what a drone can do, launching and piloting a drone equipped to perform a photogrammetry scan capture of a steel structure inside the innovation lab. With a split screen of Schkade and the drone capturing images, he discusses how drones save time and money.
It can take up to two weeks for a person on the ground to survey a plot of land, while a VTS drone can complete the task in about 20 minutes and have a 3D deliverable ready moments later. Schkade also offers a glimpse of what it takes to work with drones, and notes that they save time, money, and manpower.
“It also creates a safer work environment,” he says. “Putting people on a construction site with heavy machinery can cause safety concerns. Drones alleviate that problem.”
Slawnikowski then discusses who is using drone technology in construction project management, how drones are reshaping various industries, how the infrastructure bill could impact drone use, and even the investment required to start a drone program.
As to what type of data to collect, Slawnikowski says it typically it starts with a deliverable. Working backwards with a client trying to understand what it is that they’re trying to extract from their projects, whether it’s at the start of a project, mid-level, or the end drives which drone systems to use and what payload technology will provide the best data.
“You’ll see construction firms using drones at the beginning of a project to do site assessment, and sometimes they’ll use it for daily progression,” he says. But further along in the process some general contractors will use drones as steel starts to be erected.
“I’ve even seen use cases where they’ll be doing it for concrete conditions and analysis; that’s where you enter the building,” which requires more sophisticated and expensive systems.
While an initial investment in capture technology can be as low as several thousand dollars, more sophisticated payloads and systems like the bigger drones are between $50,000-$100,000. Terrestrial lidar scanners and mobile mapping systems can cost six digits, he adds. “The technology investment can be substantial but also the payoff can be as well,” he says.
After you watch the LinkedIn Live session, learn more about the digital revolution taking place in construction and engineering. And check out more LinkedIn Live sessions.
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