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June 14, 2021

Drones in Construction: Drone Trends

Drones have the ability to drastically reduce costs and improve efficiency on large construction sites.

They are much cheaper to utilise than manned aircraft and possess the capability to record data far quicker than human surveyors. When combined with appropriately designed data recording software, they possess the ability to record information at a level of accuracy that was previously impossible. Drones can be used to record images of construction progress from the air, meaning that contractors and architects can demonstrate progress to clients in real time and on demand.

Drone Trends

Listed below are the key drone trends impacting the drones industry theme, as identified by GlobalData.

Limited uptake and investment

Despite its potential and the ongoing narrative surrounding the possibilities for drones to replace many existing processes within construction, there is currently a limited level of investment in the use of drones in the construction sector, and a minimal amount planned for the future, as demonstrated by GlobalData’s New Technology in Construction report from December 2019. While drones may not currently exhibit the investment levels as seen in some of the other innovations analysed, their long-term potential remains strong. This is due to the high number of uses they can offer, and their potential to replace traditional processes once the necessary software has been developed and becomes price effective.

Safety on site

Application of drones for collecting of visual data for particularly difficult to reach parts of the building site, and aerial data ensuring less exposure for site workers on the ground to these dangers.

Beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) regulations to increase relevance

The uptake of drones in construction is currently being held back due to visual line of sight (VLOS) regulations. The predicted relaxation of these regulations in North America and Europe will make drones more applicable to this sector, with the introduction of BVLOS enabling drones to be used more effectively over large sites.

Drones-as-a-service (DaaS) for construction companies

The gradual emergence of DaaS companies will make drones accessible for smaller companies, or those unwilling to invest in the technology directly.

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Virtual design and construction (VDC) and drones

In the near future, it is expected that partnerships between drone companies and IT companies will aid in the areas of mapping and visualisation, 3D models for use in commercial environments, and drone swarms, such as the recent collaboration between Kespry and SAP.

This is an edited extract from the Drones in Construction – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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