Civil engineering is in an era of transformation. Traditional methods of site surveying are changing and are becoming more informed by technologies.

Drone technology is assisting many different industries in the built environment to become more cognizant of studying the big picture. Drones can now monitor places from a heightened position, offering engineers further insight into the projects they are involved with. 

A notable use of drone technology is monitoring crops on farms. These images are then fed into computer software that informs farmers whether or not it's time for harvest. Plus, drone technology can inform other autonomous machines about where to harvest and ensure that it's being done in an efficient manner. Monitoring data is also sent to remote teams that make judgment calls.
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The Independent featured Lamberto Frescobaldi in an article about drone technology. He is the head of a 700-year-old Tuscan vineyard, which is undergoing a new construction project. The site is being monitored from above by drone technology, to help engineers keep an eye on the whole construction process.

The drone data can help the engineers make decisions on-the-fly, more accurately than they would have without the technology. Drone technology can help engineers mitigate equipment failure. It can also assist in general surveillance of the construction site, which is a huge plus for engineers.

New research published by Frost & Sullivan indicates that the implementation of drone technology at construction sites around the world is not slowing down. This research is entitled ‘Global Digital Transformation on the Building and Construction Sector, Forecast to 2025’.

The authors warn that a failure to adopt digital transformation will result in inefficient construction projects. Companies that don't adapt may be surpassed by those who are implementing these newer technologies into their projects. An excerpt from the report reads:

“Despite the increasing availability of digital solutions, the industry has to overcome the challenge of rolling out technology across multiple sites, subsectors, and stakeholders. The way forward will be a platform that promotes interoperability. The regulatory framework has to be strengthened as well and the overall perception of industry stakeholders has to be debunked to enhance awareness and the willingness to invest in this digital transformation journey.”

Another overlooked benefit of the drone technology is the safety of on-site personnel. For example, when skyscrapers are being constructed, fewer workers would need to be hoisted up for external surveying. Instead, inspectors could examine the drone footage.

For the higher-ups of engineering companies, the benefits are even clearer. Mike Winn, the chief executive of drone company DroneDeploy, told the Independent:

“The head office can see what’s going on, and the safety team, the costing team, the designers - all of them can contribute to the project, share data and comment on it, without actually going to the job.”

Consequently, construction companies and engineers who do not familiarize themselves with the digital transformation occurring in the industry risk not being able to level up when the majority of companies transform. The uses of drone technology in the construction sector are growing every year — making construction sites more efficient, safer, interconnected, and far removed from what they were in the past.

 

Works Cited

Madigan, Nick. “How Drones Are Revolutionising Construction and Real Estate.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 1 Sept. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/design/drones-revolutionising-construction-real-estate-how-architecture-a8512021.html.

ltd, Research and Markets. “Global Digital Transformation on the Building and Construction Sector, Forecast to 2025.” Research and Markets - Market Research Reports - Welcome, www.researchandmarkets.com/research/htcjm2/global_digital?w=5.