This post originally appeared on http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-39988-me-could-learn-from-japans-construction-drones/.
[Editor’s Note: Drones are being used to survey a site in minutes, instead of days or weeks.]
Construction could rely increasingly on drone technology, thereby enhancing efficiency and safety on site.
The Middle Est can learn from Japan, when it comes to fully utilising drone technology in construction.
Drones are used for a variety of tasks, especially in construction, primarily for surveying.
They can conduct a survey in minutes, opposed to days or even weeks for large-site surveys done on foot.
This includes all types of surveys – from topographic to LiDAR (a surveying technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser light) to hydrographic for offshore construction.
The process can be conducted faster and at less cost, with far more data collected than by manual collection.
Other uses include site security, monitoring site progress, and using footage to create marketing tools for future projects.
While the trend is catching on in the Middle East, Japan is one of the most advanced areas currently using drone technology in construction.
There are two unique developments here: the first is to monitor the reactors at the devastated Fukishima nuclear plant.
For this operation, special drones have been developed that can fly unmanned to monitor the site and feedback information to a safe HQ.
With the ability to replace its own batteries, a constant flight is made possible – which is vital for such a precarious structure.
Fine-tuned lasers are beamed from these drones to measure any structural changes, enabling engineers to assess potential danger points during the site development.
The other is in construction.
Drones are moving to the forefront in construction and Japan has made the most of integrated drone technology with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the sky over large construction sites, designed to feedback location information to automated bulldozers.
This means entire sites can be cleared without the need for a single worker to be on-site.
While this is essential in Japan’s current workforce as they face increasing problems of an aging population no longer able to work in construction and a limited younger generation moving into the sector, the benefits to the Middle East could be vast, with the huge labour force presently working on the infra projects throughout the region.
Automating as much as possible by using UAV monitoring could be a significant step forward in project efficiency and ensuring the safety of the workforce.