Three Great Drones for Construction Jobsites

This post originally appeared on http://americasbackbone.com/evolve/three-great-drones-for-construction-jobsites/.

[Editor’s Note: Highlights the commercial drones available from Kespry, Sensefly and Skycatch]

Precision aerial documentation for construction sites is soaring to new heights with three commercial drones changing the imaging landscape. Top picks for business owners looking to invest in drone technology include Skycatch autonomous drones, Kespry automated drones, and the eBee drone by Sensefly, according to James Benham, CEO of Bryan, TX-based JB Knowledge, a technology solutions firm serving the construction and insurance industries.

Out of the Box
“(Skycatch and Kespry) are both out-of-the box drone systems that allow 3D scanning and do 3D as-builts using an autonomous drone,” says Benham. Specifically, these two drones perform 3D volumetric analysis, meaning they can measure the volume of a dirt pile and how much that changes in a day, helping you manage workflows and costs by reducing delays and excess inventory.

Not only is pile measurement quicker; drones can provide continuous coverage: the Kespry flies up to 70 acres per flight. Skycatch’s SkyOne firmware can map more than 25,000 acres. Both drones are fully automated, self-controlled, and battery operated. “The Skycatch battery lasts about 20 minutes but it will change its own battery and launch again,” says Benham.

Absolute Ground Truth
Benham also highly recommends the eBee drone for survey mapping. It covers up to 12 square kilometers in a single flight, and captures high resolution aerial images with a ground sample distance (GSD) of down to 1.5 cm/pixel. Its fully integrated workflow measures distances, takes cross sections, and extracts volume data, making recording site data faster, more reliable, and more accurate.

Businesses large and small can reap the benefits of drone technology. “It doesn’t depend so much on the size of the company,” says Benham. “It depends on the size of project.”

If it’s your first foray into droning, Benham suggests you try one out in the comfort of your own backyard. “I think they need to become familiar with drones by buying a personal drone,” says Benham. “(Purchase) a $1200 Phantom or new Typhoon. It will help you learn what it’s like to pilot and operate a drone. Become a hobbyist before launching into a commercial droning system.”

Once you’re ready to take flight with a commercial drone for your construction business, be sure to look into these three drones: Skycatch, Kespry and Sensfly. They’ll save you time, reduce errors and boost your productivity.

SooJi Min is a freelance writer and nonprofit executive based in Ann Arbor, MI. She has written on small business topics for Crain’s, Imagination Publishing and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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