The Eye in the Sky: How Drones are Transforming the Construction Industry

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There is no doubt that advances in construction have led to increased levels of safety and decreased project completion times. However, we may very well be entering into a new era in the construction industry thanks to the presence of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Let’s look at various aspects of construction and how these state-of-the-art devices are literally transforming the entire sector from the ground up.

Surveying Needs

In the past, surveying a parcel of land (particularly a large one) would require areal footage from a plane or helicopter. The amount of money spent for what what could be a limited return on investment, meant that the negatives outweighed the positives. Drones are beginning to make this concern irrelevant. Remotely piloted vehicles are also able to mitigate the chances of human error on a fly past, which are often associated with more traditional surveying methods (1).

Architectural Inspection

One of the issues involved with large building projects is making certain that the exterior is up to scratch. This would have involved a manual inspection only a handful of years ago. Such a task could be quite dangerous for structures hundreds of metres into the air (2). Drones have the ability to hover literally inches away from a superstructure, inspecting important areas such as joints, welds and seams that can be examined in greater detail than ever would have thought possible with traditional methods.

Job Site Security

A major concern for any contractor revolves around how secure a site is during the entire build process. It is possible that a number of expensive materials could be stolen or vandalised, setting back the entire project for days or weeks. This is an obvious concern in regards to contractual obligations and completion dates. Drones can now monitor a location 24 hours a day and seven days a week if necessary. As they are able to effectively augment an existing security scheme, their contribution to maintaining site integrity is invaluable.

Planning

In conjunction with standard blueprints, construction projects first need to be visualised with the help of three-dimensional software animation such as AutoCAD, sketchup or VectorWorks. Thanks to the 4k high-definition capabilities of drones, real-time data can be streamed and downloaded in seconds. Visualisation metrics can then be transferred to proprietary three-dimensional visualisation software (3). Although many articles point out that such technology is still in its infancy, the power of these applications becomes obvious.

Transportation and Deliveries

One surprising advantage associated with many drones is their ability to transport materials to the site itself. This has already been demonstrated in referenced to companies such as Amazon. Some of the advantages which are associated within this logistical field include:

  • The prospect of delivering goods to a site in a fraction of the time that would normally be required.
  • Standard traffic laws are no longer a concern.
  • An ability to manoeuvre with greater precision.
  • The delivery of schematics, contracts and other important documents.

We should note that drones (as of yet) do not have the capacity to handle heavy payloads. Most payloads will only weigh a few kilogrammes. Still, these devices are able to greatly enhance the efficacy of a normal delivery schedule.

Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles are set to have a massive impact within the construction industry in the coming years. While they will never replace skilled workers, their benefits cannot be denied. To learn more, it is always wise to keep up to date with our latest posts and news releases. It will be quite interesting to see what the future has in store.
Carey London Drones

We employed the services of construction drones supplied by SkyFly Video to inform the build process on our sites in Clapham, Mayfair, Hampstead, Cambridge & Ancaster House.

Sources:

1.http://constructionmgmt.about.com/od/Construction-Company-Owners/fl/6-Ways-Drones-Are-Affecting-the-Construction-Industry.htm
2.http://acceleratorcentre.com/2016/03/waterloo-startup-uses-drones-inspect-buildings/
3.http://www.equipmentworld.com/drones/

Ancaster House

Carey London Ltd is delighted to announce that we have secured our latest project for developer London Square. Having successfully completed four projects for them in the recent past we are delighted to continue our successful partnership with them. The project is located in Richmond, West London. Construction will commence on site immediately with our work set to last approximately 5 months.

Innovative construction projects from around the world – The Hyperloop

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Understanding the Hyperloop

Looking back at the transport industry, it difficult to help but marvel at the brilliant inventions in the industry that have changed the world. Since the invention of the wheel, the industry has never looked back, with each invention speeding up travel, from the Stephenson’s Rocket to the Japanese Bullet train. The industry has done it yet again with the development of the Hyperloop, which promises to define the present and future of transportation. A Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system developed by a transport entrepreneur Elon Musk, which involves reduced pressure tubes in which the pressurized capsules travel on an air cushion by air compressors and induction motors.

The technology behind the Hyperloop

According to Yahoo tech news, the Hyperloop will connect people cut a six-hour drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco to just 30 minutes. Elon, the idea proprietor, indicates that the Hyperloop will be three times faster than the fastest bullet train on the planet. Also known as the fifth form of transportation, the Hyperloop is designed to carry individuals over long distances inside pods moving through large tubes which have their pressure reduced to almost vacuum. In essence, large air inlets on the front side of the pods will pull air and push it underneath them which create cushions of air for the pods to float on. The Hyperloop avoids friction and resistance caused by wheels by riding on air which makes it more aerodynamic. The systems tubes are suspended above the ground by pylons which are parts of a self-sustaining setup.

Is Hyperloop the future of transportation?

When Musk revealed the Hyperloop idea in 2013 with a 57 page concept paper, it was met with equal shares of endorsements and criticism. Forbes technology author Bruce Upbin points out that the idea was quickly thought by some as a science fiction innovation. Today, the idea is slowly becoming a reality. However, it is difficult to overstate this innovation as the ultimate future of transport. Why so? There are various logistical and engineering challenges, for example, earthquake proofing, saftey and security that require solving.

On the flipside, the Hyperloop could drastically change the world as the fifth form of transport just as the first four modes; boats, trains, vehicles, and planes brought massive change. The Hyperloop will also overs a transition from pollution, congestion, death and delay caused by the first four modes of transport. Tentatively speaking, if the proprietors can solve the challenges associated with this form of transport, then it is safe to say that the future is bright.

Construction efforts and progress

In August 2013, Dirk Ahlborn started a crowdsourcing platform made up of 100 engineers, developers and scientist that were interested in the idea. They decided to adopt the Hyperloop as their initial project. 90 days later the team had successfully incorporated Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and released an initial tubes design in 2014. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies then acquired a 5-mile land stretch in California where they are to build the Hyperloop. Currently, Hyperloop Technologies is building a 2-mile test track in the Nevada desert with an 11-foot-diameter tube.

Doubts about the Hyperloop

Despite the commendable progress mad to ensure the technology sees the light of day there are also some doubts which have accompanied the development of this technology. One of them is the budget; Musk’s original estimate of construction cost from San Francisco to Los Angeles was $6Billion however the actual cost could be as high as $16Biillion. Secondly just like other transport modes the Hyperloop has security challenges and could be a target for terrorists.

We can’t deny that the Hyperloop will be a brilliant solution to transportation however it requires careful development to transport people and freight.