I know that some of my followers are in doubt about the potential use of drones in waste management or they do not expect that this is something for the near future. Well, let’s see what’s happening with the use of drones in the construction industry in USA, and then we can make our own conclusions. The use of drones in construction works is becoming mainstream in USA. You can find many videos like this one that explain in simple visual way the benefits of using drones for construction sites. Whether they’re used for surveying, to show clients and potential clients an aerial overview of completed projects, to monitor jobsites to ensure safe practices or to inspect bridges and other structures, drones have the potential to become as important a tool to the industry as any piece of yellow iron. Wayne Grayson has described in some details the way drones are already affecting the construction industry in USA, in the website http://www.equipmentworld.com. You can also read the 6 ways drones are affecting the construction industry .
The use of drones in the design and construction industry has increased dramatically since 2014, when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initially created the current regulatory structure for commercial users of unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e., section 333 exemptions and certificates of authorization). More than a third of all FAA applications list construction, real estate or utility/energy/infrastructure as the intended operation or mission for the drone.
Why are drones so perfectly situated for use in the design and construction industry? Barbara J. Jordan and Donald B. Leach, in their recent article in The National Law Review explain the main reasons. The good news is that drones are becoming a key-tool for the construction industry for the same reasons that make them necessary for waste management works. So, let’s list the basic arguments.
- Drones are ideal for supporting the full life cycle of the development process—from design to construction to maintenance. First and foremost, drones can venture where humans and heavy machinery should not, providing valuable project data without risking human life. Most drones are very small, lightweight and equipped with high-quality imaging capabilities making them ideal to perform inspections in tight spaces or at high altitudes. See the recent experiment for waste collection using a drone and you will understand exactly what I mean.
- Second, the data collection capabilities are mind-boggling. We have all seen the breath-taking aerial photos drones are capable of capturing. Couple that with thermal imaging, traditional surveying data, 3D scanning, object recognition and data cataloguing capabilities and everything from property due diligence to project design becomes available with the whirl of the propellers.
- Third, operating a drone is efficient and economical, resulting in numerous cost-saving benefits for a construction project. In addition to the safety aspect of utilizing drones, a drone can do most jobs a lot faster and a lot more precisely than its human counterparts. For example, drones are already being programmed to follow pre-determined flight paths and deliver daily site reports, allowing developers and contractors to better track construction progress, measure stockpiles, manage resources, reduce downtime, and help construction projects stay on schedule and under budget.
Despite those obvious advantages, the biggest hurdle facing contractors interested in exploring this technology is the question of legality. The Federal Aviation Agency prohibits the use of all unmanned aircraft for commercial use without the agency’s express approval. However, I do believe that this is just a matter of time to find proper solutions for all the legal problems. Drones deliver so many advantages that sooner or later they will become the prevailing tool in many industries, including the waste management and recycling one.