Autonomous Flying Alters How You Get the Job Done

Drones are advancing at a rapid clip for construction. While many in the industry have been talking about the benefits related to surveying and other tasks in construction, the real question is whether these flying machines might soon collect all this data automatically?

Some research and analyst firms are suggesting that the growth of autonomous technology and collision avoidance will rapidly change the way construction professionals work on projects in the future. For instance, a report from Reportlinker, indicates that there is an increasing focus on autonomous systems and video analytics in drone systems.

New Features for Drones

Currently, outsourced drone operations services are expected to account for a rising share of revenue, but will compete with autonomous software.

While this trend is just beginning to emerge, more often drones are coming equipped with collision-avoidance systems and safety features that suggest autonomous drones are just around the corner for construction.

One new example of a drone comes from Yuneec, which unveiled Typhoon H Plus. This is equipped with Intel RealSense Technology, a collision-avoidance system that detects obstacles and intelligently navigates around them. Even more, pilots can enable Safety Mode to remove all concern of flying too low by making it impossible to descend below the set floor altitude.

Drone Research and Development 

What is needed to enable autonomous flying is good artificial intelligence (AI) and situational awareness to give flying robots the potential to change industries such as construction.

Iris Automation is one such company that is focusing on collision-avoidance for commercial drones, combining AI, computer vision and sensor fusion. With a situational awareness platform for drones, it will enable widespread use without the risk of mid-air collisions. Earlier this year, the company received funding to develop new technologies with this focus.

This comes on the heels of the White House announcing late last year a nationwide pilot project specifically targeting the research and development of intelligent sensing systems for industrial unmanned aerial systems.

All of this could mean that autonomous drones could change the future of construction much quicker than most had originally anticipated—altering the jobsite and the way construction professionals get their job done in the years ahead.

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