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The role of drones in infrastructure
05.02.17

The role of drones in infrastructure

Shea O'Donnell
The role of drones in infrastructure

Infrastructure inspection, planning, and documentation have traditionally been limited to manual, ‘from the ground’ methods. While aircraft such as helicopters could be used in order to get an aerial vantage point, doing so is often too costly to be feasible or seems impossible for large aerial vehicles to fly in the areas that inspection professionals need to access. For this reason, drones are playing a large role in driving the infrastructure industry forward, quickly becoming a highly useful tool to those that work within it.

Essential for creating safer environments
Whether it is used in the planning stages of a project or to continually monitor it, drones benefit the sector by ensuring ultimate safety. According to PwC’s global report ‘Clarity from above: transport infrastructure’, the team at PwC Drone Powered Solutions calculated the average construction site monitored by drones has decreased its life threatening accidents by up to 91%. What’s more, it also estimates that the infrastructure drone market is worth $45bn.

Data for making decisions
With the help of additional sensors, drones can provide infrastructure and construction professionals with in-depth, actionable data, responsible for pushing the growth of drones in this market. Whether it collects data which can then be used to create plans and 3D models prior to construction or if it collects regular, real-time imagery to be used to monitor and inspect the stability and safety of sites, drones are critical for a number of uses within the industry. 

The integration of drones within the infrastructure sector doesn’t mean that manual methods are soon to become obsolete. Rather, they can be used in conjunction with them, using real-time data to add more detail to ground reports and surveys to provide further insight.  

Current examples of drones in infrastructure
There are already many large-scale infrastructure projects worldwide that incorporate drones into their operations, such as the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project. Led by India Railway, it uses drones to inspect railway lines and assess the progress of new constructions.  In America, SkySpecs is also using drones to inspect turbines, removing the need for dangerous and costly manual inspection. 

Like many other industries, drones are helping to dramatically increase safety in infrastructure while keeping costs manageable. However, unlike many other industries, this is the first time that using airborne methods has been possible, making them revolutionary for the sector.

At ConsortiQ, we specialise in implementing drone solution for construction and surveying, including many infrastructure projects. Contact us to learn more about how your business can benefit from these innovative vehicles.

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