Drone Use in Construction?
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) or as they are more commonly called, “Drones,” are machines that are operated by a remote control.
These technological wonders have been used in a variety of fields and ways, from the science fields to the military, to accomplish tasks that are challenging to impossible for humans to perform.
Construction has not always quickly embraced new technological advancements and the use of drones on future construction projects is yet another technological wonder that has yet to prove itself broadly accepted.
In this newsletter, we will present some potential benefits as well potential disadvantages associated with drone use in construction.
- Data collection - drones can be used for site selection, surveying and real-time job inspections.
- Payload lifts – large drones could provide flexibility and mobility in payload lifts versus cranes.
- Cost efficient - drone are half the cost associated with using planes or helicopters for the same job site tasks.
- Improved safety - potential to improve jobsite safety with the use of a drone instead of the human presence in dangerous situations.
- Federal Regulations – On whether or not the FAA has jurisdiction over the commercial use of drones and if they are considered an “aircraft” subject to the FAA regulations.
- Potential Expense – the use of drones are more cost efficient than other flying machines but, like other new technologies, until the costs start to decline over time they will remain beyond the reach of many construction firms.
- Potential Misuse – because drones are quiet and air-bound, they could potentially be used to breach personal privacy. Just this past week there have been several reported incidents by commercial airlines of irresponsible use of drones causing near collisions into commercial planes performing landing approaches.
- Potential Liability Issues – Construction firms using or considering the use of drones on their projects should examine the CGL policy to determine whether a drone would be considered an excluded aircraft. Contacting your company attorney would also be a good idea.
While the future of drones in the construction industry has the potential to be bright, their actual use is still undefined.