As the construction industry tries to bounce back from the pandemic, there are a number of lingering challenges to deal with. These include the skilled worker shortage, supply chain delays, and the price of materials constantly driving up the cost of rework. All of these issues are putting pressure on owners, general contractors, and project managers to cut costs.
One of the best ways to improve efficiency, mitigate rework risks, and achieve healthier profit margins is through better communication. This can be achieved through more robust and accurate project documentation and effective digital collaboration between stakeholders. And it’s an area where new technology – like ground robotics – can have a significant impact.
1. Pairing Robots with 360-degree Cameras for Superior Documentation and Quality Control
Quality control in construction is notoriously difficult and time-consuming. Employees need to spend hours walking through sites to manually capture a visual record of progress. It’s particularly important to document ‘hidden’ components (e.g. wiring, plumbing) for quality control purposes and to validate subcontractor work – but this means you need to capture visuals of progress at every stage of the project.
With DroneDeploy’s Ground Robotics solution, you can equip your chosen robot (e.g. Spot from Boston Dynamics) with a 360-degree camera, and send it on both indoor and outdoor walkthroughs of construction sites. The robot will capture comprehensive and high-resolution imagery that is automatically uploaded to DroneDeploy and integrated with any relevant construction management software.
By integrating this data with a machine learning system, general contractors can quickly identify any quality issues and their severity, and assign them to the right subcontractors to fix. As the photos and videos are geotagged, problems are easy to find and employees can be sent in equipped with the right tools – speeding up issue resolution and reducing the scale of rework. This visual record of construction can also be used for as-built drawings and auditable records.
2. Sending Robots on Automated Inspections to Track and Share Daily Progress
Another benefit of documenting sites with DroneDeploy is that you can track daily progress by sending ground robots on entirely automated inspections. Robot missions can be scheduled to take place 24/7, even after employees have left the site. This builds a clear, repeatable, and consistent digital record of progress over time – important for large-scale projects where numerous stakeholders need to be kept in the loop.
DroneDeploy makes it easy to share this data digitally by simply sending a link to employees or stakeholders. They can then view the construction project from anywhere in the world and see progress day by day. Owners, project managers, and general contractors can enjoy having access to up-to-date data at all times to inform decision-making. This also helps general contractors to build trust and transparency with clients and speed up payments.
3. Centralizing Point Cloud Capture & BIM Comparisons in DroneDeploy
The “holy grail” in construction is incorporating site reality and Building Information Modeling (BIM) in one centralized location, bringing the field and the office onto the same page. This can be achieved by uploading LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) or point cloud data from ground robots into the DroneDeploy platform. DroneDeploy synchronizes the data to your cloud so that it seamlessly integrates into your VDC pipeline.
The accuracy a robot brings to the mobile mapping of a site is not only up to 12 times faster than traditional scanning, but it uses around 20 times less data, which enables the robot to capture reality far more frequently, efficiently and autonomously. As a result, VDC teams can rely on the latest, most accurate geospatial data available for use in their BIM comparison and VDC workflows.
When operated with the DroneDeploy platform, autonomous ground robots effectively act as a multi-sensor carrier that can simultaneously capture LiDAR scans, 360 walkthroughs, and traditional 2D point-and-shoot images that are then all synced to the cloud ready for the construction team to act upon.
As ground robots become even more sophisticated, we expect they will play an increasingly significant role in all aspects of site documentation and BIM comparisons. DroneDeploy is proud to be at the forefront of innovation in construction – fulfilling all your drone, robotics, and site reality capture needs in a single platform.
To learn more, read our eBook ‘How Robotic Automation is Transforming the Construction Industry’, or contact our ground robotics team.