Drones In Construction – Capturing the unsighted

Apr 20 11:00 2022 SC Singh Print This Article

Drone, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), is a technology that facilitates data capture usually from locations that are inaccessible to humans. The data is acquired in the form of images, videos and point clouds.

General Introduction 

Inefficiencies and inaccuracies have been a concern for the construction and architecture industry for a long time. However,Guest Posting the introduction of new technologies such as drones has been transforming the conventional practices in AEC for better productivity and accuracy. Accuracy of data not only enhances the quality of work but also eliminates delays in schedules and cost overruns. Although the technologies have been offering several benefits in a long run, the AEC industry has been a little bit behind in embracing them. 

What Are Drones or UAVs? 

Drone, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), is a technology that facilitates data capture usually from locations that are inaccessible to humans. The data is acquired in the form of images, videos and point clouds. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are commonly used for capturing the spatial data of the landmass or any structure, offering an aerial view of the scanned object. Drones for construction and surveying capture accurate details of the structures through in-built sensors such as LiDAR, multispectral, RGB and thermal sensors. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are an upgraded version of the traditional survey instruments and offer vast possibilities in surveying technology. The construction sector leverages several benefits of drone technology, such as accuracy, cost-efficacy and increased productivity. Also, the technology has a wide array of applications ranging from aerial mapping to remote monitoring of construction sites. 

How Are Drones Implemented in Construction? 

Drones and UAVs are often used for data collection through aerial surveying on construction sites. A systematic process is followed in order to collect the data using the UAV. 

Check for local regulations – Flying drones are still prohibited in specific areas of many countries due to privacy and many such factors. So, before deploying an unmanned aerial vehicle into the field for capturing the environment, it is vital to check all the regulations for that area. 

Planning the flight path – A drone’s flight path is to be planned in advance to avoid discrepancies during the flight. Planning ensures that a specific part of the whole area is to be scanned using aerial mapping technology. 

Setting up the drone for flight – Coming to the survey site, the UAV is unpacked and is prepared for the flight. It is checked that the drone is in perfect condition, to avoid any errors during the scanning process. 

Data capture – The drone is deployed and the data is accurately captured using the aerial mapping technology, as planned. A human pilot remotely controls the drone from the ground and the scanned area is visible on the tablet with the help of applications. The pilot captures several images and/or videos from multiple locations for enhanced accuracy. 

 Geotagging the captured images – The images acquired from the aerial survey are geotagged. This means that locations, in the form of coordinates, are embedded in them for a clear idea of the scanned location. 

Data processing – After geotagging, the data is imported into software programs. The information fed into the photogrammetry software gets processed into a comprehensive 2D or a 3D model. However, the procedure for processing the data is lengthy and may take several hours due to heavy data. 

 What benefits does the construction industry leverage from the UAVs? 

 The building industry can harness a bucket full of benefits by implementing drone technology in construction. They are as follows: - 

  •  Accurate data capture through the latest technologies 
  • Data acquisition is at a faster pace due to digitization 
  • Drone surveying saves considerable time and overall cost of the project 
  • Comprehensive documentation with precise details for accuracy during the execution of the project 
  • Construction managers can remotely monitor the construction activities, the progress of work, labour productivity and materials on site. 
  • Aerial scanning through drones facilitates a safer working environment as risks could be monitored remotely before accidents. 

 Roadblocks to using drones on-site 

 Although drone technology has a bunch of benefits, there are a few limitations of the technology, as well. They are as follows: - 

 Regulations for drones – A major limitation to the implementation of drones is its regulations. As drones are not allowed everywhere, there are certain regulations and set of rules regulating the deployment of drones. So might be a tough task for anyone to keep themselves updated with regulations for all the areas.  

Shorter flight time – UAVs for surveying usually have short flight times. It even depends upon the make and model of the drone. To map a larger area, multiple drones are required, which may sometimes not be a feasible option as drones are costly and require proper care. 

Thorough knowledge about UAVs – UAV pilots are trained professionals. They are certified to use drones for surveying and possess ample knowledge regarding aerial surveying and data capture. Knowledge up to a certain level is inevitable for operating drones and capturing aerial data.  

Disturbance due to weather effects – Bad weather such as heavy rains, snowfall or winds could be a hindrance in aerial surveys. Such weather conditions affect the scan results so, it is advisable not to perform any scanning operations during bad weather. 

High initial cost –Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are costly and require a high initial investment. Due to a hefty price tag and unaffordability, there is a lack of adoption of the technology, though it offers several benefits. 


Drones & UAVs offer a wide range of applications for architecture, engineering and construction industries. They are as follows: - 

  •  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are used to capture the topography through aerial surveying. 
  • Drones in construction offer on-site tracking of resources such as materials, machinery and even manpower. Resource tracking reduces the wastage and theft of resources. 
  • It enables remote monitoring of construction sites, eliminating the need to be physically present on the site. It saves a lot of time and the progress of multiple sites can be tracked in a relatively shorter time period. 
  • Drone surveying and monitoring facilitate on-site security through its advanced sensors and scanning technology. Site security managers can monitor the construction sites right from their desks without physically being present there. 
  • Through real-time drone monitoring of sites, construction managers can track the activities of workers. In case of any injuries or probability of accidents, the staff can be informed and risks can be mitigated. 
  • Drone monitoring also facilitates thorough and detailed inspection of structures. In case of any deficiencies in the structure, they can be solved at the earliest. 


Drones and UAVs are the latest innovations in surveying technologies. Offering a wide range of benefits, drones facilitate the AEC business with remote monitoring, resource tracking, progress monitoring, aerial surveying and building inspection. However, the AEC industry is adopting the technology at a faster pace. The future of drones is definitely bright as it serves not only the construction industry but also many other industries as well. Looking forward to the adoption of drones, its adoption will increase with upgrades in the technology. It will be more precise, accurate and efficient than ever. 

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