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UAVs, the Future of Construction

Construction firms all over are taking advantage of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on construction projects. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs, are not an autonomous, pilotless vehicle. A person controls it on the ground through a remote or mobile device. The UAV is camera-equipped, so it’s ready to give the user a bird’s eye-view.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles present many opportunities in the construction industry and can be very beneficial to many professionals. UAVs can help with surveying, develop data, check a project’s progress, capture footage in aerial view or help examine structures for inspections. And with the growing use of technology and use of smart devices, UAVs are becoming more easily managed out on the field.

R. K. Redding is already benefiting from using UAVs in more ways than one. We’re currently using the UAV’s to take aerial photography to document the construction process. This method is replacing traditional aerial photography and is more affordable for the firm. We’ve also used video footage filmed by the UAV in creating 3D models by adding and layering in other rendering components. It can also create a 360-degree view of the construction site and the completed project.

A big obstacle many construction professionals face is the legal terms of flying UAVs. Many people are not allowed to fly the device because of the restrictions that is in place. As long as the UAV is flown under 400 feet and weighs less than 4.4 pounds, it is classified as hobby use. If it does not meet those requirements, then he or she has to request permission to use UAVs for commercial use from the Federal Aviation Agency, or the FAA, which can become a lengthy process. The FAA is finalizing regulations for UAV’s to be used in commercial use and is expected to release it in the coming months of this year.

While the FAA has been drafting these regulations since 2012, there are already academic programs accredited from this technology. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Florida offers a degree program specializing in UAVs and Georgia Tech’s School of Building Construction was granted $75,000 to conduct research on UAVs. What does this mean for the construction industry? This means technology will be applied to current professions and specialty trades will rise from UAVs.

Many professionals in the construction industry are patiently waiting for the FAA to finalize regulations. There is so much promise and potential for the industry with the use of UAVs. RKR is looking at using thermal video in conjunction with a UAV to examine building envelopes among other uses on our projects. Truly, the sky’s the limit.

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