A Fresh Look at Drone Trends in Construction

Jan. 13, 2022

Drone use in construction is becoming more widespread and drones will be increasingly common, if not ubiquitous, in the future, according to DroneDeploy’s 2022 “State of the Drone Industry” survey of more than 750 of its customers.

The findings reveal trends within an overall look at the construction, energy, agriculture, and other industries.

The company says its customers are turning to digital twins, drones, robotics, and automation technologies now more than ever. Respondents spanned more than 20 industries and 40 countries.

Specifically in construction, the survey concluded:

  • Drones are still king within the construction industry–94 percent of respondents use drones as their primary tool for digitizing their job site.
  • Other than LiDAR (30 percent), 39 percent of respondents are also using 360-degree cameras either mounted onto a helmet, a ground robot, or manually, to digitize their sites.
  • Notably, construction respondents have shifted their primary objectives for digitizing their job sites since last year. While documentation (last year’s top choice) is still important for a majority of respondents (58 percent), 71 percent said improved planning/design is their main objective, followed by improved operations (59 percent).
  • The construction industry was the only industry where documentation (64 percent) was named the top business problem solved by drone usage. Apart from improved operations (59 percent) and productivity (57 percent), reduced cost (43 percent) and increased safety (42 percent) were top-of-mind for construction and AEC professionals an order that held consistent with 2020 responses.
  • Up 8 percent from last year, 53 percent of AEC professionals said automation is important to their business. Machine learning also saw a bump in importance to construction operations, at 44 percent this year compared to 32 percent previously.
  • Looking to the future of site digitization, 69 percent of construction respondents plan to expand beyond aerial mapping in the coming year, compared to 57 percent last year.
  • Construction was the main industry to indicate continued expansion into ground robotics–8 percent said that they currently use ground robotics mounted with 360-degree cameras to digitize their job sites, compared to just 3 percent last year.
  • Looking at the next two years, 54 percent of construction respondents think drones will become much more common than they are today; with 21 percent saying they will be ubiquitous.

DroneDeploy says that one finding stands out as universal among all industries it surveyed: Digital reality capture is critical for the future of any business.

Source: DroneDeploy