Written by Mat Kellett, mobile mapping, UAS & OEM product manager, Topcon GB

From stories of consumers rushing out to buy quadcopters for Christmas, to reports of Amazon developing drones to deliver parcels to customers as quickly as possible, drones are becoming increasingly popular.

Regardless of the hype though, one area where drones or, to use their technical name, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs), have been making serious waves for several years now has been in construction. They are already transforming the way we build on construction sites and infrastructure projects around the UK.

Surveying sites or mapping larger areas continue to be the most popular applications for UASs in the construction sector. Fixed-wing models are favoured for these jobs, due to their ability to stay in the air for long periods.

However, the use of rotary UASs is now on the rise, particularly for surveying smaller sites and for inspecting anything from bridges, to turbine blades. Their agility makes them ideal for helping engineering teams identify whether any maintenance work is needed on hard-to-reach parts of tall structures, saving time and reducing health and safety risk.

Suggestions that UASs could one day deliver construction materials to site are probably a little pie-in-the sky, especially with rumours that the Civil Aviation Authority is intending to impose a two-kilo weight limit. Nevertheless, the potential of UASs to transform the way we build is almost endless.

New applications are being developed all the time, meaning the sky is (almost) the limit for UASs. So keep your eyes peeled, one could very soon be coming to a construction project near you.  

Read more about how UASs are impacting the construction industry in my recent interview with New Civil Engineer.

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