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Drone use on the rise in construction, finds survey

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Drone technology is beginning to take off in the UK and Irish construction industry, according to a new survey.

Aerial mapping specialist ProDroneWorx said a third of respondents in its survey were currently using drone technology, and of those that were not using it, nearly 70% planned to do so in future.

In the first survey of its kind in the UK and Ireland, ProDroneWorx asked senior figures within the construction industry, including surveyors, architects, engineers and construction firms, about their perception, usage and understanding of drone technology. More than 160 respondents took part.

Ian Tansey, managing director at ProDroneWorx, said: “In a world of tight margins and an increasingly competitive landscape, the use of drone technology gives construction firms a significant competitive advantage over their peers through reduced costs, increased productivity gains and the mitigation of risk.”

Although drone technology has many applications within the construction industry, currently its primary use is in photography and video, surveying, asset inspection and progress monitoring.

The survey found that of the 33% that are currently using drone technology, the majority (60%) have been using it for less than a year. However, 11% of this sub-group have been using the technology for the last three to five years, making them very early adopters.

The survey also found that the three main reasons firms are using the technology are:

  • Time savings (49%);
  • Increased operational efficiency (49%);
  • Cost savings (47%).

The results reveal that the vast majority of firms (67%) plan to or currently use third party specialist companies on their projects rather than having an internal drone function within their company.

Issues such as regulation, licensing, insurance, hardware, software and data processing are factors putting firms off an internal function.