The future of construction may not rely on manpower but rather drone power. There is a growing trend among designers and construction specialists resulting in the use of drone technology in order to reach new heights (no pun intended) and build the unimaginable without the aid of construction workers. This new use of drones helps address the growing demand for skilled construction workers in parts of the world where shortages are expected according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal
The importance of using construction drones in the design and construction of certain types of projects aids designers in pushing the limit of what may be possible. Construction drones can perform tasks not otherwise feasible for traditional skilled labor and provide important real-time data and analysis during the construction phase. Here is a look at the use of drones, 3D printing capabilities and the future of construction around the world.
How Drones Are Being Used
One of the ways in which drones are being employed in the construction trade is through the creation of rope bridges. Rope bridge construction provides designers with a simple way to watch how drones work in action. Armed with the 3D printing capabilities, a technology primarily used by engineers and designers for prototype developmentmore than a decade, drones now have shown the ability to weave a rope suspension bridge that is strong enough to carry the weight of an adult as reported by Wired.com . This simple application provides valuable feedback to designers as they determine the best way to utilize drone technology and what limitations may be presented through their use.
Researchers like those at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich are drawing on their experiences using drones to determine where and how these machines can be best use in bringing design to life through construction. One of the benefits of using construction drones is their ability to perform tasks that may be deemed otherwise dangerous or highly risky for traditional construction workers. Another benefit that may be derived from an expanded use of drone technology in spatial structure construction is a reduction in building costs associated with materials such as scaffolding and heavy duty construction cranes necessary to reach certain heights.
Will Drones Become the Future of Construction?
The concerns that manufacturing workers had over the use of robots and other automated technologies in the mid-1970s and early 1980s are similar to those held by the construction industry trades. The potential boon and also pitfalls that come with using construction drones is being discussed by groups such as the Associated General Contractors of America, a trade group for the construction industry. As companies and design groups such as the MUPPette 3D printing project, whose drone participated in an interactive petting zoo at SXSW, find new ways to incorporate drones in the construction and design process, the real test will be to find a balance between utilizing the skills of available labor talents, meet anticipated shortages and harness the power of this new technological application in order to expand the boundaries of design and construction practices.