While construction has been labeled an essential operation during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing buildings to be completed and even new construction started, CDC guidelines should be enforced on jobsites. The newly mandated “social distancing” rules are easier to follow by most contractors and subcontractors since construction is rarely a “contact sport.”
However, many companies are employing advanced technology to help maintain the guidelines. One of these technologies is the use of small drones, formally known as UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles), to do various jobs on and over the jobsite.
Large commercial construction projects across the country are using drones for realtime site monitoring to maintain safe social distancing. Inspection-related construction tasks such as site surveys, grading, earthwork, breaking ground, safety compliance, asset inventory tracking, progress monitoring, security, and identifying hazards can be done or aided with drones while maintaining a safe social distance for everyone involved.
Various stakeholders typically visit job sites on a regular basis to conduct inspections and evaluations. Though travel restrictions and social distancing are currently preventing many normal in-person visits, drones are providing high-resolution images and 4K video of jobsites, all while maintaining safe human distances.
One application that has become important is the use of drones to disinfect large areas, such as partially completed floors of large buildings and warehouses, parking garages and other cavernous structures. OMI Environmental Solutions created a Drone Disinfection System for use in large indoor spaces to kill the coronavirus/COVID-19.
The OMI Drone Disinfection System disperses a mist of EPA approved agents that kills COVID-19 and 99.9% of bacteria within 60 seconds of contact. With the ability to fly inside large open areas including covered stadiums, convention centers, warehouses, school gyms, or any place with high ceilings/large open areas, the system provides a safe, disinfected area for workers.
OMI’s FAA Part 107 certified flight crews work with client to establish grid patterns/areas of interest to fly over. To ensure a rapid response to all infectious disease outbreaks, all OMI response personnel are HAZWOPER certified per OSHA 29CFR1910.120, current on vaccinations, and receive a thorough health & safety orientation before mobilization, upon arrival, and per shift. All operations are conducted in compliance with the most recent best practices recommended by the WHO and the CDC for COVID-19.
While the coronavirus pandemic has completely halted progress for many industries, ConnexiCore is helping construction companies find ways to leverage drone technology while protecting the safety of their teams. Drones are providing actionable data, such as 3D point cloud models, plant health, and asset inventory tracking for construction companies. To minimize risk, the drones are delivering all this content and data safely, via SaaS (software-as-a-service)-based platforms such as ConnexiCore Cloud, to allow teams working remotely to collaborate across thousands of assets. For situations that require it, drones are also facilitating realtime monitoring via streaming video so stakeholders can direct the drone pilot during the flight mission. Details on how drones can help construction can be found in the whitepaper, Social Distancing and Drones.
Advanced technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) for both autonomous flight and data processing, as well as platforms that have unique capabilities such as long endurance flights and conducting indoor/confined spaces inspections, are key trends inflating market growth for UAS products. According to Frost & Sullivan, drone control software providers will emerge to develop solutions that can easily support these platforms. In addition, as enterprise adoption continues and more businesses invest in high-value drone platforms and subsystems, there will be an increasing need to repair this equipment. Training employees for the job of maintaining the drones as their value increases will allow contractors to rapidly respond to the needs of the jobsite long after the coronavirus crisis abates.
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