Advantages of drones in Africa’s modern construction industry

Advantages of drones in Africa’s modern construction industry
Tomasz Firek, Versadrones Director

Versadrones designs and manufactures Quadcopter, Hexacopter and Octocopter drones. They make multirotor small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV, or SUA) in Ireland using carbon-fibre and other composite materials assembled in their own in-house vacuum moulding plant and crafted on their own CNC drone milling stations.

They supply drone solutions for professional user applications in Mapping, Cartography and Survey, Search and Rescue, Accident Monitoring, Terrain Mapping, Precision Agriculture and Forestry including NDVI measurements, 3D and 2D Digital Surface Model, Industrial Inspection, Airborne HD Video, Cinematography, and 16MP-20MP Photography, Surveillance and Monitoring, Radio-Telephony Mast inspection for network roll-out and estates management, as well as Thermal measurement and Heat Detection. Their Emergency and Public Order systems generate specific survey contour maps for emergency services as a preventative measure for the safety of emergency personnel through the use of 3-D photogrammetry image processing software, and includes Live Feed including visual optical feed and thermal heat-detection feed to multiple viewing and relay stations.

Construction Review conducted a one on one interview with Tomasz Firek, Versadrones Director on the advantages of using drones in today construction sites.

1.What are the opportunities in Africa with regards to using drones in construction?

Hah, this is actually the “river topic”. We can talk about opportunities forever. It is limited by only our imagination. Africa as developing continent, the same as every other now- beginning to be systematised.I mean this regarding to the geographical, economical, and every other aspect. I am not fan of this, but it all ready beginned. Here- in Europe, many companies, authorities and societies require possibly precise data informations about all possible aspects of their environment like landform, forestry condition, properties evaluations etc.

The drones can produce a lot of valuable informations for us, especially regarding to construction industry. What informations? Everything we can require and more: Full, complete surveys of land for beginning. Having i.e. 3D model of land with exact coordinates, we can naturally use the land capability to carry our ideas for the land development.

Similar applications can be used in an inland water management. Data acquisition is the biggest advantage of using the drones. Now, when the development is started, the drones can help us to create full documentation of the progress. I do not even mention about the security side of it. On that stage, the drones can be used to build the electrical and other communication structure which is required during the construction works.

Attaching different sensors to the drones, can help us to evaluate the thermal situation (especially in hot African places) or find the water sources. They can be used for searching various minerals sources etc. There are some attempts to use the drones for some deliveries or even material deliveries but at this stage, I would not consider it so far.

Existing buildings/properties or just finished works: Complete surveys, creating 3D models, evaluating energy consumption rates… etc, etc… Opportunities within this industry is infinitely many and it is topic for PHD rather than just point several of them is a few words

2.What are the challenges associated with using drones in construction in Africa?

Quite difficult question. For me, as the drones manufacturer and the person who one of the first in the world tried to introduce the drones to our life – with difficulty at the time- it is difficult to answer this question objectively. For me all is easy: “Just use them”

More seriously: I observe that some of African countries grounded using the drones for commercial purpose and now, they build and adjust the law to certain situation. It is ok and I am sure that it will be released very soon, but the fact is that using of the drones, especially certain sizes, definitely needs to be regulated.

The other challenge will be to educate people that this machines are designed to help us, not to scare or spy, what most of population think

3.Why should Africa embrace drones in the construction industry?

Why? The answer is easy: because this machines are brought by natural technological progress. They are just another tools helping to make life easier and the same as long time ago, somebody invented a string or water level which revolutionized  construction “industry”. We all should consider using the “gifts of technology” with our lives. We have got shovels long time ago, we have got the concrete mixers, laser levels… now we have drones. Just another tools making the life easier.

And this is not about Africa or different continent. It is about humanity progress. What else to say…?

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