Virtual Design & Construction Blog Series: Drones in Construction

The use of drone technology is becoming more and more mainstream. So much so that these days the sound of that unnatural buzzing overhead hardly provokes more than a casual glance upwards. Everyone from Amazon to Uber is touting their use – or future use – of drones to enhance and expand their service offerings. The reality is we are still unlocking the potential of this emerging technology, particularly in construction. Windover’s Director of Virtual Design & Construction Amr Raafat is passionate about pushing the envelope of how drones can be combined with other leading-edge technologies to benefit our clients and project teams. “Combining drone mapping, laser scanning, and VR technologies is transforming the construction workflow and mitigating risk on job sites,” Raafat says. As part of our blog series on Virtual Design & Construction (VDC), Amr has highlighted several applications of drone technology that have put Windover on the leading edge of VDC!

Utilizing Drone Technology Post-Construction

Intuitively, using drones during the preconstruction and construction phases makes sense – a bird’s-eye view of existing site conditions and construction progress can provide significant advantages. But that’s not to say that once a project is complete, the technology is no longer applicable. As a recent example, Windover had just completed a new state-of-the-art athletic facility and stadium when it was discovered that some of the stadium lighting was shining into a nearby residence during night games. The client looked to Windover to help develop a solution, and quickly.

Windover Construction - 3D Lighting Study
Windover Construction lighting study developed with a combination of drone mapping, 3D modeling, and virtual reality.

Seeing the potential to apply Windover’s industry-leading VDC capabilities, Amr used drone mapping to create a virtual model of the entire completed project site and surrounding neighborhood. By combining this drone map with 3D modeling and virtual reality, Amr performed a lighting study to measure the intensity and distance of the stadium lights virtually. In a matter of minutes, Amr was able to demonstrate the effectiveness of various light blocking options – everything from planting new trees to installing a light shade structure. With the accuracy of the data captured from the drone, the team was able to determine the most effective option would be placing a light shade at the edge of the turf playing field. Amr then verified the exact size, elevation, and placement that would be necessary before ever breaking soil. This provided the client significant savings by avoiding a more traditional trial-and-error approach.

Click above to view a 3D animation created for the lighting study.

As one of the few construction firms embracing drone technology in construction, Windover has continued to find new and innovative methods of utilizing this exciting technology throughout the entire life of a project. From preconstruction to post-construction, VDC technologies such as drones, laser mapping, laser scanning, and 3D modeling have given
us the tools to be a trusted partner for our clients and provide solutions to issues that may arise.

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