Drones can be used in construction for many purposes. This video addresses the setup, safety, and basic use case for drones on a construction site.
- Howdy and welcome again up here at the rooftop drone deck at JB Knowledge Headquarters. I actually had this bad boy installed so I'd have a soft place to land up on the roof here at JB Knowledge. Now before you fly your first drone, please, there's a bunch of rules you have to follow. So let's go to knowbeforeyoufly.org. That's the website the FAA set up that gives you rules and regulations. It also means if you're going to fly this commercially and not recreationally as a hobby, you've got to get a part 107 license. I'm not going to run you through all the details on the 107 license but you can get more information again at knowbeforeyoufly.org.
Make sure that you're in an open clear space that you're going to be able to see your drone line of sight. Also, you need to be clearly identified. Now my good friends at Skycatch actually sent this drone vest to me. You can see it says "Drone Pilot". Because when you're on a job site and I've flown on job sites, people really look at you strangely if they don't understand what you're up to and why you're walking around staring at the sky. And you really want them to stay clear of you. And so just make sure you clearly identify yourself as a drone pilot, you've got your part 107 license, you go to knowbeforeyoufly.org, and you register.
When you register the drone by the way, you're going to get this little identifier tag you can put on your drone. That way if you run into somebody's house, they can find out who it is. Now this is my "Phantom 4". This is one of my drones of choice. This now costs around 11 hundred dollars. The "4 Pro" costs around 14 hundred dollars. I really really like this drone platform for a lot of reasons but mainly 'cause it's portable, it comes with its own package, it's really easy to set up, it's got collision avoidance, it's got a nice weight to it, and it has a really great camera, and it's integrated with all of my different drone applications.
So I'm going to pull it out of the box. You'll see the first thing I see is that the camera is loose and unconnected. I'm also going to pull my remote control out. So you can see here my remote control, I'm going to extend it out so I can clip my phone in. I'm going to place this down. I'm going to get all four props out of my box. So these are the propellers. Now the nice thing about the "Phantom 4" is that it actually gave us the ability to snap these props in. So you don't have to screw 'em on anymore. You can just put 'em on and gently snap 'em into place.
And again this is one of the things I really like. This drone is so easy to set up. It's so easy to carry around. Once we're done setting it up, we're going to power this on. Now you do understand the logical step. You should have actually charged the battery before you did this. We're going to power on the drone. We're also going to power on the remote control. It's giving me all kinds of confirmation sounds. And then we're going to place our phone in the controller and plug it in. Now, there's a bunch of use cases for why we want to fly drones for construction.
The most obvious one is just to have great photos and videos for marketing material. A lot of marketing directors and construction companies love to have aerial footage of their jobs sites. But if you limit yourself just to marketing material, you're really limiting the use cases. Now there's about 11 major use cases we're only going to run through a couple of here. We really have to have some good job site documentation. It doesn't get much better than having it done aerially. You also want to have the ability to 3D model a building that you're about to work on or one you just built.
Using apps like the Skycatch Commander app, DroneDeploy, Maps Made Easy, you can produce 2D ortho maps and 3D models of the buildings using photos. That's a process called photogrammetry. My favorite I mean really for 3D models, Pix4D has one of the better systems because it allows you to take an angle so you can really get the side and top of buildings. Your seeing apps like DroneDeploy do the same thing. So again it allows you to do 3D modeling, 2D maps.
Apps like DroneDeploy have a plant health analysis tool. They also do elevation maps. And the beautiful thing is you can actually take all of this and then do quantity take offs. So you can do linear feet, square feet, counts, all of that right inside your drone app and then you can share it with other people so they can see the site, walk around it, and do their own measurements. You can see there's a lot of different use cases for all of these photos and videos. Unfortunately, most companies I see are still really limited in the apps that they're using.
They're only using like the base "Dji Go 4" app which really is just for photos and videos. So let's just start there. I'm going to actually fire up the Dji Go app and we're going to fly this old school. That means we're going to manually fly this drone. Now I'm going to place the drone on the ground. It's already powered on and to fire it up, I'm going to go ahead and start recording my video. That's my little video record button right there. And then I'm going to fire the props up. Now I'm watching in a significant amount of detail on my screen that lets me go through all my checklists to make sure I'm good to fly.
It's telling me that it's ready to fly and I've got a good GPS log. I'm going to go ahead and launch the drone. 'Now see how smooth this drone is. This really gives us the ability to leave the drone there for a minute and do some other work, like if you need to walk around an obstacle. You are best on a job site if you have two people on your job site. One flying the drone and the other one spotting for the pilot so they don't walk into a hole right. Be safe on your job site.
So we're looking at our drone. We're always going to make sure we've got line of sight eye contact with our drone and I can also see my camera. So I can look down and I can fly first person point of view. My spotter can watch me and watch the drone. I can then take the drone forward. I can then take the drone back. And I'm going to actually send it up to about 20 feet here, flip it around and come right back. Now I'm going to do something really cool. I want to demonstrate one of the capabilities of the Phantom 4 that I'm really fond of.
And that's its ability to avoid collisions. Remember I told you it's got a forward collision avoiding system. So when I jam the prop forward, it's going to detect and pick up that wall and immediately alert me, it fires off the alert and it won't let me move forward. And it's saying I've got a collision two and a half meters in front of me which is accurate. So then I'm going to pull it back. Again, it's recording this entire session. I can take it up, now look I am doing this the hard way right.
I'm manually flying the drone. So I'm taking video and photos just using my remote control that's right in my hands. I'm doing a little manual circle flight right above the building right now and I'm going to get just a 360 video of our job site by aiming the camera down, keeping it pointed at me. Now this Phantom has a really cool feature. It actually has a find me and follow me mode that you can use where you can actually have it lock onto your person and it'll stay filming you no matter where you go.
It actually tracks the human being. Which I know is a little creepy. So let's say like Jimmy's a real problem on the job site. You can actually launch the drone and have it follow him. You wouldn't do that though. And then we're going to take it down. We're all done with our camera so we're going to stop recording and we're going to bring this down. Now I told you, this is the most basic use of this drone is flying it for photos and videos that you can use in marketing material or just job site documentation.
The other use that we're really fond of is actually producing 2D ortho maps and 3D models. So now I'm actually going to fire up my Skycatch Commander app. I'm going to bring it up. Now I've already pre programmed my office. The really neat thing that this does and this takes about three or four minutes. So I'm just going to show you the launch process and how it goes when it takes off. The beautiful thing about this is that we don't have to really fly these drones anymore. Because the drone now flies itself.
And so I'm going to load my mission here in downtown. I'm going to pull my mission up. I'm going to say okay, ready to fly. There we go. And then it's going to actually go and take off and launch the drone in just a minute. So that's the basics is really we can just fire up the Skycatch Commander app, tell it where we want to fly, what map and route we want it to fly. We place the control down, we hit the go button and then the drone will actually take off, spend about three or four minutes flying this route and then land itself right back where it showed up.
We then go into the drone when we're done and you'll see that we can actually see the SD card. We're going to eject the SD card, pull this out and put it into our computer and take the photos off and upload it into the Skycatch Commander app or the DroneDeploy app or Pix4D where it's going to produce the 2D ortho map and the 3D model of the building.
Follow James Benham—the CEO of JBKnowledge, Inc.—as he explains how construction science and computer science are merging into one joint field of study. James shares essential terms that you need to know to speak intelligently about topics like the cloud and machine learning. Plus, he dives into topics like the Internet of Things, the evolution of drones, and 3D printing. To wrap up the course, he covers IT budgets, staffing, and investing in research and development.
- Learning about the origins of construction technology
- Reviewing essential construction tech terms
- Understanding the Internet of Things
- Reviewing the evolution of drones
- Learning about the 3D printing process
- Investing in IT
- Investing in research and development